Cultivate Theme

Think about one of those bad days at work. The kind of day in which nothing went right. Let's say you got stuck with some work you didn't want to do, had to smile through some negative comments from customers, figured out a way to stay out of your boss's cross hairs, got some moody text messages from a spouse and a friend, and then you had to fight through traffic the whole way home only to be reminded when you got there that you have to help with homework and your child volunteered you to do something for the school party but doesn't remember what.

The last thing you want to do at that point is cook.

That sounds like a no brainer: Of course you don't want to cook. You are exhausted, on the verge of snapping at someone and maybe you haven't exactly worked out what you wanted to cook for dinner that night. This scenario makes sense to all parents, but for some reason, people studied it. Don't worry, their conclusion does reinforce that stressed/depressed parents don't feel like cooking.

Most parents understand that homemade meals are healthier. We get that. What I don't think we get enough credit for is how often we still cook those meals even when we don't want to. Or, how it's perfectly OK to give ourselves a night off sometimes.

I am an advocate of monthly meal plans. I am downplaying how crazy I actually am about my monthly meal plans, but they have been a huge game-changer for me. Every month, I plan all the meals for the entire month - including the nights someone else is cooking dinner and the nights we are having leftovers. To the uninitiated, this seems daunting. To me, this is my salvation, as I know that the one question that will tip me over the edge at on those bad days is "What's for dinner?"

So, a huge shoutout to all the parents who still dig deep (so deep some nights) and get their children fed, even when all they want to do is hide under the covers and wait for the hope a new day brings.

Shall I order a pizza to celebrate?

What is your trick to cooking more homemade meals? Share your wisdom in the comments.

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