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Before I was pregnant, before I understood how family life worked, I thought mealtimes with children would be the way they are in films. You know. Everyone sitting around, laughing.

They’re not!

At least they’re not here…

One child will love something, one won’t have an opinion, one will hate it. One will announce (usually as I’m plating up) that they’ve changed their mind about something since the last time we ate it. Our menu is getting increasingly smaller and smaller as meals are rejected out of hand. Munchkin would prefer pasta every night; either with pesto or Marmite.

I find meal planning THE most unfulfilling task. It leaves me feeling like I’m failing. That I’m a terrible mother. Because I know that whatever I do, someone will be unhappy. And even when I try EXTRA hard it still ends up going pear shaped… the best laid plans and all that.

Take today, for instance. Teen 1 hasn’t been eating with us this week; he was invited to eat at his girlfriend’s one night, another evening he had the opportunity to go to a gig so I cooked an early meal for him and last night he wolfed his dinner down as he was shooting off to work. So, as he was going to be sitting down with us tonight, I asked him what meal he would like. The conversation went like this:

Me: What would you like for dinner tonight?

Teen 1: Hmm, pie please.

See? That seems fairly straight forward, doesn’t it. So I went to buy pies. And following the ‘rule’ above, Teen 1 LOVES pie, Teen 2 and Tween could take it or leave it whilst Munchkin despises pie.

When we got back from the school run I set about making a start. I turned the oven on, popped the pies in, started prepping veg and organising the cutlery, when Teen 1 came in to the kitchen to tell me that he was leaving as he’d just been invited out for dinner.

Then he left!

(By the way, Teen 2 announced that he hated these pies which meant that Tween ate three pies whilst Munchkin licked the pastry and left the table…)