Put your hands in the air if you’ve eaten something that wasn’t actually made for your own consumption today? Extra special bonus points if you’ve eaten something that was in another humans mouth mere minutes before you ingested it. How about slithers of random food type items off the floor? Any takers? Slightly crusty porridge off the shoulder of your PJ’s because you really just didn’t have it in you to find paper towel (and as we all know, once dried, porridge is real beast to remove from clothing.. That and weetbix, I swear you could build low cost housing with them both)? I’d estimate that I’ve done all of the above thus far this week. Being that it’s only Tuesday, this is a mildly impressive feat. When you consider that I have two children under 4 though, it makes a bit more sense.
I decided the other day that I might do a bit of a ‘my day on a plate’ type of thing. Of course that meant picking a day when what I ate was exciting and a little edgy, a thrilling journey that wended its way through controversial smoothies and super food salads. Trying to find a day where ‘ham and cheese something’ didn’t feature was difficult. I also realised just how much food I eat that doesn’t actually come from my own plate. I’m calling it the ‘Mum Diet’ purely because there is no way people without children eat this way. People without children may well be horrified and there’s a chance my remaining child-less friends will look at me differently next time we go out for breakfast, nervous that I might swoop down on their leftovers or worse, start picking baked beans off the floor and eating them when a napkin isn’t to be found anywhere in the vicinity.
This diet may induce weight loss, it most certainly would if you didn’t augment it with any other proper food. It may also induce weight gain, especially if you augment it with items from two of my favourite food groups; pasty and cake. While day to day variations are of course apparent and allowable, the primary focus of the diet is ensuring minimal food wastage and maximum ease of clean-up primarily due to your own mouth being used as a waste vessel. It’s also appealing to the budget conscious amongst us as each food item is enjoyed by no less than two, often three different people. How’s that for ‘bang for your buck.’
A day on the Mum Diet
7am – Cut up fruit for the kids. Serve it up alongside toast, cereal and smoothies. Make smoothie for self. Drink half before realising youngest child has unbuckled self from highchair. Put smoothie down somewhere that seems logical but is actually a dark pit of smoothie hiding hell. Forget about smoothie. Rescue child. Realise both children have carelessly discarded 3 half eaten strawberries from a $6 punnet onto the floor. Advise children that strawberries are the freaking jewels of the fruit world. Eat all discarded strawberries while continuing ‘strawberries = jewels’ lecture.
7.45am – Breakfast is finished. Stack plates and bowls for washing. Start scraping plates into the bin. Realise husband has neglected to take out the rubbish and bin is now almost full. Refuse on principal to remove bin liner till it reaches rat attracting potential. Also realise that current rubbish is precariously balanced, like a food scrap jenga puzzle. Two toast squares with coconut butter/peanut butter/banana remain on plates. There can be room for only one lest the jenga puzzle come crashing down. Eat square that won’t fit into the bin.
9.30am – Coffee o clock. Large cappucino and babycino to go. Give both children organic rice cakes to gnaw on while waiting the 7 minutes it takes for coffee to be made and children to begin losing their minds. Eldest inhales said cakes. Youngest sucks on one then pulverises in her fists before depositing onto floor. In fear of being shamed by cafe staff, pick up crumbs and eat due to lack of serviette situation. Besides, they are ORGANIC rice cakes and cost more than the coffee order.
11am – Debate second coffee. The idea sounds good but the reality sometimes isn’t. Mull it over. Realise I haven’t slept ‘properly’ in almost 4 years. Wonder if a slice of carrot cake it pushing it. Carrot cake is delicious. It is also $6 at the oh-so-hip cafe in the centre of town. Enter into pep talk with self about general awesomeness of leaving the house clean(ish), fully dressed with both kids wearing weather and park appropriate footwear. Mentally high five self for leaving phone in bag while at the park and chasing the kids around. Figure that days achievements warrant $6 carrot cake. Re-route back to cafe for round two. Feel slightly sheepish ordering from same barista again. Quickly realise that my coffee habit and I are probably responsible for his thrice yearly sojourns to Bali.
12.30 – Lunch – Relatively uneventful. Both kids decide plates are for fools and they’d rather eat sandwiches off the floor but nothing unusual there. Serve up mandarin. Eldest child eats a piece, declares it ‘stringy’ and inserts into my unsuspecting mouth. Swallow ‘stringy’ mandarin and chase it up with last dregs of cold coffee that is somehow still knocking around 1.5 hours after purchase.
2.00pm – Cup of tea time – Eldest child and I share a cuppa and something baked while youngest child snoozes. Sipping a hot cup of chamomile is quite the lovely way to spend 15 minutes with my big boy. We eat cake. He drops cake crumbs all over the couch. I alternately sweep up, shove down the back of the couch for cleaning up ‘later’ and eat the excess.
4.30pm – Dinner prep time. Kids are usually outside terrifying the cats and running riot with the neighbours so things run smoothly. I manage to hole up behind the open pantry door and eat the last chocolate coated Hob Nob biscuit without having to share it. This is exciting. One is not enough but it has to do. Notice mouldy apple core down the side of the fridge. Pick it up to throw it in the bin and realise it’s still full from this morning. Worse still, the lunch leftovers won’t fit. Reluctantly take the rubbish out and save the cornered cat while I’m at it. Nibble on a crust of bread mindlessly while doing so.
5.30pm – The last 15 minutes before backup arrives on the scene. I alternate between joy and despair as try to finish dinner while balancing a toddler on my hip and fight off random food requests from the biggie. Fridge is opened while I try and stop the spaghetti from burning and a ‘floor picnic’ ensues. There are mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, strawbs and blueberries artfully scattered across the boards. My children are down on all fours being ‘dogs’. At least Ollie is, Evie just enjoys eating that way for no real reason. I join them for a blueberry. As a second tier ‘jewel of the fruit bowl’ I just know the majority will be squashed or spat out (sometimes both) and not appreciated. We all remark on how much fun this is. Ollie attempts to feed Evie a raw garlic clove. Thankfully this doesn’t end up being ingested purely due to distraction as I’ve seen her eat one before.
6pm – Dinner and a second pair of child wranglin’ hands. I usually get to eat my own food but realise halfway through that I’ve done that weird mum thing of giving everyone else the best bits. Silently give myself kudos for being the ultimate parent. Steal an aforementioned best bit from youngest’s bowl while she’s distracted. Eat swiftly to dispose of the evidence. Realise at least 1/2 of dinner is on the floor. Realise that’s standard round these parts. Start thinking about an after bedtime cuppa or glass of cider. Try and calculate just how much food I’ve eaten that day. Have no actual clue. Mum life hey?!
I’d love to know what your ‘Mum Diet’ consists of? Similar? Different? Does crusty porridge make you gag like it does me?