Back to work

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Going back to work after kids is a necessary evil for a lot of moms. Either financially, or for career reasons we get pulled back into the workforce. Sometimes kicking and screaming, and sometimes secretly a little grateful for the break. For me I had always known I would return, just not how. Too much in student debt and a love for my job just can’t be argued with. Initially, I wanted to return only part time but when I found out this wasn’t possible I tried to put on my big girl panties and prepare for going back. I still hated the idea of leaving the kids full time but had limited options.

The biggest fear for me was my hubbers away status. It was one thing for me to be on my own with the kids but to take on a full time job and solo parent for ¾’s of the month felt a little nuts. We had talked about all sorts of options from finding a different job to him being a stay at home dad once he was laid off for the winter. In the end it all became moot because my husband has magical powers and the universe appears to favour him. While on our holiday in Newfoundland, right before I returned to work and out in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, he got a phone call asking him to start a local job.

Having him home was so relieving that the idea of going back didn’t seem like the worst thing in the world until the night before I started. All of a sudden the enormity of leaving my kids five days a week crashed over me and I was heartbroken. I felt like the worst mother on the planet and spent the night in tears. The morning came and I packed up the kids trying to cover up the worst of my puffy face. Daycare went easier then expected (only a brief cry post drop off), next came the surreal to walk back into my office. It somehow felt like a whole year had passed and also somehow just yesterday. My coworkers are the same, the routine was similar and I felt myself start to slip into the spaces I need to fill.

Coming home is the hardest part so far. It feels like chaos trying to get bottles into Roo, supper on the table, the dog walked, children cleaned and bathed, lunches packed, bedtimes and laundry. I’m assuming some sort of routine will gradually emerge, at least I really hope so. Until then I’m sure things will continue to feel a little silly. One of us will pass out while singing lullabies to D, supper will be late because someone forgot to take out the chicken and the there is a 50% chance one of our children will wear the same clothes as yesterday because it’s the first thing we find.

That said dinners have worked pretty well, (other than forgetting to take the chicken out of the freezer). Here’s what I’ve made this week:

Monday

Breakfast – Cereal and peaches
There is a good chance you’ll see this one a lot. Creativity does not come to sleepy brains.

Lunch – Leftovers from the weekend, fruit

Supper – Chicken tacos
Since the chicken was still mostly frozen I chopped it fairly small and added chili powder, cumin, lime juice and salt as well as a little water. Quick cooking and tasty:) Served with whole wheat tortillas, cilantro, lettuce, peppers, chopped tomatoes, cheese, plain yogurt and hotsauce.

Tuesday

Breakfast – Cereal and Blueberries
See, there it is again

Lunch – Crackers and cheese, fruit and veggies, leftovers made into a salad for the grownups

Supper – Green Bean Carbonara
I had a tonne of green beans from our garden. So this was a great use for them. I have the recipe on my facebook page and just substituted chopped green beans for the peas. I did steam them on top of the boiling pasta water for a few minutes before adding them to the pan.

Wednesday

Breakfast – Cereal and peaches
Tried tested and true

Lunch – PB sandwiches, fruit and veggies and crackers for the kids and ham sandwiches for the bigguns

Supper – Tuna Pizza
I turned tuna melts into a pizza by using a whole wheat crust and spreading my tuna, mayo and pickle mixture over. Sprinkled on some cheese and finished with diced tomatoes. I baked it at 400F for 15 minutes, until the cheese was bubbly.

Thursday

Breakfast – Oatmeal with blueberries
Almost out of peaches

Lunch – Bagel sandwiches, fruit and veggies

Supper – Gnocci, Italian sausage and sautéed veggies
I sautéed yellow squash from my garden, a yellow pepper, tomatoes and kale. Then add pesto and sliced, cooked Italian sausage and some left over goat’s cheese I had. Feta would also be good. I boiled the gnocchi to package instructions then mixed his with the veggie and sausages.

Friday

Breakfast – Eggs and toast
I took Friday off this week so we get to enjoy a yummy weekend breakfast

Lunch – Snacks on the beach
We went for a walk at Piper’s Lagoon so had munchies things for little hands: mini cucumbers, bunny crackers, juice boxes, apple slices and granola bars.

Supper – Yogurt Marinated Chuck steak
Chuck is a cheap cut that requires a little finessing. I made a marinade of onions, plain yogurt, garlic, red wine vinegar, salt, curry powder, cumin and parsley and let the meat rest for a few hours in that. A quick grill on the BBQ to medium at most kept the meat tender and flavourful. Served on flat bread with diced cucumbers and tomatoes and some of the marinade that I never used it was delicious! (Never use a marinade that has had meat in it as a sauce unless you bring it to a sufficient temperature to kill of bacteria)

Saturday

Breakfast – Toast and Peanut butter with peaches
Sad to say that is the last of the fresh peaches I had from Osoyoos. Thankfully my mom canned a bunch so we’ll open those this winter

Lunch – Quesadillas with guacamole
Super simple cheese in a large tortilla folded in half. The guac is one ripe avocado mashed with a little plain yogurt, lime and some chopped cilantro.

Supper – Modern Café
I needed a break after my first week so we headed to Nanaimo for a delicious supper at Modern Café and then a walk on the seawall were my son practiced riding his new balance bike that I scored second hand!

Sunday

Breakfast – Chocolate Chip Pancakes
Daddy and Little D cooked up a tasty batch for us all. LOVE!!!!

Lunch – Hiking snacks
We went for a long walk and exploration around Newcastle Island, which is an amazing park. I packed watermelon, plums, apples, chocolate zucchini muffins, bagels and cream cheese, mini cucumbers and granola bars to sustain us and give us easy treats along the trail.

Supper – Burgers
After the 10.5 K trail a delicious burger was required. Hunger and a hike are definitely the best sauce. This was definitely a last summer hoorah before back to eating in and staying on budget;)

Well that’s how I fed my family for a week. Hope i gave you some ideas and made feeding your family seem just a little easier. You can also find me on Facebook @ www.facebook.com/myweeklydish

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