Your sweet, hard working husband texts you or calls you to say “hey honey, looks like I’ll be working late tonight. Sorry!”
Your first instinct is panic-ville. But it’s already been a rough day with the kids, but Suzy only took a 20 minute nap today, but Billy has been cutting a tooth and his crying makes your ears turn into goo. Of all the nights to be flying solo, this is NOT the night! But then you remember (light bulb!) You knew this night was coming and you prepped for it. You have your arsenal of meal ideas ready to go, you make a plan to get through the evening and you pull it off brilliantly! Well, maybe not always brilliantly, but you survived without crying in the bathroom right?
Take the kids to the park for awhile and burn off their extra steam, or take them to the library to pick out a movie for tonight. This movie is the crux of the evening. Just get to movie time.
Pull out a Mom meal that is memorable, free of veggies and easy to eat. You heard me right. Don’t feel the need to cram the most healthy of healthy meals into their mouths, just make it free from crying and complaints. Make it yummy. Pick the veggie meals when Daddy is home and can help with the aid and guiding of said veggie-eater-in-training. Here are some meals that you can keep in your pantry and freezer for nights such as these…
- Beans on toast: keep a few cans of cowboy beans in the pantry. Keep a loaf of bread in the freezer, also wrap a few pieces of bacon and place in the freezer. Toast the bread, serve the beans over it and sprinkle cooked bacon.
- Cornbread waffles with chili and cheese: You can make the cornbread waffles in advance and freeze them. Pull out some cans of chili or a frozen bag of chili from the freezer, shred the cheese and you’re golden. Here is the recipe. (and you don’t have to make it spicy!)
- Waffle and chicken sandwiches. Make your standard waffles and freeze them. Buy breaded chicken patties. Cook up a piece or two of bacon and add it to some mayo along with 2 Tablespoons of maple syrup. Spread Mayo on waffles and make sandwiches with the chicken patties. Make one for Daddy when he gets home or he’ll be bummed he missed out on these.
- Garlic bread pizza boats: store a few garlic bread loaves in the freezer. You can also freeze mozzarella cheese and pepperoni. Keep the sauce in the pantry. Let the kids help you make these.
- Classic tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches: Keep the cans of tomato soup in the pantry. Keep the cheese and bread in the freezer. Always a favorite!
- Baked mac-n-cheese! You can bake these in advance and freeze them in aluminum disposable containers.
Pull out a few pots and pans, some spoons, and plastic measuring spoons for the kids to play on the kitchen floor while you are prepping the meal… There! You didn’t need to go through the drive-thru. You fed your kids with something you made and now their tummies are happy, your wallet is happy, and you’re almost there.
Give them a fun bath. Float toys you wouldn’t normally put in there. Put in lots of bubbles. Put fun children’s music on your phone in the bathroom and let them have a blast. Laugh, and sing along and make it fun! Grab some books and while they are in there, turn down the music, and read a few books to them. Calm them down. Put their towels in the dryer to heat up, so that when they get out, they are comforted and cozy.
Put on that much promised movie. Snuggle under the blanket. Chances are that they will fall asleep and can be carried to bed. If not, they can enjoy the movie and get tucked in afterwards.
Congratulations! You made it through the evening without a hitch. Celebrate with a glass of wine and a square of chocolate. Give yourself a mud mask and paint your toenails. Your husband will come home to a woman who isn’t frazzled and anxious, she is calm and composed. Truly the best gift you can give your husband.