Southern Parenting Tale: I think we're in a Family Crisis.That's what I would tell Myself, anyway!

Before my second child was born, I had things together pretty well. Dinners were on the table by 6:30 p.m. Jack was in bed at 7:30 p.m, at the latest. I was in bed by 10 p.m. Yeah, there were a few years that he woke up with nightmares every night straight for a year, but other than that small fact, it was pretty much easy street. I didn't think that though.

Of course, if someone told me this was the easy street  phase back in the year 2007, I'm pretty sure my response would be something like "You don't know the "bleepity bleep" what you are talking about. This is hard."

Source Pinterest. Credit:

After Liza was born, things got a little more tricky as Jack entered elementary school. Dinner crept a little later. Bedtimes also got a little later. It wasn't perfect, but it wasn't bad.  I think I would call it mediocre street now.

However, if someone told me it was mediocre street in 2012, I would have shot daggers from my eyes.  Going from preschool years to having Cub Scouts one night a week was hard at the time because it was new.

In 2016, there is no doubt in my mind that we are in a "bleepity bleep" family crisis. Both kids are in elementary school now. They get home at 4:30 p.m. Neither one wants to touch a homework assignment as soon as they walk in the door. They want to eat every snack I have in the pantry and veg in front of You Tube. I so miss "Jessie" and "Witches of Waverly Place".  Shows that I complained at the time were too old for them. Now, I just get some English guy with a gazillion You Tube followers who plays video games for a living and children watch what he does in awe. I don't get. I just don't get it. It's a slow sign that I'm aging and turning into my mother. She never got why people wore thong underwear. I don't get YouTube.

As my children have aged, extra-curricular opportunities have surfaced. I am finding myself leaving our home at 5:30 people for karate twice a week and dance twice a week. One night we have Scouts at 7 p.m.

These activities are not things I force on my children, but I do think it's better than sitting at home watching a grown up on You Tube playing games. We now have martial arts twice a week at 5:45 p.m.  My son is thriving. He loves it. It's awesome to see a child who really just wanted to play Minecraft and computer coding now doing push ups, sit ups, kicks and doing it all with a smile on his face. He never complains to go and is always ready to go.  Liza loves dance class, too.  She wanted to learn to do a cartwheel so we added ACRO for a short time period which added an extra day of dance and craziness to the mix.

Source: Pinterest

You get the idea here. With all of these extra things, dinner gets later. Bedtime gets later. I get grumpier. Homework gets later once they finally reveal that they do, in fact, have homework.

My bedtime gets later. Later bedtimes means no one wants to get moving the next day. We are slow. Sloths could beat us to school. We try to accomplish way too much in a short amount of time in the morning, and honestly, I'm just one stoplight away from road rage as I rush to beat the carpool line closing.

This is the new norm and I don't think it's just me. If I talk to other moms they can fill in the blank that they have  piano, soccer, baseball, church, or gymnastics on any given night for their kids.

No parenting doesn't get easier. It gets more challenging and busier.

New parents tell themselves that things will get easier when they get through the clingy days and sleepless nights. Folks, it does not get less hard as children age.  It just gets harder in a different way. Yes, I can pee alone now most days, but I have no time to get dinner on the table due to my new job as chauffeur. It may get easier when they are out of college, but I can promise you that you will still worry about them even if they have a family of their own. Life may slow down for you, but there will also be new worries and challenges.

It's now my goal to tackle this frenzy lifestyle and do it much better this upcoming school year. I'm next year's PTA president. I can't have the Principal and staff always seeing my station wagon with fighting kids fly over speed bumps to get to the carpool doors before they close them to late parents. On a daily basis, I'm just this close to running over the "Stop, Get Out the Car. You are TARDY" sign as we finish the last 20 days of the school year.

Source: Pinterest

I know I'm not alone. In the past semester, as I've been in this stage, I've stopped in Moe's, Jersey Mike's, Chic-Fil-A...for dinner because I haven't planned meals after these classes. I know I'm not alone.  Tables are filled with American families with children over the age of six. Eating out several times a week is just not smart. It's tough on the pocketbook. It's also  not good for the waistline. Mine.

I think I have a solution. In the winter, I tried with a free trial for one week.  I really liked it. I liked it a lot, actually. Jack loved it and begged me to sign up. He loved every meal and raved about the service.  But,in Jaunary, we were busy just one night a week after school, NOT FOUR.  I thought HelloFresh was maybe too much of a luxury for us and I questioned the $100 weekly expense.  I wondered, "Do we really need this?" Do we need it now? Yes, I think we do. I'm signing up today.

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver develops many of of the recipes for the boxes. Each box comes with portions and ingredients measured out. There is ZERO waste. Some times, you get leftovers off a meal to eat again. I tried three recipes, and it's been so long now and I'm so frazzled that I have forgotten them by their official names,  but I am pretty certain that Chicken Milanese was one of the meals after going through the archives today.

Courtesy:  HelloFresh

I also remember this entree. Tuscan Sausage Linguine. It was so good that I told myself that I should recreate it one day. I tell myself I should do a lot of things, but yet I never do them. Sadly, I've not recreated this meal either, even though it was one of my favorites.

Courtesy: HelloFresh

The third meal was a chili. Of course, Will thinks no chili on this earth is better than his. I am going to give him some bragging rights, but this chili was good. I enjoyed it.

Courtesy: HelloFresh

Liza was hit and miss on some of the meals, but it scored a home run with Jack. He liked every one. And if we must be truthful, Jack doesn't like a lot of things I cook so for him to love this then that is really good.

I think if I supplement the week with these meals and then plan on my Papa Spud's produce delivery to serve with chicken or fish one night then I will be in a better place, at least in the kitchen. I may need to serve dinner earlier like at 5 pm a few night a week.  Sounds crazy, but it may be a good option. HelloFresh prides itself on working with farmers for the best ingredients.

The HelloFresh box comes in the mail with lots of ice packs. There is a little bit of waste there or extra garbage, but if it helps us get our sanity back, it will be worth it.  I'm going to sign up for the family box. It is three meals a week for $105 with free shipping. I think it is my family crisis solution.

If you are in family crisis mode like me, HelloFresh created a code just for my readers to get $35 dollars off your first box. Use Hines35 at checkout. They'll know I sent you.

Disclosure: I tried HelloFresh in January  for a one week delivery with three meals for free. I've thought about the site now for three months and have decided that I'm going to become a customer. No other compensation, partnership or incentive influenced my decision. I'll keep you posted. 

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