Friday, September 26, 2014

What's your stress hour look like?

Most nights, when I get home from work, I immediately start cooking dinner. The first hour after I get home is a bit of a blur: There is food to prepare, people to greet and those morning chores to complete (if I didn't finish them earlier). If I can get dinner on the table by 6:45, then it is a really good day.

But the family dinner is important to me, so I am OK with taking on the responsibility most nights to make sure it happens.

That particular hour of the day - no matter what may have happened during my time at work - has become my most stressful hour. I find it more stressful than mornings and trying to get out the door on time.

And yet, I have it easier than a lot of mothers. I work a fairly regular schedule, so - barring traffic - I get home at around the same time each night. I also have a large repertoire of recipes that my family eats (although I like to find new ones when I can). Some mothers aren't so lucky.

My challenge now is to find ways to make my most stressful hour of the day a little better. Here is what I am trying:
  • I'm not the solo decision-maker on meals anymore. In addition to letting my son choose dinner one night a week, I am requesting that my husband also tell me at least one meal that he wants to eat during the week.
  • Prep work on the weekends. I try to spend some time on Sundays chopping things for the rest of the week.
  • Meal planning around my faster meals. I have an amazing recipe for chicken enchiladas, but it takes more than an hour to make. Clearly, that is for weekends only.
  • My crockpot: Dump. Heat. Eat.
  • Lists. No big surprise here, but in addition to my weekly lists, I've started making myself daily lists of any dinner prep I need to accomplish in my mornings (like starting the bread machine.)
  • Mise en place.
Will these things make me feel a little less rushed? Hopefully. It's worth a shot, right?

What's your most stressful hour of the day and what are your tips for getting through it? Tell me in the comments.

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