Dear Dinnertime: I Hate You.

From the moment I wake up in the morning I dread it – the inevitable “what’s for dinner?” question. It haunts me at work, during pick-up and the moment I open the garage door, because the little people and the big guy can’t live on fruit snacks no matter how much they want to.

brookdinnerWhile I may not hate our family time at the dinner table {other than when the three year old decides to throw food}, I do hate everything leading up to it.

I hate figuring out what to serve each night.

I hate chopping, boiling, sautéing and baking.

I hate grocery shopping.

I hate it all.

My disgust with dinnertime didn’t happen overnight.

It has been years in the making.

From the ripe age of three, it was just my dad and me, and I have to credit all my culinary expertise or lack thereof to him. I remember vividly the first time he tried to make macaroni and cheese for us.  It didn’t go well, the noodles were crunchy and it resembled something like wallpaper paste. As the years passed it got a little better, but there were many nights filled with Salisbury Steak TV Dinners and cereal. I didn’t get much practice in the kitchen, but at least we ate together.

Throughout the years I’ve gotten better at cooking, but I still don’t share the passion that other people have for it. Perhaps it’s because after working all day, the last thing I want to do is slave over a stove. I’d rather play with the kiddos or do that never-ending pile of laundry or just sit for five minutes and stare off into space.

Yep, I’d rather do laundry and stare into space than make dinner.

A couple of years ago I enlisted the help of a national magazine to teach me how to cook and stay sane in the kitchen. Some of their tips stuck with me, but others (like the all-day Sunday meal prep) didn’t stick. Sorry, that’s not how I like to spend a Sunday, especially when it’s only one of two days I get to hang with the family, do laundry, clean the toilets, and again stare into space.

I really like to stare into space, but in all seriousness I make dinner because I have to not because I like to. However, I sit down to dinner with my family because I LOVE them, and that’s all that matters even if dinner is from a box.

So…is dinnertime the bane of your existence, or are your culinary talents equivalent to the Iron Chef? Oh, and what are YOU having for dinner?

*That last question may or may not be a feeble attempt to solicit an idea for tonight’s dinner…just keeping it real.

Brook {without the "e"} is a spunky faux redhead and former UI grad who has decided to call Iowa City her home for over 10 years. She met her husband on the internet, and they spend their days playing superheroes with their two boys, Edison (2007) and Grant (2010). She juggles mom life with a full-time job as a marketing consultant, competing in triathlons and writing her heart out on her personal blog She believes life is a journey, not a destination.


  1. Here’s what I have done to help with that horrible time of day, and I actually enjoy cooking (well at least baking!). I make a 3-week meal plan (I have done 1-week and 1-month before) so I only have to think about the menu every 3 weeks (though sometimes even that feels like too much). Since I stay home I also include lunches. I made a list of suppers and lunches so when I sit down I can just look through my list and pick which night to eat which meal (I can do this – just a matching game!). We also always have pizza on Fridays and popcorn on Sundays so that takes care of 2 nights. As much as meal planning is hard to commit to – I strongly believe it will make your life better.

    As far as the meal prep on Sundays (not happening in this house either) – you could try a once-a-month day to prep a lot of things and make some freezer meals and the best idea would be to find at least one friend to do it with you!!! Then it is a social time and not a prep time! Good luck 🙂

    • Love your ideas. Especially the 3 week meal plan, that might take away some of my anxiety, because every Sunday I just dread the upcoming week. Now that it’s fall it might be a bit easier with the crockpot.

  2. Try the fresh20 meal planning- i love it and my son began eating different foods. I just hate planning so this helped. If i do not like a week i look in the archives to find one i like! I also usually leave out the fish meal since i do not like cooking fish. Then we also always have pizza on fridays.

  3. I can completely sympathize with you! I’ve subscribed to eMeals in hopes of curing my issues, but you do have to go TO their website to login and look at their weekly menus . I wish they would come directly to my inbox. They do all the planning. It’s based on the kind of menus you would like, plus they let you select if you want to shop at certain budget stores or general grocery stores, allowing you to take advantage of that week’s bargain items for their menus. They have the ingredients list ready for each meal, so you can head to the store with your chosen meals and list of needed items. I happen to have an autistic son with very limited interests in food, so it’s been difficult getting him to appreciate my cooking no matter what I try. But eMeals is there for people who cannot make choices out of that array of cookbooks sitting on the back of the counter! It’s endorsed by Financial Planner, Dave Ramsey.

    • I used eMeals for a while {I had a groupon} I liked it, but I think I needed to sign up for a different plan because on the clean eating one, there were some odds combinations that I knew the hubs and boys wouldn’t like. We too have issues with kiddos and food. My eldest is on ADHD meds which inhibit his appetite so sometimes it’s hard because I spend all this time cooking and then he says he’s not hungry. I’ll probably keep using eMeals and just change my plan, so it’s more family friendly.


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