Dinner Makeover: I Need Ideas for Quick Dinners
Conflicting (and exhausting) schedules make it impossible for this family to sit down to dinner together. Here, Real Simple helps one overextended mom take back dinnertime.
Katie Rehmert, 42
You can’t blame Katie, a stay-at-home mother of two, for feeling “totally spent” by 5 o’clock. On an average day, when she’s not shuttling Chloe, 5, and Jonathan, 3, to playdates and dance class, she’s visiting her mother, who has been hospitalized for complications from breast cancer and a broken pelvis. This hectic schedule has taken a toll, which is particularly apparent come dinnertime. Most nights the kids eat hot dogs, ramen noodles, or fast food, while Katie picks off their plates. Her husband, Ian, 38, is left to fend for himself when he gets home at eight from his bank job. “Ian doesn’t complain,” says Katie. “He worries about whether I’m eating. But I would feel better if I could at least leave him a plate to heat up.” Katie doesn’t lack for space. Her kitchen is large—but it’s disorganized. “I can never find anything,” she says. Tools and equipment are stashed willy-nilly, so that making even a grilled cheese sandwich feels like a major undertaking. “All I would like is to sit down once in a while to a home-cooked meal with Ian when he gets home,” she says. “But given the way things are in my life, that feels impossible.”