The 3 0’clock Dinner Panic


Whats_for_DinnerSeventeen thousand is a large number no matter what you attach to it, whether it be a dollar sign, a professional achievement, like logging 17,000 hours in something super important, or an adventure, like running 17,000 miles in a lifetime.  Generally one would be in awe if they heard anything with that number attached to it.  Unless you are me, and for me that number was my breaking point.

Let me start with a little story.  You see 15 years ago when we had children, I became the do-er of all things domestic in addition to my career.  Today as I was taking a break from procrastinating on a presentation due at work, I stood helpless in my kitchen pacing back and forth from the refrigerator to the pantry drawing a complete blank on what to feed my family for dinner.  When my mind began to wander… Why is it so hard to think of what to make? and I wonder how many meals I’ve cooked?

At this point I thought why not add insult to injury, and I pulled out the trusty cell phone calculator to do the math.  The equation was simple.  Essentially, I have been the primary grocery shopper, meal planner, nutritional expert, chef, wait staff and housekeeping function of three meals a day for 15 years which equals nearly 17,000 meals!

This little activity was like pushing the first domino in a long string of tiles.  Once the first was pushed (as in adding up the number) I started to realize that 17,000 meals did not include all the snacks, holidays feasts, road trips, soccer team snacks,  or “100 days of school” classroom treats needed.  It also failed to cover  the twelve months of breastfeeding every four hours for which I also had to produce the food WITHIN MY OWN BODY, nor did it include the additional time and food needed to feed two teenagers (because with teenagers, snacks become meals and meals become all you can eat buffets.)   So best I can guesstimate I, like most of you, have logged somewhere near a million (give or take)  meals in a 15 year period.

So, I decided to just not.  Just not figure out dinner tonight.  I feel liberated, like I’m taking  a stand for all of you parents who are sitting there, feeling slightly panicked,  counting down the clock to dinner time.  Join me in having a night of just not.  A million and one meals can start another day.

P.S.  thank you for allowing me to continue procrastinating on my presentation by joining me on my little rant.  Now, if you’ll excuse me I need to go finish up some work.  Actually, I wonder how many work emails I’ve had to answer in the past 15 years……

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Kara Vanderpool Ward is owner of Triple V Enterprises where she works daily along side her father, affectionately dubbed the Suit, and her brother, The Hoodie. She is the creator of the series with the same name, The Suit, The Hoodie and The Skirt, Third and Hyphen, Care-giving Sucks, as well as two kids and last nights dinner. She is the United States Winner of the Hot Momma’s Project, the worlds largest case study project for women housed at George Washington University, and the Patricia Lacy Metzger Distinguished Woman Award from The University of Mary Washington. She lives in Charlottesville, VA with her husband, two daughters and is caregiver to her 88 year old grandmother.


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