Cooking for my family is really important to me. I cook dinner pretty much every night. And I think my kids are good eaters.
They like brussels sprouts (though they think the bacon is the best part). They eat a lot of fruits and vegetables.
But some nights, I get really disappointed.
Like the other night when they wouldn’t eat my braised beef pasta sauce. One kid wanted just pasta with cheese. One wanted plain crushed tomatoes on top. The other one complained about the noodles.
Pasta used to be the one thing everyone would eat!
Now my oldest doesn’t like the noodles I used AND doesn’t want the sauce? She literally sat at the table running a noodle through her fingers to get the sauce off?!?
It felt like I had somehow failed because I made a dinner I thought everyone would like and no one did. I had to make it special for each of them, and it was a pain. Pasta was supposed to be easy.
And then comes the inevitable request for snacks 5 seconds after dinner and I’m like, “I just made dinner. Go ask your dad.” “You can get yourself some fruit.”
It felt really personal that they didn’t want to eat this dinner I had made and I was upset about it.
And then I talked to my friend and told her this story.
She just laughed and said it’s the same at their house and told me about how pasta night goes there.
And I recalled a conversation with another friend. She asked me how I expected my 5 year old to react when I did her hair.
I should have expected her to rip her hair thing out and maybe cry about it not being right, but I didn’t. So I got upset about it and it made me feel like I was doing something wrong. I wasn’t “good enough” at doing her hair. Which was kind of ridiculous in hindsight but felt really devastating in the moment.
I realized dinner was the same.
Did I really expect my kids to eat roast that was cooked in and then shredded into their pasta sauce?
But I probably shouldn’t have.
I know they don’t like all of the things I like but I had this expectation I didn’t even realize, that they will always want to eat the dinner that I make and that they should always like it.
That’s just not realistic.
I don’t always want what I make for dinner. Of course they won’t. It doesn’t have to be anything more than that.
So next time your kids won’t eat dinner, you can just picture my daughter trying to get the pasta sauce off her noodles and remember it happens.
P.S. If you’re frustrated and upset with the way things are going in your house and you’re ready for things to be different, I’m here for you. I’ll help you figure out what expectations are lurking under the surface and making you feel that way. Then you can decide what to let go of and what to focus on. Click here to schedule a call.