Can you keep a secret? I’m not all that overjoyed when my kids bust through the doors and bellow, “Mom what’s for dinner?” Riveted by my latest fiction or engrossed in MomLife Today, I always seem to be caught off guard. As much as I really do love to cook, there’s a small moment when I think, What!? Am I the cook!? If I don’t have a full cupboard of ingredients to whip up a Martha Stewart-esque meal, I feel defensive. If I’m exhausted, I might just be grouchy when I answer.
I firmly believe that a family who eats together is a family who grows healthy and strong kids—emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Dinner together matters so, so much. I really do love cooking for my family. But I have a big problem with grocery shopping. I loathe the visits to the grocery store where I spend enough money to feed a small third world village on the same stuff that I bought just days earlier … only to have my three ravenous teens inhale it all.
Months ago, exasperated at the whole torturous cycle of not liking grocery shopping so not going and then not having food to prepare for my hungry troops, I stumbled onto something. I posted a list of the meal we’d be having each night and what time we’d be eating, taking into account everyone’s schedules. I did it in a desperate attempt to motivate myself to plan my grocery shopping. And it did make it so much easier. I got in and out faster and felt on top of it.
But the next thing that happened was unexpected. My teenagers loved the list. They began waiting for it every Saturday when I posted it. They’d commentate on their favorites and the oldest one—a college student living at home—actually started scheduling his personal life around my dinners! (Now that’s a secret power every mom would like to have, huh?)
Rather than a breakdown in everyone’s tummy and my spirit, we now have this tradition—our list!