Family Dinner Planning~Working Moms

Shortly after Caleb was born I realized that being a working mom is hard. It is difficult to stay organized, raise children, and work all at the same time.  Being a mom and full time employee takes PLANNING. One of the most difficult parts of our life to plan is dinner. With two adults, an active teen, and toddler in the home it is often hard to plan meals that fit our busy schedule.

Even though I work full time I cook dinner for the family five to six nights a week. It is important to me that my family have home cooked meals as well as dinner together each night.

Steps I take to ensure we have dinner together

  • We start and end each day with a clean kitchen. Each morning one of the first things I do while getting ready for work is unload the dishwasher. The rest of the day we clean the kitchen as we go so that it does not become an out of control mess. Our biggest obstacle with doing this is to remember to start the dishwasher each night.
  • I prepare a weekly menu. I have noticed that the most difficult weeks occur because I did not create a weekly meal plan, so I am flying by the seat of my pants. Dinner prep is easier if you know what you are going to make ahead of time. I don’t assign specific days to the meals that I plan, but I do make sure I have all of the ingredients on hand to prepare the meals I would like to have during the week.
  • After I decide what we are going to eat for the week I make my shopping list. It is much more efficient to visit the grocery store only one time each week. A meal plan and shopping list goes a long way in keeping the working mom organized as well as save tons of time by limiting the number of trips to the store.
  • The crock pot and grill are my friends. The grill is David’s domain. So on grill nights he does the bulk of the cooking while I do the sides. Grilling helps to minimize after dinner clean up, and to be truthful grilled food taste so much better. I also love crock pot meals because they take little effort and taste so good.
  • Each night we try to get everyone involved in some way in working in the kitchen. Madilyn, my 3 year old, loves to put the plates on the table. Caleb may wipe down counter tops and sweep. Each family member is responsible for clearing their own dishes from the table and loading them into the dishwasher. Working together as a team cleaning up helps the task to get done quickly.
  • I rarely try new recipes during the week. I save most of my kitchen experiments for the weekend. New recipes take longer to prepare, because you have to read and follow directions, which is why I save them for days in which I have more time for cooking.
  • I am not the only member of the family that can cook. David is an excellent cook, and we have taught our son how to prepare several meals. This is a wonderful asset because on days that I am running late, exhausted, or don’t feel good, my family can help with dinner preparations.

Meal time planning and preparation does not have to be stressful. Get everyone involved, divide the work, and enjoy homecooked meals together as a family. It really is worth the effort.

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2 Responses to “Family Dinner Planning~Working Moms”

  1. These are really good tips. I’m really lucky that Bobby is a good cook, too, and he’s also the grillmaster in our household! I have been trying to go by a meal plan the past couple weeks, and it’s really helped. The hardest thing for me at this point (with Noah being so young) is trying to get meals prepared before he goes to bed. He loves to sit at the table with us, but it’s really hard to get everything ready by then. I think it’ll probably be easier when he’s a little older and doesn’t go to bed at 7 every night!

  2. Donna says:

    It will be much easier when Noah is older because he will not only stay up later but will be able to help. We had several years of later dinners since Caleb is 12 years older than Madilyn. However, since Madilyn’s arrival we have rushed to get dinner done so that we can all eat together.