David started a new job today.
Guess what I have to do tonight? I have to cook dinner.*
I make much of the fact that I don’t cook, and that David does. My girls make much of that fact; David makes much of that fact; my parents make much of that fact. My home-friends roll their eyes at me (in jealousy). My work friends either do the same as my home-friends, OR they are in the same boat. (It’s not as unusual as you’d think for female attorneys to have partners who either work from home, work part-time, or stay at home caring for kids, etc.)
I know for most people, needing to cook about 50% of the dinners in their house wouldn’t be a big deal, or it would be, because they would get to STOP cooking the other 50% of the time.
Before David was in my life, I cooked all the time. I cooked all the time while I was a stay-at-home mom to babies and toddlers; I cooked all the time when I was a working single mother. The shift from being an at-home mom to a working single mom came with a shift in meals. The girls’ memories tell them that we had Amy’s Mac & Cheese for dinner every night. The reality is that it was our Friday night meal. But I did definitely get into ruts. I had several meals that I cooked often, if not once a week. But they were years where the girls were pickier eaters. When I did try something new, rebellion ensued. I remember a certain eggplant dish in particular … (although, to be fair, I also found that dish to be inedible).
When David and I were dating, back in California, he would come over and cook dinner for us a couple of times a week. We were all Very Impressed. They were great nights.
When David and I took the plunge and moved across the country together, we shared cooking duties and grocery shopping duties. For a while. I think I wheedled my way out of my turns shopping sooner into the cohabitation than I managed to get out of cooking — but eventually he was doing it all. And at the time, he was working full time, and I was in law school.
When we were sharing the cooking, the deal was that he would cook and I would clean. I don’t remember when even THAT stopped. But it did.
At one point, when he was doing all the cooking and shopping, but I think I was still pretending to clean up after dinner, I started doing his laundry. He had been doing his own, and I would do mine and the girls’. But I saw that he was getting the very short end of the stick, and so I said I would do his laundry, in an attempt to even things out.
But then, I stopped doing that. He does his own laundry now.
All this to say — This change is happening now that he is going back to full-time work, but it really has been long overdue.
Now I’m back to perusing recipes, looking for inspiration. I need inspiration that is quick, simple, and healthy. Not easy to come by. But I think I can do it. I’m going to have to acclimate myself to our grill — I’ve used it a few times, but I don’t know it well. I’m also going to force David to eat a lot more fish than he prefers. Because Mouse is a vegetarian, and I’m not really down with the “cooking two versions of everything” method that David has adopted.
Tonight, I’m making tilapia with garlic and lemons, and roasting some broccoli. Because I am doing a low (or no) carb thing right now, and because they really ought to be contributing to the household, especially since they’re home all day lazing about, AND because they’re picky as all get-out, the girls are making their own sides. Mouse is baking a potato, and Lemon is making herself a vat of rice.
And while I’m trying – really I’m trying – to get back into work-mode, I’m instead perusing more recipes. Would love to hear about any that are quick, simple and healthy. Cheap doesn’t hurt, either. (I know, I want everything!)
* Drafted this post at work, just now posting. First dinner was a HUGE success. Girls loved the fish and broccoli – Mouse made herself a baked potato, Lemon made some steamed rice, David and I had double portions of broccoli. All plates were clean. Hooray!