Everyone Gets a Say

Everyone Gets a Say

I don’t know about you, but there are times I would happily cook pretty much anything provided I didn’t have to actually decide what!

Is it just me.. or???

I’m not sure where or how – but somewhere along this little domestic journey of ours, one person seems to end up being responsible for making that daily decision of what’s for dinner, every single night (let alone all the other food in between).

Because it is every single day, it’s exhausting!  Even for someone like me that loves to cook!  On top of every other thing that we co-ordinate as part of the mental load, it’s no wonder that by the time we get to dinner we’re mentally exhausted and cue the overwhelm.  We could have this, but we had chicken last night; I don’t have this ingredient, I don’t feel like that, I don’t have time to cook that…. Not to mention of course the actual physical side of shopping, cooking and cleaning up. 

Meal Planning was part of the answer .... but wait there's more!

For us, meal planning was definitely a big step in the right direction.  Devoting 20 or so minutes a week to tucking up in my happy place with a cuppa and thinking about the food we’d like to eat was much better than using up all that mental real estate for thoughts like the above spinning in my head every day…

But I was still the one deciding – and as I said before, there are times I’d cook pretty much anything they’d ask.  SO as part of my meal planning ritual now, everyone gets a say.  When I tuck up for my little meal planning session, I wait patiently, blending into my surroundings, until they walk past.  Then I strike!  “What do you want for dinner this week?”

Everyone gets a say and what we've noticed from there

At first there were some groans, the predictable requests for favourite take away dinners (sometimes obliged, mainly redirected), and then to make it easier they’d just ask for the same thing every week.  This has changed over time, and here’s all the good stuff we’ve noticed!    

  • The kids are learning to meal plan because it’s so visible in our Planner on the kitchen bench.  They really like knowing what's for dinner and seeing when they're choice is on the menu!
  • When they grumbled when I first started asking it was a good opportunity to chat about sharing the decision making between us all.  They developed an appreciation for how the repetitive nature of deciding can be just a bit annoying!
  • They’ll eat dinner tonight because they can see that tomorrow night it’s their choice.
  • As time has gone on, they’ve put more effort as well into thinking about varying what they ask for, and realising that night is their responsibility to make sure the family eats well!
  • With the extra mental capacity for thinking about dinner, I felt more motivated to incorporate new dinners into our repertoire. So even if they did request a few repetitive meals, it didn’t matter.  The decision was made, and provided it was a “good” family dinner, it was done and I didn’t have to think about it!
One of my favourite client’s (and actually good friend too) Elizabeth summed it up perfectly:

“I've spent so much time stressing / being annoyed that no one else in my house can make any suggestions or sort what we're having for dinner and it's all on me.  

So now we all have the conversations on the weekend about what we are going to have during the week for dinners.  Then hubby can start prepping stuff when he's home from work first. 

And the kids actually look forward to eating the dinners they've suggested - rather than me telling them what they're having and they don't want it”

That's just winning in my books!!

Would this be something you’d try at yours?  What do you think your kids would request?

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