So earlier this week I made a very simple soup for dinner along with fresh sourdough bread. You’d have thought I served chicken liver by the way my 4 and 6 years olds balked at it.
“I don’t like that,” he whined.
“That’s yucky,” she whined.
“Well, that’s what’s for dinner,” I replied.
I was pretty sure once they tasted it they would like it. Yes, it was a simple vegetable soup. But it was really well seasoned. And, it’s what’s for dinner.
The ‘It’s What’s for Dinner’ Rule
There was a time in my life when I made dinner for my kids and if they didn’t like it I let them have a peanut butter sandwich. That was many kids ago. Now, dinner is served and you may eat it now while it is hot or you may have it for breakfast, cold.
Why so strict?
Because seriously, with 7 kids to feed and a husband who may get called out to an emergency at any minute, I don’t have time for multiple meals. As it is I prepare breakfast for 9, lunch for 8, dinner for 9 and snacks for 7 (two times a day, most days). That adds up to over 40 servings of food a day.
Sorry, but that’s as close as I get to being a restaurant owner. Here’s your food, take it or leave it. It’s what’s for dinner and no, there are no other options. If you were really hungry, you’d eat it.
Does She Really Mean It?
One of my kids tested me on this. One time. He didn’t want what I made for dinner. And he gave me quite a bit of lip about it. Called it pig food. Seriously?! Pig food?! It was what was for dinner though and the rule is, eat it now or have it for breakfast. So, I gave it to him for breakfast. He didn’t eat it. I gave it to him for snack. Then for lunch. It was mid afternoon before he ate it and then got something else he wanted.
So yes, I can be stubborn. But in this house you don’t get to insult the cook and what’s for dinner is what’s for dinner.
Want to start this in your house?
Here are a few things to consider:
- I rarely serve something that I know people really don’t like. If I do, I give that person a minimal amount. One of my kids really doesn’t like scrambled eggs. When we have eggs and sausage for dinner, he gets about 2 tablespoons of eggs and some extra sausage. I also schedule some things depending on who is or isn’t home. My oldest son ate meatballs twice when the stomach flu was going through town and got sick both times. To this day, he refuses to eat meatballs. I know it’s in his head, but he really doesn’t want to eat them and I just schedule them when he isn’t home. (Plus, I totally understand. My entire family got sick from eating trout when I was about 6. We all puked for 3 days. I don’t eat fish. And yes, I know it is all in my head.)
- Be reasonable. That same child who doesn’t like eggs would really rather eat all sausage and no eggs. With 7 kids in the house, giving one kid just sausage means others won’t get much. We have to share. I gave him a little more sausage with his eggs, but if he wanted more than that, he had to wait until everyone else was satisfied.
- Be willing to compromise. If I made the sausage and mixed the eggs into the sausage in the pan, that poor child would have been miserable. It’s not much trouble to make them separately. I compromise with him: I’ll make them separately, you want them without whining.
That’s how this mama handles food. I do serve new items now and again (especially since starting the Trim Healthy Mama way) and you need to try it. If you don’t love it, tell me so politely. That being said, dinner is served. Eat it now while it is hot, or eat it later, cold.
By the way, this family policy has definitely opened the door for other conversations such as “Yup, life is unfair. You should be glad about that.”