Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Confession. I'm a working mom. There is no team here, no parade of odd-ball misfits quietly experimenting with recipes in a sterilized test kitchen. It's just me. Just me, my keyboard, my job, my child, my husband, my dog, my two cats and my desire to create a delicious space for people to find solace at the end of a hectic day.

While my intentions with Yumology were grand, I've learned that trying to maintain this site is hard work. Not the writing part per say, although finding 15 minutes of uninterrupted silence is rare these days. No, the writing is easy, it's the research, energy and money it takes to cook that's hard for me to commit to these days.

At the end of 2012 my husband and I took a long, hard look at our finances and we realized we were spending a good 80% of our money on food, worse, groceries! How can that be? We thought we were being so thrifty, shopping for ingredients rather than eating out every night, but the numbers proved us wrong. Something would have to give, and our time in the kitchen was number one.

We got into the habit of eating out. It was easy to do. Our day begins at 6:30 a.m. with a quick shower, a cup of coffee, a clean diaper, some Cheerios, a kiss goodbye and off we go. Me to work, my husband to drop our son off at daycare, then to work himself. I guess we'll call that breakfast, or break fast seems more appropriate.

Eating at work poses unique challenges all its own. If you're on your game you've probably brought leftovers from the night before. If you're not and you're trying to save money on groceries, you have no leftovers from the night before. Plan B. A microwavable Lean Cuisine is $1.87 when on sale, that's $9.35 and 1500 calories consumed for lunch the entire work week. Sure, hunger strikes 10 minutes after eating, but the savings are worth it, right? Ask me again in 10 minutes.

Obviously our 11 month old doesn't eat Lean Cuisines. We deliver a bag of 30 or so Plum fruit packs to his daycare weekly at $1.29 a piece. This on top of the weekly supply of Gerber snacks we've stocked his cubby full of. Baby fed. Job done.

On to dinner. After working a nine hour day - there's no such thing as an 8 hour day don't let them fool you- I frantically wrap up my projects, throw on my coat, head for the daycare and pick up my child. My child who cries in the car all the way home because he doesn't like his car seat. My child who rolls around on the changing table as I attempt to change his diaper. My child who refuses to be put down long enough for me to take off my coat. My child.

Then of course there's our dog. Our dog who has made a mess in her pen while she's been cooped up all day. Our dog who smells awful. Our dog who wants to jump, play, fetch, bark and torment my screaming child. Our dog who scratches at the back door demanding to go to the bathroom since she's been holding it in until our arrival. Our dog who will go outside only to bark at everything and anything that moves. Our dog whom the neighbors will complain about because she is barking at everything and anything that moves. Our dog.

Welcome home. The child is changed. The dog is out. The husband, who promised to start coming home at 5:00 p.m. like normal people, isn't likely to be home for another 30 minutes. The laundry is piled up. The toys have taken over the living room. You're still getting emails about things you did or didn't do while you were at your 9 hour a day job, and yes, dinner still has to be made.

Now comes the internal battle. Do I get back in the car, go to the grocery store, purchase supplies, load supplies in the car, unload supplies from the car, stock supplies in the cabinets, remove supplies I need in order to cook dinner, pull out the pots and pans, prep the ingredients, cook the ingredients, plate the ingredients, eat the ingredients an hour or two later, clear the table, wash the dishes and put the dishes away...or do I tell the husband to pick up something in a paper bag we can all wolf down and then throw away?

I guess it comes down to priorities and time management. I want more time to spend enjoying my family. I want to calm the crying baby. Walk the neglected dog. Snuggle with the husband. But I miss my kitchen, and I do, in a way, feel that not cooking for my family means I am neglecting them. I do my best to keep the supplies affordable, healthy and delicious, but time seems to be more of an issue these days.

This post began with the word confession. I guess that's what I'm doing, confessing my shortfalls as a wife, mother and self-proclaimed foodie. I love to cook. I feel as though I'm cheating myself and my family out of an amazing creative experience we can all bond over and enjoy. That's what cooking is right? According to all the magazines, commercials and stories found online.

I'm so torn right now. Cooking and I have always been the best of friends, but lately we can't get on the same page. Here's hoping this post helps. Here's hoping that cooking and I can reconnect and find that same special bond that made Yumology amazing in the first place. Here's hoping!

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