Planning is exhausting. Well, no. Planning is annoying and execution is exhausting. Yes.
I have always tried to plan my meals ahead of time so I can be organized at the store and really aware of how we are eating as a family. I have also had a lot of time to do this as a stay at home mom. I could even accomplish it while walking into walls with no sleep because I had all day to find the time. Once I became a working mom, the whole feat is not so smooth. 8 hours out of the house plus running a kid here or there is a huge chunk missing from my usual organized day. Along with the time, a lot of my patience has gone to the children I see all day- students- leaving me with less grace for my own children who are also tired from their long day being respectful to an adult other than me.
I can see why it is easy to do nuggets 3 nights a week. My first day of work we went out for pizza because I forgot to defrost something. We called it "Back to School Pizza Night". Missing an ingredient becomes the worst thing that has EVER happened to me because I didn't catch it at 1pm, but at 5:15. (WORSTEST!!! Especially when it is something like "chicken" rather than "lemon"... and my nearest store is...oh my god let's get pizza.)
SO this is what I have done. This is what I am attempting for the 1 month I have been guaranteed a position at our elementary school. I have planned a month worth of meals. Then with the ingredients listed out I have created 4 shopping lists to correspond with the weeks' meals. So one calendar, 4 lists with room to add weekly needs, and a dream that this can become second nature if I end up working the whole year. Or even if I don't.
I don't know if I would be considered anal. I am organized to a point, and am at my most organized in this month, September, stemming back to nearly my entire life in school. I don't know if this is going to really work for more than maybe 2 months, but I am going to try and believe in it. I don't want to go the easy route too often with our dinner meals because I know there is a connection there to unhealthy eating. I have invested 10 years in what I put into myself and the kids to try and build taste buds, healthy bones, and a good relationship with food. I know just how easy it is to let that fall aside first. I don't want to just boil water for pasta. I don't want to get freezer burn while putting together my meal. Not every day. (I mean, holla! to Trader Joe's frozen mac and Perdue's dino shaped nugs. I will do a threesome with you guys weekly!)
I am in awe of every family with 2 working parents or a single working mother who can keep this up and it. has. been. a. mere. week. for. me. I will be honest. I just erased a chicken dish (a yummy garlic cheddar chicken) and replaced it with the word "McDinner". There goes a take out night during the weekend because that Monday is insane and the insanity begins at 4:30pm when I would get home just before 4 from work. So, high-five me Grimace and Hamburglar- you are getting it done for me. Apple slices for everyone (because I will have eaten all the fries on the drive home. Deal with it.)
Check back on me if I forget to get back to you all on how it is working out.