I have that *tired* look. You know the one. I'm going on months of an empty fuel tank here. Having an infant, two kids, a husband and a job is no joke. Lucky for me, I have always been able to function pretty well with very little sleep, or with interrupted sleep. Unfortunately, my brain hasn't sent the message to my face.
My mom slogs through traffic once a week to come spend time with my kids – a treat for all of us! Last week I guess I looked particularly exhausted and she suggested that we go out to dinner and not deal with the mess of cooking and serving dinner with kids. "I can't," I told her. "It's more stressful to deal with the unknowns of the restaurant." Anyone who has kids under a certain age knows what I'm talking about. My son doesn't like cheese or anything with a crust. My daughter loves cheese, likes crust but really just wants to read her books. My infant sometimes has incredibly loud crying fits as she's trying to settle down for a nap. My older two sometimes get along famously and sometimes scream at each other at the top of their lungs. Sometimes it's hard to tell those two things apart. Something spills at least once a day in my house (today it was applesauce for my son and yogurt for my daughter). This is where we are now and I accept it wholeheartedly at home. And while I'd love to be able to casually saunter into a restaurant with my brood and not get stressed out when my kids act, well, age appropriately, it's easier for me to shrug it off at the beginning of the day than at the end of it. (Brunch is surely designed for families!) Funny enough, my kids are pretty mellow. But parenting is hard nonetheless.
I loved this article in The Motherlode about well-behaved kids and restaurants. Would a discount encourage me to "train" my kids to be better behaved in a restaurant? No. It's not that I'm some lazy parent who is abandoning all responsibility. It's that my kids are young. I think life would be a lot harder if I expected them to act like soldiers. It would certainly cause my face to look even more tired, which is totally unacceptable. I'm trying my best here.
So I cooked at home. I'm roasting everything in the oven these days and this roasted purple cabbage was an experiment - one that went over big with both of my kids. Look at that amazing purple color! It was paired with roasted sweet potato "chips" and roasted chicken drumsticks (with the potato peel and the chicken skin removed for my "crust"-averse son). Here's my point: if you're tired and you need a break but the thought of going out to eat doesn't really sound like a break, look in your fridge, slice what you've got, drizzle with olive oil and roast at 375. You won't go wrong. Time passes and kids grow into different phases. For now, accept where you are and make the best of it. May the force be with you.