It is 5:15 and my kids walk into the kitchen and complain, "What? You haven't even started dinner yet?"
My family is spoiled. I did it! I have no one to blame but myself. Let me explain.
Twenty-one years ago, my husband and I decided that I would give up my first career and stay at home with our children. This is a decision I have never regretted, but there are times now when I question my routine in our family mealtime.
My husband grew up with home cooked meals, desserts made from scratch, and meals on the table at 5:15. I would not say he expected that of me. It is just what I did because I loved him. My family called me Betty Crocker because I baked all the time, and I wouldn't dare bake something from a box. I cooked every night except Friday. (That was pizza night from our first date and continues even today) My husband came home at 5:15, and I had dinner on the table ready to go. Even after I had my children, that was still our routine.
I have been working full time for seven years, and I still do most of those things. Although my husband has taken over the baking, I still cook most nights except Fridays, and the meals are usually ready by 5:15. I plan ahead and cook enough to last two nights. I still consider heating up leftovers and adding a vegetable cooking, because it is not eating out!
Would I call them expectations now? Absolutely...because they are spoiled. I catered to them all these years and now that is what they expect.
The past three weeks we have extended our school day by one hour to make up for some of the snow days we have had this winter. By the time all the students have been picked up, it is usually after 4:00. That gives me a little over an hour to get my room picked up and things ready for the next day. Needless to say, dinner hasn't been on the table by 5:15, and there have been a few nights when I have been too tired to cook.
Lucky for me, my family has been flexible and has adjusted to our new dinner time. I think they all have realized just how good they have had it all these years.
Now, I just give them "the look" and they turn around and wait until they hear me say, "Dinner is ready"...just a little later than usual.