I am finding it increasingly difficult to continue cooking dinner for these chuckleheads who call me Mom.
Tonight's dinner has earned me an approval rating of 12%, which is close to, but not, the all-time low. I made Salad Capriciosa from Rachel Ray's cookbook "365:No Repeats." This one for sure is not going to be repeated.
In case you're wondering, here's how the Approval Rates get calculated:
I have 5 constituents who each contribute up to 20 percent, with a possible total of 100% Approval. I don't count myself, because just like the President, I automatically approve of anything I do. (Although there's a chance that Pres. Bush was counting himself towards the end there, since his approval ratings were about as low as mine.)
If the constituent eats the dinner, he can rate it on a scale of one to ten. Then I double that number, and add it to the rest of the family's scores in order to get the Approval Rate.
For example, here's the scoring breakdown from tonight's dinner.
Darcey - threw a tantrum for undisclosed reasons, watched Blue's Clues instead of eating - 0 points
Zack - ate one piece of lettuce and one very small slice of bread, announced he was "full" and went to play outside - 0 points
Noah - moved the dinner table while I was pouring Zack a cup of milk, causing me to pour it on the table, after being told not to move the table; when asked to clean up the spill, yelled "I'm not eating!" and stormed outside - 0 points
Brad - initially "wasn't hungry" (could see friends waiting outside - coincidence?? Yeah right.) Ate several bites, rearranged food on plate to appear emptier, gave the meal a 5 but dropped it to a 3 when I said he didn't have to worry about hurting my feelings - 6 points
Ryan - ate his entire bowl, said he liked it but found the dressing to be too sour (which I agree with), also gave it a 3 - 6 points.
Grand Total - 12 points, for a 12% Approval Rating.
If there had been scintillating conversation during the failed meal, I wouldn't count this a failure at all. But 3 out of 4 children were screaming/sulking/crying before they even took one bite, and then scattered. We've lost control of something here, and I'm not sure what's wrong. I feel like, in order to be a "good mom" or to "do my job" properly, I need to cook good food. For me, that means to make food that tastes good, that's moderately healthy, and above all, that they'll eat. I can hit two of these, but not all three.
A couple of years ago, I actually went to a psychologist to ask specifically how to get Noah to eat his dinner. What I was told was that the conflict was not about Noah eating, but about me taking it personally that Noah was not doing what I wanted. Well, it's been almost two years and I still can't seem to detach myself. If my kids eat fish sticks and mac n cheese from a box for dinner every night, then YES, I do think that reflects poorly on me as a mother. I DO take it personally. It's my job to make these kids dinner, and if they consistently refuse to eat what I've cooked, it becomes personal. Seriously, if you worked at a job and your boss hated every memo you wrote, or thought every report you turned in was crap, you wouldn't put up with it. If every idea you volunteered at a meeting was met with groans and whines about "I HATE that idea! We had that idea last week and I don't want it again! Do we have to have that idea?" you'd quit. (Okay, I don't know if that translated too well to the business world, but you get the idea.)
Mothers have completely rotten working conditions. Someone needs to report my children to OSHA. Or maybe us mothers should form a union, then we could go on strike. They couldn't pay someone enough to break our picket lines and do our jobs! The laundry would pile up until the kids were covered in filth, they'd eat cold cereal for every meal, they'd never remember when it was their turn to bring the snack to preschool, they'd see just how difficult life is without us! Let them turn their noses up at our dinners, we'll see how they like it without us!
Clearly, I'm taking this wayyyy too personally, and it's possible that after a few deep breaths I can come up with a logical way to handle dinner time again. But the subversive side of me is sorely tempted by the idea of sticking it to the man, or the kid in this case. I think Mothers' Rights is a cause I can really get behind. And besides, walking a picket line with no kids around, that sounds like a vacation to me.