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Thread: How do you handle dinnertime?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    29

    Default How do you handle dinnertime?

    5:30pm to 8pm seems to be the most challenging part of our day. I'm curious how you other working mom's handle this tough period every day.
    I pick up DD from daycare at about 5:30pm and get home shortly after. I *attempt* to make dinner for myself, shower and keep her from having a cranky meltdown before bed. She's usually ready for us to start bedtime by 6:30. My husband works late and is never home to help at this hour. I shower at night so that I can get more sleep in the morning and usually can't do it after she goes down because the shower pipes are right next to her room and it wakes her. I feel like there is a very short window in which to get all this done while still trying to enjoy my home time with baby. Any tricks/tips? How do you all do it?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    281

    Default Re: How do you handle dinnertime?

    We have a similar schedule at our house. This is what we do... I get home from the sitter's house with ds at about 5:30 and immediately put him in his chair for dinner. He usually eats whatever dh and I had for dinner the night before. While he is eating, I can usually get a little prep work done for dinner for dh and I, but sometimes I just hang out with him while he eats. Then we start bedtime wind down at around 6:00. DS goes down for bed at around 6:30. I stopped trying to get a meal on the table for all three of us before my son's bedtime. His getting enough sleep is far more important than us having a meal together right now. We just make a point of eating together when we're at home for other meals. Now, I cook dinner for me and dh after ds goes to bed.

    We have a similar issue that you do with the shower pipes. Our kitchen is right next to my son's room, so we had to come up with something to keep him from waking up after he went to bed. Someone gave us one of those white noise machines as a shower gift and it has worked wonders. It really helps mask household noises and he sleeps thru most anything.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    522

    Default Re: How do you handle dinnertime?

    Hi,

    This is a big challenge for us too! Our evenings go better when I don't try to make dinner. (The Thai takeout place says "Have a good week!" when DH picks up the food...)

    Once or twice things have worked well like this--we all get home around 530, and I nurse DS. He plays with DH while I make dinner (best when somewhat prepped already). We all sit at the table, DS plays with a spoon. Around 630 or 7 I nurse DS again and we start transitioning towards bed. He usually goes to sleep between 730 and 830.

    We have the same small window to work in, and I can only manage it some of the time. Sorry I don't have any tips, besides to try the Jay Kee Mau (spelling?) at Thai Kitchen...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    105

    Default Re: How do you handle dinnertime?

    Aahh... we, too, struggle with dinner. The only thing that seems to work for us is either take out (which we had tonight when DH came home with it at 8:45) or cooking and eating dinner once our DS is in bed. Good luck!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    1,198

    Default Re: How do you handle dinnertime?

    My goal is for as many nights per week with DS, DH and me all sitting together during dinner time. Not easy since both DH and I work outside the home and have commutes that sometimes are awful. I try to 'help' the situation by cooking two dishes on sunday during DS's afternoon nap (providing he takes a good one) or once he is in bed. This REALLY helps. These meals have the criteria that they are something DS can have some of (since he is eating alot of what we eat) and that they reheat well/easily and can cover at least 3 dinners during the week! On the other two nights it's either something super simple like beans and rice or garden burgers from the freezer or occasionally take-out. (Trisha: I'm with you on Thai! Did Stamford even have a Thai place when we were growing up there??) Either DH or I get home by 5:30. The other is not far behind. We are lucky (don't get me wrong, it's stretching the budget to within an inch of it's life - and then some) that our childcare is in-home during the days so the nanny can take dinner out of the refrigerator and pop it into the oven for me when we are on our way home. With luck, DS is in his chair by 6pm when the nanny leaves, with usually me but sometimes DH feeding him. Whoever is feeding also gets to start in on eating; DS eats better this way anyway. Sometimes it doesn't work; sometimes DS gets fed by one or the other of us and adult dinner happens later.... we all do what we can! We have 30-60 minutes of play, hopefully with it being wind-down play or toddling around outside, then the bedtime routine starts up and DS is in his crib by 8, sometimes 8:30. Right now I'm listening to him sing over the monitor. He has been in bed for 20 minutes but is just chirping away and blowing rasberries at his room.....
    Good luck........
    Jsmom

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    50

    Default Re: How do you handle dinnertime?

    I am also very lucky. Our Nanny is my 22 year old first DD (yes, my children are well spaced!). Before work each day I leave some instructions for things she can do to prep things for easy dinner completion, chopping veggies, browning ground beef, etc... so all I have to do when I get home is throw it all together. Some days that doesn't happen quickly - like when DD is hungry when I walk in the door, or if I have missed her especially badly that day - dinner waits and she gets my attention. My older DD quits "work" the instant I get home but usually sticks around to eat dinner with us - which is really nice - the whole family together. Of course, DD has something to say about whether we all get to actually EAT at the same time!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    23

    Default Re: How do you handle dinnertime?

    Dinner times are crunch times - there's no doubt. Some things we've found helpful are - in the colder months we make soup on the weekends - it keeps for several days and works well for an easy reheat; the slow cooker is making a well deserved comeback; Making more than enough chicken (for example) for a meal one day, then dicing it up and making chicken enchalidas the next - or a salad, etc.....I try to slice and dice enough veggies for several meals at one time to keep in the fridge for seveal days which helps keep a balanced meal.....our favorite take out is Nick 'n' Willy's take and bake pizza - and they see us several times a month as well!

    Something I haven't tried but have heard good things about are the places you go to make several freezable meals for a price. All the ingredients are prepped for you, and you make weeks worth of food.....there are several out there. It might be an option for you. If you try it let me know what you think!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: How do you handle dinnertime?

    I too pick up my almost 9 month old daughter from day care around 5:30pm. Her dinner time is anywhere between 5:45p and 6:15p depending on how long she can keep herself entertained. When we get home, I run to change my clothes and get her dinner ready while she plays. I'll also take out some meat to start defrosting in some cool water while I'm feeding her dinner. After dinner is bathtime. After bathtime, I'll sit her down to play while I try to prepare dinner. Her bedtime is around 7pm. After she goes to bed is when my husband and I will eat dinner. It has us eating later, however it's a more peaceful slow paced dinner because she's asleep. On nights that she's fussy or it takes a while for her to calm down, we still try to eat around 7-7:30 in between going into her room when she cries while trying to go to sleep It also helps that my husband usually gets home from work while I'm feeding her dinner or giving her a bath, so he starts some prep on dinner too. You'll get through it don't worry!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: How do you handle dinnertime?

    My schedule is pretty much like all of yours. I used to have my husband play with DD while I cooked dinner and we all ate together. Then hubby started having to work late so now it's just me and Liliane.

    Thank goodness for frozen food - I buy frozen organic chicken taquitos, asian dumplings, stuffed shells, etc at Wholefoods as a back up in case I don't have time to cook dinner. If I do cook dinner, Liliane just hangs out in the kitchen with me and plays in her drawer and cabinet with her own dishes and containers.

    So I feed Liliane by 6pm. Then we play for half an hour before we start the bedtime routine.

    Our shower is right next to Liliane's room too and I worried about waking her up but discovered that she doesn't. She has a whitenoise machine in her room which may help. I have it set to ocean waves.

    You could also try turning on the water a little bit before you put her down so that she is already used to the noise as she falls asleep. Then it won't wake her up.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    30

    Default Re: How do you handle dinnertime?

    We use a place called Dish it Up quite often. You can go on a Saturday, spend an hour making up meals which go in the freezer at home and then bake then as needed. It costs about the same as buying things individually at the grocery store and quite convenient. Big time saver on work days!

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