I have gone back to work after my maternity leave this week. I haven’t actually had to leave my baby for a whole day yet but I will have by the weekend 😦 . I’ve been lucky enough to have a very agreeable boss who has a lot of faith in me and has given me free rein to arrange my 16 hours a week (newly reduced from pre-maternity leave) however I like (provided I get the job done of course!). I am going to be doing a full day in the office and then the rest of the hours from home. This is almost unimaginable luxury for me. At the moment (and I know this will change as he gets older) my son naps during the day at very regular hours so I will be able to get some of my work done then and some in the evening. I’ve worked three hours today: one in the morning, one around lunchtime and one his evening. On one had it feels like I’m working all day. On the other hand it just feels great to be home with my bub and able to do the school run with my girlie on all but one day a week. What is does mean is that I am now essentially working in my so called down time that, until this week, I used for doing all of the housework, laundry, cooking, shopping and financial planning for a family of four! Which obviously I still have to do. I’ve been looking at some ways of doing this and one of them is to have ‘set’ meals on certain days of the week (I know many people do this with housework too).
Husband and I are vaguely doing the Fast Diet which means Mondays and Thursdays are our very low calorie days (supposedly! I’m not wildly motivated at the moment but that’s another post…) so the kiddos eat different food to us on those days, although we all still eat together. On Tuesdays Girlie has a swimming lesson after school and we don’t get in until 5pm, very hungry and very tired. I’ve decided that this is now ‘Soup and Garlic Bread’ night. Today, in between working and looking after Baby I made a GIANT pot of soup. It contained red onion, celery, sweet potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, parsnip, broccoli, herbs and chicken stock (just because I like the flavour). Packed full of goodness and then served with garlic bread (no, I didn’t make it) which makes it more filling and enticing (I know my crowd!). The soup was made beforehand and just needed to be warmed through while the garlic bread was in the oven so we had time to take shoes and coats off, empty school and swimming bags and then we were at the table eating dinner. We then had fruit and yogurt to follow. It was great and made life so much easier! I won’t generally be working (or working very much) on Wednesdays so I have allocated that as a good day to do a batch cook each week, with at least one family sized portion being frozen for another night. Although today was also a batch cook day as I made so much soup that we have enough for the next two Tuesdays!
We go out with a group of friends (for free or minimal cost such as a coffee etc) every Friday after school and also need a quick easy meal when we get in. This tends to be our ‘naughty’ night where we’ll have sausage or egg and chips or maybe a pizza. We didn’t used to do this but I don’t think once a week hurts and it is certainly cheaper than getting take out (which we haven’t done in ears tbh)! If we don’t have plans on a Sunday I usually make a roast dinner. It is always chicken! It is my favourite, I know how to cook it and have you seen the price of everything else?!
Recently I was looking at ways of trying to make meal planning, cooking etc easier and sitting down and working out our needs through the week made it really obvious what we need to have when. Now that Girlie is at school and is doing two activities (dance and swimming) and I am also back at work, our weeks have a clear pattern and so the meal planning is simple. We have easy or pre-cooked food on late nights or following busy days, more involved or complicated food on quieter days and food made in the morning for later that day when needed. I like to leave the weekends open to possibility but I seem to know what we’re doing during the week!
Does anyone else have a pattern to what they eat on certain days? Any tips for planning?