And why I’m f*cking doing it anyway.
The emotional labor of dinner planning is REAL!!!!! It drives me nuts when my husband or kids occasionally say they'll make dinner and then show up in the kitchen at 5:30 to *begin* thinking about it. I don't want to eat dinner at 8pm, which is how long it takes once they've decided, run to the store for a missing ingredient, asked me where we keep X, cooked the thing, cooked the thing that goes with the thing, and finally left a sink full of dishes and a counter that looks like a war zone. That happens because of the lack of planning, which -- you're right -- no one sees, so they don't know how it happens. You really hit the nail on the head.
I abdicated all meal planning responsibilities while pregnant during the pandemic and my husband took over with no complaint (win!) However, now that our daughter's 6 months old and we're about to start solids with her, I'm the only one doing the research into purées vs baby led weaning, etc, etc, so I'm worried that change will be short-lived?
Is it just me or does the mental load for female partners just compound when kids arrive on the scene, in ways that it doesn't for dudes? We were pretty equitable before but so much just doesn't seem to be on his radar AT ALL.
We plan every week -- tween lunch, adult lunch, dinner for all. WOAH. But to be clear, at least one day is reads "takeout" for dinner and on Thursdays it usually reads "clean out the frig" for dinner.
It helps to plan because hubby is diabetic (type 2) and lactose intolerant. When we plan we spend less, waste less, and keep LL's sugar in check. But my husband and I have talked about the "mental work" most women carry so this task is shared amongst all 3 of us. Together we pick meals, build the shopping list, and double check the frig/pantry. And then my husband and I shop together. We can be in-and-out of Trader Joe's in 20-30 minutes. #WINNING
I don't consistently use their planning/prep tools, but I enjoy Workweek Lunch for recipe ideas, and they're aligned with Intuitive Eating.
Wow, I hit the exact same rut and also went looking for an app. I ended up going with Plate Joy. Not exactly 100% free of diet culture traps, but it scales the recipes according to how many adults/children and whether you want left overs AND ALSO whether you want a small/medium/large portion size for those people. So any and all math is done for me. And it handles dietary restrictions and allergies really well which is an issue for us. Mostly I like it. It doesn't acknowledge the existence of bottled salad dressing, so sometimes I have to scan through a recipe to see if I really need 2 lemons on the list or if it just has me making yet another lemon/olive oil dressing from scratch, but other than that I've been liking it.
Thanks so much for this article! I find in my house it's not that my husband is unwilling to help (and if I write in "B cooks" on the meal plan he jumps right in) but that diet culture has made me such a freak about food that I can't give up the control. All those hours of planning, listing, and cooking to make sure the olive oil is correctly measured are yet another way I've let food rule my life. Sigh.
Oh, bless your heart. My inconvenient Indian place changed to staying open all afternoon because of the pandemic! Perhaps yours will come to their senses one day.
I used to be the meal planner, but I quit in 2018 or so - the emotional labor was just too much. Not long after that I found out I’m allergic to dairy, too, plus the wheat allergy I already knew about. The only food I can get my husband and kid to eat with me now is bacon, lol/sob.
Ooh Mealime, please let me rename your app for you, I'm begging you
Ok, I love to meal plan, but I will start by saying that I’m a mom of a teenage daughter - which presents its own set of challenges! I plan out my dinner menus so that I (hopefully) have leftovers for lunchtime (this was crucial during the pandemic). As much as I love grocery shopping on a leisurely schedule, that’s not realistic to do daily; most of the rationale I use for meal planning is to save me from grocery shopping daily. So I do plan out family dinners based on when I can shop, when we’ll be home for dinner (vs running from sports practices to other commitments), and when I know I’ll need to have leftovers available. From there, I make lists, etc…it’s a process that I enjoy (most days), but I understand I *may* be in the minority here!