Hope you lovely folks have been enjoying food week and have gained a few useful bits of info to help you navigate the trials and tribulations of dinnertime. If however, you are still tearing your hair out at attempting to get your kids to eat anything other than party rings (that will be me) then here is a bit of light reading about mealtime battles from Rachel at Staying Sane As A Mummy Of Three to make you laugh. Maybe grab yourself a cuppa and an aforementioned party ring or two.

I love being a mummy. Genuinely love it with all my heart! There is not a day that goes by where I don’t have a little sentimental moment where I look at the three of them and think ‘chuffing hell, we made those!’ and well up with a mixture of bone crushing levels of love and pride. However, parenting also comes with some considerably less joyous bits, which can be quite frankly, a bit sucky!! Here is the first in a series of blogs on my least favourite bits of this crazy journey we call parenthood!

1. Food wastage and meal times in general!

If, like me you were raised in the 1980’s, there’s a strong possibility that you were forced to sit at your dining room table (probably surrounded by dado rails and peach floral fabrics) for hours on end until you’d eaten every last morsel of your spaghetti bolognaise. The reason given for this torture was because ‘there were children starving in the world!’

God I hated those hungry kids! They were bloody welcome to the last half of my pork chop- I’d happily have parceled it up and sent it over! But now I totally get it… I hate wasting food! And I realised I’d reached the pinnacle of being a mum when I angrily grumbled at my kids the other day that there were kids starving in the world as I scraped their untouched shepherds pie into the bin.

If you have never cooked for small children, the process goes something like this.

1. Declare that today is the day that we are going eat properly with actual fruit and vegetables and nothing that comes out of the freezer with a picture of a questionable but distinguished looking Sea Admiral on the front, a peppa pig motif on the can or a beige tinge to it!

2. Go to the shop, brave 46 tantrums over how many kinder eggs one child needs, buy aforementioned kinder eggs along with some hearty nutritious goodness and ponder why you never have any money while the kids paw over £45 worth of crap magazines and litter your car with plastic rubbish!

3. Spend an afternoon attempting to prepare said vegetables and hearty nutritious goodness while holding a baby on the hip and attempting to play ‘mummies and daddies’ at the same time (see blog on abhorrence of make believe games- Role Play? I’d rather not!)

4. Put nutritious hearty meal in the oven. Prepare to answer the question ‘is it ready yet?’ at least every 3 and a half minutes whilst reminding them that they are in fact ‘not starving’ and telling them that no ‘they cannot have another bloody kinder egg!’

5. Serve food up. Take care not to miss out the very important pre-stage of ascertaining exactly what colour/design plate they would like their food served on. Inevitably, you will put the food on the wrong plate, despite clarifying 48 times which plate met their exacting standards and will end up decanting food onto less offensive tableware a minimum of twice!

6. Call children to the table. They will arrive on the 65,874th time of being called. Be sure to ratchet up the pitch and volume of your call each time till you reach the point that only dogs can hear you.

7. Try hard not to swear when the children tell you that they do not in fact like carrots, sweetcorn, broccoli, chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy or the plates you’ve put it on. Yes they know they liked them yesterday but today they are horrified by the very existence of a chicken dinner and mortally offended that you would even consider putting such ‘horrible yucky poo poo dinner’ on a plate in front of them.

8. Spend an hour, negotiating, begging, pleading, bribing, blackmailing, threatening and deal making. By the end of this time, one of them will have eaten three kernels of sweetcorn. This is a monumental victory.

9. Rant hysterically about how long it’s taken you to prepare this meal and that there are ‘children starving in the world!’

10. Show where in the world said children live on the globe… Yes you’re cross but an educational opportunity is still valid!

11. Tell them that there is absolutely nothing else to eat in your most stern mummy voice! If they don’t eat the hearty chicken dinner goodness you’ve spent hours preparing, cooking and putting in front of them, they can’t be hungry and/or want anything else to eat! List the things that they will be missing out on as a pudding option!

12. Remember that if they go to bed without eating any tea, they will wake up at 4 am and demand rice krispies.

13. Cave on all parenting principles and warm up peppa pig pasta in the microwave while topping them up with kinder eggs!

14. Take plates and slide food directly into the bin. If you have a dog, they come in handy at this point and are generally a lot less fussy than small children.

15. Open wine.

Repeat this process every day for the next ten years.

If you want to avoid stages 1-14, I’d strongly suggest preparing a meal of fish fingers, smiley faces and sweetcorn or baked beans (as a token gesture so that you can gloat that they’ve had one of their five a day!) Sausages can be used to substitute the fish fingers but this may cause angry outbursts if the moon is in a certain phase, it’s a leap year, the sausages are served on the wrong colour plate or there is a ‘y’ in the day of the week. The only guarantee of a meal constituting no food waste is to either feed them every meal from a box which comes with a small toy and a happy clown on the outside (warning- may cause childhood obesity!) or to get them to eat every meal at nursery where they generally eat every morsel of food put in front of them and have seconds of the very meal that they declared only the night before was ‘poo poo yucky yuck!’ at home!

Oh and for the record- yes I did baby led weaning, yes they ate absolutely anything when they were babies and no it didn’t make a jot of chuffing difference!