Do you ever feel like you were a much better parent, before you actually became a parent?
Before I officially embarked on this crazy journey of motherhood, I pictured myself being the mom who has a home cooked meal on the table every night, with freshly baked goods sitting on a warming rack ready when the kids get home from school.
I also pictured us all sitting at the table every night, laughing and sharing the peaks and valleys of our day.
I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that vision is far from reality.
What I didn’t realize is JUST how busy life would get. Between work, sports, chauffeuring kid’s around and just trying to keep my head above water, I’m honestly not the parent that I thought I would be, especially in the dinner department.
Here's a little story for you.
Last year, during a very busy time for our family, I asked my stepdaughter’s friend to throw something in our recycling bin. When she came back into the house she looked at me and said, “wow you guys have A LOT of take-out boxes in your recycling bin.”
She thought we had a party – when really, those containers were just an accumulation of our last-minute take-out runs.
I cringed – “I guess we have been having a lot of take-out lately eh?”
My step-daughter looked at me and said “uhhh yeah, kind of!”
At the beginning of every week I TRY my hardest to meal plan and stock the fridge with groceries so we can avoid hitting up the drive-thru on those busy nights. But with my husband working late, and the kids at various activities, that plan often goes out the window. Even when I do manage to get dinner on the stove, we often eat at different times. Like I said, the schedule is a little crazy.
To be honest, the whole take-out box conversation caused me some major “Mom Guilt” over our mealtime routine.
However, when I brought it up to my girlfriends, I learned that we’re not the only family who doesn’t eat dinner together every night. I also learned that we’re not the only ones hitting up the drive-thru more often than we should.
Even though this helped to ease the guilt, I decided that I needed to get a hold of the dinner situation and start to make some REAL food.
I can’t control our busy schedule, but I can step up my game in the food preparation department, even when I feel like there just isn’t enough time to make dinner!
Lately on those busy nights, when I feel the urge to call the pizza delivery man, I whip up a pot of Catelli pasta instead. Guess what? It actually takes less time to make the pasta than it does to wait for the pizza!
Who would have thought?
I’m not going to lie, it feels so good to give the kids real food and to not have a recycling bin full of take-out containers. Even if we aren’t sitting down all together, I feel WAY less guilty about our meal time routine!
The kids love pasta too, so everyone is happy!!
Since I am almost positive that you can relate to what I am saying, today I thought I’d share one of our favourite pasta recipes.
Not only is it delicious, it’s an excellent way to clean out the fridge and get rid of the extra vegetables that no one seems to be eating!
But before I dive into the recipe I want to say this - as moms, we have to stop being so damn hard on ourselves. There are going to be nights when the plan flies out the window and we find ourselves with take-out containers in our recycling bins. There are going to be weeks when family meal time is non-existent. There are going to be days when simply feeding the kids and getting them to where they need to go is considered a win!.
It's time to remove the guilt and anxiety we all feel when we don't measure up to unreal expectations that we've set for ourselves! We need to start enjoying those everyday moments, and stop comparing ourselves to how we think everyone else is parenting! It's time to just be real!
Which by the way, feels freaking good! I don't know about you, but being straight-up about not having it together all the time, is a huge relief. Such a relief, that I encourage you share your own parenting realities on social media using #RealFeelsGood hashtag.
This week, let's make a point of sharing less of our highlight reels, and more of our real life parenting moments! Perfectly imperfect is far more fun anyways!
What you need:
1-2 cups of chopped peppers – red, yellow, orange (whatever you have)
1 tablespoon of olive oil
½ - ¾ cup onion – diced up (cut up small kids don't notice)
1-2 cups diced tomatoes – (diced up even smaller)
1 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
¼ cup parmesan cheese
1 box/can tomato sauce
chicken or shrimp (as desired)
What you do
Put olive oil in a pan with all the vegetables. Heat on medium heat until soft.
At the same time, combine cream, parmesan cheese and Cajun seasoning in another pan on medium-low heat – stir constantly until thickened (about 5 minutes)
Stir tomato sauce into cream
Stir vegetables into sauce
Add shrimp or chicken as desired
Simmer on low heat, while you make Catelli Smart Linguine or Ancient Grains Spaghettini as per directions on box
Drain & rinse pasta, top with sauce as desired
Like I said, the kids LOVE this pasta - which is so important to us. According to a poll completed by Catelli, 50% of Canadians say that their children refuse to eat food they’re served at least once a week!!! If you ask me, life’s stressful enough! I just can’t handle that battle, so I always try and make something that everyone will enjoy!
Disclosure: This post was created in partnership with Catelli - while I received compensation for this post, as always, all opinions are my own!
Photo via Abby Campebell Design