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Busy Schedules Make for Tough Summertime Meals

How do you plan your family life during hectic sports seasons and other busy times of year?

Ok, I’ll admit it. I sat down at my computer to write this week’s Life in the Mom Lane and I was stuck. I had a few ideas in my head but, reality is, I needed a little help from my friends. 

As I have done a number of times in the past I decided that it was time for a quick “Mom Poll” and the overwhelming winner of the hot mom topic award was summertime schedules and the havoc that they tend to wreak on home cooked meals.

Let’s face the facts. Summertime is the busiest season of the year. Whether it’s because of camps, trips to the beach, sports or vacation fun summertime activities have a way of taking our normal schedules and turning them completely upside down. Days are longer, sunshine is brighter and, reality is, settling down in front of the stove doesn’t always sound like a good time.

Those of you who know me realize that I am a three meals a day, healthy food, home cooked meals kind of a mom. I truly do strive all year to make healthy meals and avoid takeout at all costs. Am I perfect? Absolutely not and, frankly, as the summer goes by it gets harder and harder to measure up to my “ideal” image of what a family dinner should be.

Reality here in the MacKenzie house is a simple one. Spring and early summer means baseball and as of August 1 football practice begins. Fact of the matter is that once the spring/summer/fall sports season comes to life things will not be the same for a long time to come. 

Baseball schedules vary in the spring and early summer and, in the late summer football practice begins around 5:30 p.m. and takes place four nights a week. Honestly, what it really means is that my life as mom is completely devoted to youth sports and that everything else is secondary. 

So where, exactly does this leave dinner? Well, here in the MacKenzie household, we call it the early bird special. Dinner is, oftentimes, at 4 p.m. and generally consists of something simple as we run out the door for the next event.

Of course, as a freelance writer, I’m able to plan dinner early but sadly, that isn’t always the case for so for many of the moms who work out of their homes on a set schedule. For them dinner can be anything they can manage and, as my friend Jackie mentioned “Mac and Cheese” starts sounding like a home cooked meal.

Trust me, as a sports mom I truly do understand the drill. I suppose the biggest question is whether or not snack shack pizza really qualifies as dinner four nights a week?

Well, I suppose, as moms, the most important thing isn’t where and when we feed our kids but that we, as parents, are there to support all that they do each and every day.

Yes, nutrition and good health are, undeniably important but so are dedication and commitment. In my eyes balance is key and, yes, sometimes that means sacrificing a few standards for dinner on the run.

Bernie McNally July 24, 2012 at 06:29 PM
The slow cooker ( or as of children of the 70's called it, the crock pot) becomes the busy familie's best friend during these times, especially good for chili and sauce and meatballs. Also getting a Harrow's chicken pot pie hot and ready from them is another great option.
Katie Smith July 24, 2012 at 06:40 PM
Thanks for posting this!! I too am a busy mom with a child in lots of different activities. I've been blogging about my journey with freezer meals and cooking ahead. Glad to know that I'm not the only one! Katie Smith (www.busymeals.org)
webmom July 24, 2012 at 07:08 PM
We have breakfast for dinner at least 3x/week during the busy season.
Jamee Tenzer, PCC July 26, 2012 at 11:15 PM
Thank you for your honesty... you are a real mother - supporting your kids day in and day out - how lucky they are to have you... and too much pizza doesn't sound all that bad. Thank you for sharing:) Jamee Tenzer, shesarealmother.com
Sheila Duggan Chabot July 27, 2012 at 01:43 AM
I agree with Jamee....thank you for your honesty. It's so hard to juggle it all!

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