WFMW: Any Suggestions on Balance???

Well, I know this week is not a “backwards WFMW” but I really, REALLY need help with something from some of you more seasoned moms.

We registered both kids for baseball this spring – on different teams. And while they both have practices on tuesday nights, I am finding that between their practices and our otherwise already busy schedule, I am having trouble with dinners!

I know this is only going to get worse as they get older, but I want to preserve as many family dinners per week as I can. Any practical tips would be great. One idea I read was that no matter what time it is when you all get home, that you break bread together (of some kind – dinner, snack, dessert, whatever). That feeds the family soul, for certain. But how in the world do I ensure my kids are having healthy dinners when there seems to be no time!

Here is our evening schedule:
Monday – Mens’s & Women’s prayer group at 7pm. I try to always have a good meal served on this night since our prayer group doesn’t start until 7.

Tuesday – Baseball at 5:30pm. We have to leave at 5. This is the night I struggle with. The kids aren’t hungry for dinner at 4. I have tried. And I don’t want them drinking too much past 6pm so how do I feed them dinner with no drink? HELP!!!!

Wednesday – Dance (Emma from 4-5) Softball (Daddy varies in time); Choir (Mommy 8pm) – We usually do take out pizza because there is one beside the dance studio. But even that gets old.

Thursday – Retreat meeting – Mommy or Daddy (depending on the time of year) at 6pm. If Daddy is left to feed the children, it is typically unhealthy like cereal or something.

Friday – Baseball at 6pm.

HELP ME!!!!

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10 thoughts on “WFMW: Any Suggestions on Balance???

  1. Kim says:

    First of all breathe πŸ™‚For the nights that you have to rush, try finger-food dinners, cut up veggies, small turkey wraps, things that can be eaten cold and on the run or at the practice etc… Don’t worry too much about having a traditional sit-down meal – you are still all together at the games and practices.And about the drink with dinner part – who ever said they must have a drink with dinner? Give them a glass of milk before the game and dinner after – they will get used to the new routine quickly.Try to make sure it is healthy most nights – but cereal once in a while is fun and it makes it special to have kind of a treat night with Daddy.Try to prep as much as possible in advance so you don’t have last minute rushing.And on the nights like the weekend, when you can all sit down, make those times count. Have a good conversation and a nice leisurely meal.

  2. Sandy says:

    Hi Stacey – well, I’ve been where you are. We’ve done all sports. During the heavy sports seasons there were nights we didn’t eat together. Eating together is important (and it was always so nice when sports ended where we got our family eating time back), but it’s not what makes up a “family.” I learned to not be rigid and just go with the flow. I still have to practice that. On those nights, I’ll take the opportunity to sit down while my son grabs a quick meal, and talk to him then.During heavy sports times, coming together in the loft to watch TV together and hang as a family has become a very precious time for our family.You have to make the best of what you have! Email me if this doesn’t help Stacey – bless you!I hope you win the apron and book πŸ™‚

  3. Overwhelmed! says:

    Ugh, I’m having this same problem! I look forward to suggestions that others offer you.I will say, my Favorite Ingredients Friday recipe exchanges help me at least come up with some cooking ideas.Good luck!P.S. Can you tell me what your RSS feed is? I’m trying to add your blog to my Google Reader list and it’s not coming up in a search.

  4. Jen @ JenuineJen says:

    Here are a few thoughts.1. Do you ever cook food to put in the freezer to another meal? I have several recipes that work well for freezing on my blog (http://jenuinejen.com/2008/01/09/freezer-friendly-recipes/). That might help on Thursdays when Daddy is doing the cooking. If what he has to do is a few simple reheating steps, he would probably be more likely to cook something healthy.2. Instead of doing softball and choir every week, could you and your husband alternate the weeks that each do the activity? You go to choir practice every other week. The weeks you do not go out, Daddy goes to softball. While this may not be the optimal solution, it might make your evenings feel a bit less hectic and rushed. One thing I have really had to do is let go of so many outside commitments that I used to do (and truly enjoy a great deal) on the evenings. I still volunteer a good bit during the day when the children are in school or can tag along with me. I do my best to limit what I will do alone outside the house in the evenings to 3 – 4 times per month. This does not include date nights with my spouse. It is stictly my volunteer and community service time. Selfishly, it stinks. we were married for over 10 years before having children. We had quite an established role in our community and enjoyed the things we did outside of work and the house. Right now, my season is to focus on my young children. Later, I will be able to pick up about where I left off. That is something that has worked for me.3. Speaking of dates, are you and your husband spending any quality time together without the children? I do not know exactly where you would work that in your current schedule. I hope that you are finding some time together.4. Here is an idea for a schedule:Saturday and Sundays: Once a Month Cooking, you and your husband cook meals that can be put in the freezer. You might look at getting a once a month cookbook or freezer friendly cookbook to get you started on this. Other Saturday and Sundays try something new or cook meals that you enjoy but take longer to prepare.Mondays: have a “normal family meal” in the evening before your 7 pm commitment.Tuesdays: Crockpot night. There are tons of recipes online that can be prepared in a crockpot. Find 5 you like. Rotate them 1 time per week for a month. First Tuesday of the month is crockpot chicken. Second Tuesday of the month is sloppy joes, etc. Your house will greet you with a warm, welcoming smell when you get home and everyone is exhausted, hungry, and worn out.Wednesdays: Breakfast for dinner. There are several breakfast foods that freeze easily (pancakes, waffles, french toast)and can be reheated. Also, scrambling a few eggs and cooking oatmeal takes hardly any time at all. Thursdays: Freezer food night. Pull something out of the freezer to reheat. You or your husband can do this and it will be an easy home cooked meal.Fridays: LeftoversI’d really appreciate your thoughts on these ideas. I am thinking of creating a post on it now that I have spent time writing the comment. Any feedback you have would help a great deal for that post.

  5. Anonymous says:

    My suggestion is to not add any more activities and to pray about dropping a couple of them. This is something I learned the hard way. Your family time with your kids is short! Guard it.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I used to pack a picnic and we would eat as we watched. The kids always thought it was a fun thing to do. Carol

  7. Missy says:

    the crock pot can be your best friend right now! it’s so simple to make really good recipes. also, try grilling up extra chicken. it can be used later for salads, burritos, tacos or heated up with a side dish.hope this helps! missy

  8. Amy says:

    I use my crockpot a couple of times a week most of the time. Simple recipes (roast + tomato soup + Italian seasoning + dried onions…. serve with instant potatoes and canned veggies) keep me sane! πŸ™‚ You’ll find lots of tried and true crockpot recipes on my cooking blog.My kids also think it’s a big treat to eat “deli plates” (homemade lunchables with pepperoni, cheese, grapes, crackers, etc). That’s a very portable meal that could be eaten in the car if needed.

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