A few days ago, my husband remarked that we never eat out anymore.
He said it matter of factually, in response to me noting that we are running out of most of our usually well stocked spices. He was not complaining. In fact, he followed it up with a compliment to my cooking. That is a compliment I will take, for sure.
Cooking at home, every night is something I mostly enjoy. The idea of making a meal for my family gives me great pleasure. Being a mostly stay at home mom is a luxury I do not take for granted for one second. Cooking falls under my jurisdiction as such. However, like every other job in the world, there is stress. Less so now that my kids are not home all the time and I don't have to entertain them and expand their minds 24/7 as I did when they were toddlers and preschoolers. Instead my stresses are managing a household, making sure everyone is where they need to be and keeping the darn kids fed and clothed. Coming up with creative and healthy dinners is sometimes overwhelmingly boring sometimes. I feel like I have "planning block" and thus the stress.
Cooking requires planning, shopping, schlepping, and of course, actual prep and cooking. I had a conversation with my sister's mother in law during Thanksgiving dinner about how much the real cost of a meal is. She was a stay at home mom for almost 20 years and now is a high powered exec at Xerox. She talked about the time involved in cooking a meal that takes 15 minutes to eat. Depressing, for sure. I think it takes bout 3 hours to make dinner taking into consideration the planning all the way to washing the dishes. If you add that time to the monetary cost of the actual food, cooking is not that cost effective.
However, if you factor in the benefits, the scales tips the opposite direction.
Cooking and eating at home allows for control over what my family eats. We eat as much organic and hormone free local food as possible. I keep fats to a bare minimum as well as chemicals, additives and preservatives. My kids are healthy, have normal weights in an obese society and as I have said before, have avoided the teenage acne for the most part.
As a full time job with benefits does not seem to be in the cards for me right not, I will continue to focus on the positive of our sacrifice. I am the pressure valve (and sometimes the pressure cause) of my family. I try to have a clean, comfortable, happy place for everyone to come home to from the stresses of work and school. Clothes are clean and dinner is made. We are safe, even for a short time, from the insanity of the world. That is my motivation.