Brooke Layout

October 22, 2012

Meal Planning and Keeping Score

Alright, friends. Let's take a break from the heavy posts. Today we're going to talk about a big fight that J-dubs and I had. Yes. Really.

Our marriage is like most least I think so... We have both assumed roles based on our specific skill set and talents. For example: J-dubs enjoys mowing and keeping our yard nice is important to him, so he is the primary mower in our house. I enjoy cooking and having good things to eat is important to me, so I am the primary food maker in our house. That is not to say that I never mow or J-dubs never cooks. It's just that our lives have settled into easy patterns based on what is important to us.

Cue fight.

We got in one of those knock down, drag out fights that starts with something seemingly small (what to eat for dinner) and ends up ballooning into something completely unrelated (who does what around the house). I just want to defend us by saying that Manda was SUPER tired that day and it was Friday night and she hadn't been fed and J-dubs had just received a letter in the mail saying there was a warrant for his arrest. That was not going to go well for anyone.

The "discussion" that followed was really eye opening for both of us. We try so hard not to keep score and give ourselves a tally mark for every chore that we do, but we both do it. It's hard for both of us not to feel like we deserve more pats on the back and recognition for our contribution. I guess that means both of us need to get better at being appreciative of the other persons' efforts. Marriage = Learning, folks.

What we discovered was that J-dubs does most of the tangible jobs and I do a lot of intangible things. J-dubs is the lawn mower, the dish washer, the dog feeder, the lunch packer, the practical guy. I am the grocery shopper, the meal planner, the budget watcher, the scheduler, the planning girl. Both jobs are equally important and equally exhausting, but they are very different. As a result of our "discussion", I am going to chip in more around the house with our everyday chores and be more appreciative of the things J-dubs takes care of for our house and he agreed to help me meal plan this month in order to get a better idea of what kind of effort it takes to make sure that our family is fed (including having the supplies for grilled cheese and tater tots on hand for his eating pleasure).

So that's what we did this weekend. J-dubs sat down with me and I walked him through the step by step process that I use to choose our meals for a week or two. This includes sorting through recipes (including the ones I've pinned on Pinterest), keeping a mental record of what food we already have on hand that HAS to be used, planning a meal or two that we like and/or are craving, having a knowledge of what spices and elements I have on hand that won't need to be purchased, being conscious of what budget I have to work with, and keeping track so that we don't end up eating a bunch of Mexican meals in a row. Needless to say, he was overwhelmed and impressed right off the bat. His eyes were opened to the world of my female brain. In the heat of anger I had used the phrase "It's not like the food fairy comes and magically makes sandwich fix-ins appear in the cabinet for you to pack in our lunches!"... which was not so nice, but J-dubs didn't understand (until I explained it to him) just how much effort goes in to making sure we have good food available. I'm sure this is not true for everyone, but it's a complicated process for me. I put a lot of effort into our meals.

He was a great sport and helped me pick a few new recipes to try. He patiently listened to me as I verbalized all of my internal thought processes and explained why I do the things I do and how I formulate a plan for the week. Then he and I went to the store together. It was a great bonding experience and one that really helped him understand how much I care about providing for him in this way. I love being married to J-dubs for so many reasons, but his willingness to learn and change is a true asset. He has never shied away from an opportunity to grow and improve, which has humbled my stubborn heart on many occasions. I know this will not be the last of our chore battles, but at least we learned something... and Marriage = Learning.

And just in case you're wondering, this is what we're having for dinner this week:
Long Boy Burgers
Chicken Tortilla Soup*
Ham and Cheese Bow Ties
Buffalo Chicken Salads (my own recipe... I'll fill you in soon)

*We actually made this yesterday and I didn't think that it tasted so great. It was SWEET. I don't know where I went wrong, but I'm going to have to change something next time. Jay, on the other hand, loved it. He will be in charge of eating all of the leftovers.


heart of stone said...

it's awesome that ya'll got to take a walk in eachother's shoes...and live to tell the tale ;)

Adrienne said...

I think it's great you two are working together on this. Personally, I don't let B know what goes into the food I'm cooking so he'll eat it, and we're usually fairly happy to keep our rolls in the household, helping each other where we can and have the ability to.