Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Proper Care & Feeding of (Multiple) Husbands

This post is more of a "how-to" than anything.  But if you're working on a poly family dynamic and this helps, I'm glad!

As we work together to create a poly house, we are starting to come up against some struggles that I knew were coming, but wasn't really prepared for.  With three adults, there are suddenly about twice as many dishes to do every day.  My grocery expectations have been adjusted not once, not twice, but three times.  Keeping up with general housework has become an incredible challenge with the additional foot traffic and clutter.  Along with the physcial clutter is mental clutter.  We each have work stress we need to deal with, we each need our alone time, and some time with our partner, every day.  We each want kid time, too.  Finding time for it all is extremely difficult.  There are times I need to stop and remind myself that this is what we want.  We want a house full of the people we love.  We all want to come home to each other at the end of the day.  But the insanity of it all can sometimes overwhelm me.  

I like to take care of my men.  I like to try to keep their laundry done and the house in at least a general state of order so that when they do find a moment to help with household tasks, they aren't overwhelmed from the start.  The Mister and the Libertine take turns doing the dishes, and they also try to help the boys pick up toys and miscellaneous stuff throughout the house.  I ask them to help when they can.  I try not to get angry when they don't, I try to simply keep my thoughts in my head and do what needs doing.  I don't always succeed, but I try.

I work outside the house, so getting dinner on the table has become something of an art for me.  Two nights a week I'm not even home at dinnertime.  I try to make sure my family has something substantial to eat, no matter if I'm home or not.  The Mister doesn't really cook, and one night a week he and the kids get their favorite "Mom's not home" dinner - mac & cheese and hot dogs.  The rest of the week we try to get an actual dinner on the table.  

A lot of prep work goes into this whole dinner thing.  This past weekend, while we were playing with the Princess and the boys, I cooked my ass off.  I made lasagna in the biggest turkey roaster I own, I made a triple batch of white chili, I made muffins to freeze for quick breakfasts, I made meatballs (so. many. meatballs.), and I made cake and frosting for the Princess's birthday.  Today I'm going to prep chicken for fajitas, for fried rice, and for salads.  Oh, and I'm going to make chicken tenders.

The idea comes from Once a Month Cooking, but I only do it for a two week span because I only have a small freezer.  We realized after this weekend that we're going to have to budget for a chest freezer in the next month or so.  

The idea is this.  All of this stuff is basically ready to go.  The Mister is usually home with the kids in the afternoon because he works third shift, and the Libertine usually gets home before me anyway.  All they need to do is reheat whatever is for dinner that night, and prep the side dish.  Let's say we're having chicken fajitas.  I'll take the chicken out of the freezer in the morning and leave it in the fridge.  The Mister or the Libertine just has to reheat it in a frying pan (the veggies are already frozen in with the chicken), and then prep cheese, tortillas, beans, or whatever.  One of them will usually make a batch of rice so I can throw a quick Spanish rice together when I walk in the door.  Lots of what I pre-freeze is crockpot ready, like the meatballs.  If you didn't know, a meatball is one versatile little dish!  

Cooking like this sounds expensive, and it can be if you don't plan carefully.  I try to stock up on meat when it goes on sale, and I try to keep things simple so that I'm not making really complicated dishes with a million ingredients.  If you can scratch cook, and you're a good planner, you can do this for less than you think.  

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