Rediscovering the 'Me' in 'Mumeeeeeee'

'I have always thought that there is no more fruitful source of family discontent than a housewife’s badly-cooked dinners and untidy ways'. (Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management, 1861)

September 5, 2012

Making a meal of it

I’m not quite sure whether to jump for joy or weep into my coffee.  Why? Because with my youngest starting Junior Infants this week, both my children are now at school. It’s a strange feeling; a mixture of pride, joy and nostalgia. How did those years go by so quickly? How did those tiny babies grow up so fast? I’m sure these are thoughts being shared by many parents around the country this week.

Of course, it’s lovely to have a little bit of ‘me time’ back. Now, I have no excuse for putting off that daily morning walk I’ve been talking about since September 2010. Now, I can sit at my desk and get on with my job, without getting up to every ten minutes to separate Lego bricks or wipe up a spilt drink or find a lost teddy. I will have the peace and quiet I have craved so often – but I will miss the chaos.

Thankfully, my boys are still young enough to allow me to kiss them goodbye in the school yard. I still get smothered with hugs when they come home and I am still needed to patch up wounded knees and over-loved teddies. I am also, of course, still needed to provide an endless supply of food. The packed lunches are going well (so far) and appetites are definitely increasing after a busy day at school. With the nip of autumn already in the air, I’m looking forward to making warming soups and stews for my hungry boys. Of course, they will refuse to eat them, but I will continue to make them anyway in the hope that one day … one day …

With ‘Back to School’ there comes the inevitable return to the old routines. Everything has to be that bit more regimented. Homework – check. Dinner – check. Showers – check. Bedtime – check. The whole day seems to be managed on the basis that ‘you have to be up early for school tomorrow.’ And I find that what you put on the table for dinner can make or break the entire day. If it’s a pasta carbonara night, everyone runs to the table and devours the lot. If it’s salmon we may meet with some resistance and if it’s the dreaded stew … shudder.

Having fought over the years about peas and broccoli, things touching each other on the plate and arms which are simply too exhausted to lift a knife and fork, I think I am now battle scarred enough to face whatever new forms of mealtime protest my little soldiers throw at me. Slotted spoon at the ready, I will face them head on.

Funny though, how I can now laugh at the little things they said when they were just toddlers. And I quote:

  1. That’s too soft, I only like crunchy things
  2. But that tomato is too bendy
  3. Well, it’s just that those carrots are touching the peas
  4. Yukky. That bit of the banana is dirty
  6. It’s just that my tummy is SO full but my pudding tummy is still hungry
  7. But I can’t eat it mummy because THIS IS THE WRONG SPOON
  8. I’m too tired to eat cucumber
  9. That’s got peppers in it and they make me cough
  10. But if I eat all this, then I won’t have room for any telly
The protests about what’s on their dinner plate may change slightly, but the sentiment remains the same.

Perhaps they are growing up too quickly, but reassuringly, some things never change!


For loads of great meal ideas and easy recipes for healthy family meals, check out the Tesco Real Food page where you can search for recipes by ingredient, type of meal, cooking time or type of cuisine. There is also a great section for family meals on a budget.



  1. I can so relate to all of that and it really made me laugh! My daughter is now 11, but we went through a number of years where the only foods acceptable to her were potato waffles, chips, spaghetti hoops, yogurt and bananas. I nearly lost my reason. But the good news is, she became a great little eater and now devours everything on her plate. So keep that slotted spoon at the ready .. they'll get there eventually.

  2. Hey, my name is Abenaa.
    I am your new follower. And I can already relate to your blogs very well. I don't have children, but I live with my little other and cousin who just started middle school. Even though I have more time for myself, like watching I miss all the chaos and fighting. Sad to say my brother and cousin will never eat anything with vegetables in it. They rather not eat at all. All they want is fries, chicken noddles, juice and candies. Well, I hope we figure out something soon; and hopefully they grow out of it.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin