The first time my son cooked he was 3.
I took him to a toddler cooking class and he loved it.
For a while I was really good at getting him involved in the kitchen but soon the everyday after work rush took over and it was so much quicker for me to do it myself.
My daughter loves to bake however lack of time has forced our baking to holidays and long weekends.
Every night after work I rush home and pull out the pots and pans before I’ve even changed my clothes.
There just isn’t enough time.
One afternoon as I stood by the stove stirring the vegetables for a stir fry, my daughter came in from outside trying to guess what was for dinner by the smell filling up the main floor.
“Stir fry again?!” she whined.
I blame my husband.
I have heard about all the complaining he did as a child about what was put in front of him at dinner time. I have heard the “chicken again” complaint more times that I can count.
Whenever my kids start whining about what I was making for dinner I blame my husband.
Trying to come up with something nutritious that my kids will eat and can be made quickly after work every single night is not easy.
It was stir fry night when I decided that dinner didn’t have to be just on me.
I decided that if my kids had to put effort into figuring out what was for dinner sometimes and make it maybe they would appreciate how difficult this task really is.
So I assigned one day a week for each of them to be tasked with dinner.
Once a week dinner is on them.
They put together the menu. They make sure all the ingredients are in our fridge and ask for a ride to the store if we’re missing something.
They do it all from beginning to end.
My son was assigned first and he made fried egg tostadas with homemade guacamole.
I didn’t know what to expect.
I sat back and watched as he cracked the eggs, mashed the avocado and taste tested the guacamole, declaring that it needed more salt and I was impressed.
He was more than capable of handling himself in the kitchen.
Each and every time my kids place their homemade dinner on table their pride is palpable. They give each other pats on the back congratulating each other on a job well done. They devour their dinner, barely leaving a crumb.
In the weeks since we have enjoyed multiple homemade dinners. Dishes such as; bacon and eggs, pasta with meat sauce, fish and Stromboli just to name a few that my kids have prepared us with love.
While my little experiment has meant me learning to give up some control in the kitchen, the results are well worth it. The kitchen is often left looking like it has been hit by a tornado and the sink is overflowing with dishes my kids are building confidence and learning life skills that will stay with them forever.
The best part is that my kids look forward to it. They know when it’s their day to make dinner and they love planning out what they are going to make.
They are learning to plan ahead, shop, budget and cook. I am teaching them about kitchen safety and how to read a recipe.
Truth is, it’s a challenge for me to not kick them out of the kitchen and take over but I’m proud of them. I’m proud that before they’ve even hit 10 they are capable of making themselves a meal.
That gives me piece of mind as a mother.
Now, the next step is getting them to do their own dishes.
Author: Natalie Romero
Natalie wishes she lived in a world where chocolate and Netflix marathons were a part of a healthy lifestyle. Since that’s not going to happen she balances it all with the occasional salad and trip the gym. An HR professional by day and a freelance writer by night, Natalie is learning that balancing motherhood with two careers can be a great juggling act and finding time for anything in between can be tough.
Always a storyteller, Natalie is a feature blogger at Yummy Mummy Club, Oh Baby Magazine and Tales from Mummy Land and is also a regular contributor at Huffington Post. Keep up with her as she blogs her way through the crazy beautiful life of a working mother just trying to have it all.