It can be hard when routines change (back to school, new schedules) to be able to fit everything in that you have had set on a pretty rigid schedule up until now. Simple evening activities like showering, homework for children or chores can be thrown for a loop even with a 1 hour change in your routine or schedule.
One of the tasks that can be the most daunting and time consuming for mom business owners can be simply making dinner for their families and themselves. Getting food made, on the table and the family fed can feel like an impossible mission on some days, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Now if you have been following me for awhile, you know that not only is cooking a passion of mine, but it is also fundamentally in my business plan. What I mean by that is that it is part of my schedule everyday. I’m committed to making it happen as much and as successfully as possible. It is one of my defined goals is to have a home-cooked meal on the table for my family at least 5 nights a week by around 6:30.
I have been successful with this goal for the most part in the past, but it is getting much more difficult with my children getting older. They have their own schedules, commitments to work around instead of just the adults.
I have used these four basic principles to help me to remember how to prioritize meal times:
Make It a Commitment
Commit to yourself and your family to making your mealtimes a family connection time. Try having no technology at the table: no tvs, computers, phones. Try just talking, connection and sharing together. This can be a magical time, even if it is only 20 minutes. Also, be sure to put it on your schedule. Try to have a set goal time for dinner every night. Make sure that everyone knows when that is and to not schedule other (avoidable) things at that time. And, just because it is a commitment, does not mean you have to be rigid about it. Be flexible, sometimes it will be a picnic at soccer or at the park, it will be a box in the minivan, but it is still a home cooked meal that you are having with your family.
Make It Simple
Don’t overthink meal time. Don’t put so much pressure on needed a freshly-cooked, just-out-of-the-oven full meal every night. That’s unrealistic and very difficult to do. Instead, try and make extras when you do cook to be frozen already prepared. Having things pre-cooked, pre-chopped and packaged for future meals will help immensely when you are short on time. You can pull them out and thaw / warm them even when you need to run out the door and still have a home cooked meal on the go!
Make it fun
Make a conscious effort to involve your kids and spouse in the meal-time process. Encourage selecting your dishes for the week as a family and allow them to help you prep and cook meals whenever possible. Not only will this give you more family bonding time but it will also teach your children a valuable, important life skill for their future. Win-win!
Make it matter
Make mealtime an important part of your family time. Dinner time doesn’t have to be long-stemmed candles and linens. It simply means sitting down, enjoying your food and being together. It means truly connection and conversation without the constant distractions of our busy lives. It may only be about 20 minutes, but it can be a 20 minutes that really, truly matters. If you have to have dinner separately due to certain (unavoidable) commitments, then make an effort to possibly sit down once you are all home to have dessert together, or a family breakfast time the next day.
Being a mompreneur is about keeping your priorities in order—and dinner is one way I make sure I’m meeting all my goals. I hope this gives you some ideas on how to set more concrete measurements for your home life, even if dinner may not be one of yours. Even personal goals need to be specific and measurable, just like your business goals.