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Bad Mom Advice: Cooking Can Suck It And Only Jerks Have Sleepovers For 6-Year-Olds

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largeWelcome to my weekly Bad Mom Advice column where I attempt to answer all of your parenting questions as only I know how — with zero degree in early childhood development, but with the experience of raising four kids and not having any of them in prison – yet! Plus, I back all my advice on numerous scientific research, which may or may not include me making fun of your dumb kid behind your back and drinking a bunch of wine! Welcome to Bad Mom Advice!

I am at the point where I hate cooking. I hate it. I hate thinking of what to make. I hate grocery shopping. I hate all of it. But I can’t feed my family pizza and McDonald’s every night. Any ideas? I am feeding 4 people, one of them is 17. 

I love your hate and how much you hate and yay for your hate! Grocery shopping is the worst. It can be the most boring, thankless task ever, especially when you have to unload and put stuff away all by yourself. This is why you need to do your shopping when people are home to help you. Everyone eats, they all need to help you plan and make lists and shop and put away. You are not some magical grocery goddess.

Your 17-year-old is more than capable of reading recipes and cooking dinner on occasion. Teens need to learn how to cook so you don’t unleash them into the world with only knowing how to make Ramen. Bookmark some recipe websites for your kid (I like Smittenkitchen.com and Epicurious) and let them choose a few simple recipes to try out. This recipe is genius because anyone can make it and the results are always perfect.

Try and make things in bulk when you can and freeze them, which will save you the hassle of recreating an entire meal from scratch when you just don’t feel like cooking. And not every meal has to be an actual meal, plan for nights when you can just have fruit and cheese and bread and a really lovely wine to go along with it. Serve cold cereal on occasion. Use your grill when possible.  Make the entire family cook meals together. Put on loud music and make everyone help with the chopping and cooking and clean-up.

It’s normal to get burnt out on cooking, it happens to me quite a bit, but it sounds to me you are mainly more resentful that the other people who shove food into their food holes aren’t helping you more. Sit down with them, hand them each a cookbook or the latest issue of Food and Wine, and tell them that they are each responsible for picking out meals they want to help shop for and prepare. And if they don’t help, give them a loaf of bread and some processed cheese slices and go take yourself out for some nice Thai food. In the meantime, I bet our lovely readers will come up with their favorite cooking tricks and easy meal recipes so I don’t have to do any work here.

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