So you’ve been at work all day. You’re knackered and all you want to do is sit on the sofa, order takeout, drink wine and watch MIC on repeat. Sound familiar?
The reality in this house is that I come home, spend about an hour making tea, shout at people for their general inability to pick up shoes, put things away, or do their homework and then I run around like a lunatic wrestling a determined toddler into bed and preparing for the following days chaos.
I ALWAYS feel guilty once both the kids are in bed. I ALWAYS wish I’d stopped chopping the veg they won’t eat, long enough to actually ask them more about their day or to play a game, raise a smile or interact in normal decibels.
After a long day of toddler wrangling and/or work, I will admit that nothing gives me less pleasure than feeding the five thousand. As of late, I’ve been incredibly busy and disorganised – a poor combination I’m sure you’ll agree. The result is an empty fridge load of chaos at meal times and it’s been the cause of many a row, usually followed by an unhealthy takeaway and good deal of sulking.
Something had to change.
My number one piece of advice to working parents is to outsource where possible. Not the kids obviously. Unless you’re really rich…
So it’s about time that I took on a bit of my own advice. Always the hardest to swallow though, no?
With this in mind, this week I tried a meal delivery service from thyme.
So who are they? Well, in short, thyme are a company that have answered my prayers. Meal delivery ones specifically.
Good quality, home cooked (by them not me) food, freshly frozen and delivered to your door in it’s very own thyme capsule (pun very much intended). Thyme sell a range of different meals including a family friendly selection of the classics (think casseroles, pies, lasagnes etc) as well as pastas, burgers, sides and veggie options. Oh and smoothie boxes.
We tried four of their meals this week in an experiment to see just how much time we could save.
Monday – Beef lasagne from thyme
To make a lasagne from scratch will take me over an hour. Despite it being a firm family favourite (except with Zak who hates all things that don’t resemble a chicken nugget) I won’t even consider making this on a week day due to the amount of time it takes.
The beef lasagne from thyme takes 1hr 10mins to cook in the oven (from frozen – no forgotten defrosting necessary). Whilst it was cooking I packed up the kids and we took the fact it was sunny as a sign and went for a walk. Nothing special. Just a walk.
Except it was special because there was no shouting, no chaos, no moaning – just the three of us, smiling, being silly and getting a bit of fresh air. Even if it was ridiculously cold!
By the way – it was delicious and Zak the self-proclaimed “Lasagne hater” gobbled up his whole portion without so much as a whinge about garlic bread.
Time saved in total: 1 hour 30 mins.
Tuesday – Cottage pie from thyme
Tuesday is one of those days where all hell breaks loose round these parts. We have numerous children participating in numerous after school activities, friends popping by unannounced (theirs not mine), two parents working long days and yet more toddler taming to contend with. Cooking on Tuesday’s is a minefield – six (quite fussy) people all need to be fed at different times of the evening. I quite literally can end up spending all evening until past 9pm in the kitchen and I hate it.
Not so this week however. All I had to do was pop a thyme cottage pie into the oven when I got home from work and everyone helped themselves to a portion as and when they arrived home. No fuss, no prep and very little in the way of washing up.
Not one person complained. Not one. Now that is what I call a success!
Instead of rolling up my sleeves, donning my apron and tearing my hair out, I rounded up the troops and dogs and bimbled up to our local park. Thankfully the sun was out and the coats, hats and blankets from the day before were dispensed with. I could seriously get used to this fresh air, no cooking malarkey.
Time saved: At least three hours
Wednesday – Beef moussaka from thyme
Wednesday despite it being a working day, does tend to be a little more chilled out (thankfully).
My Mum feeds the kids for me before I get home from work (yay!) and all I need to do is rustle something up for Shaun and I. As a result, I usually feel guilt tripped into spending Wednesday evenings making something nice for myself and Shaun for dinner. Or in another words, making an effort.
He is out coaching his sons football team until late and I usually get the kids to bed and then make the effort to cook something lovely. Or at least he’s required to think so.
Not so this week however. Tonight we are having a yummy Moussaka from thyme.
I have a bit of a confession to make. I’m not sure if I actually told Shaun that we had a meal delivery service this week (meaning I didn’t) and there is a possibility that he thinks I am suddenly a new and improved, organised version of myself by having produced all of these lovely meals this week..
So why spoil the illusion?! Moussaka went in the oven, I practiced my smug “aren’t I a good wife” look, ready for his return et voila! dinner was given not one more thought.
Instead of faffing round the kitchen, I had a cheeky chill out, a cup of tea and a good old dose of trashy, reality TV in peace and quiet. It was bliss.
Time saved: 1 hour 30
Thursday- Beef & mushroom pie from thyme
Thursday is my final day of the working week.
I opted for something warming, filling and with just the right amount of stodge and this pie was perfect. I did steam some greens to go with this but they literally took no longer than about 20 minutes.
Having a hearty pie for tea on a Thursday when I think we are all feeling battered from a week at work and school, felt like a real treat. Especially as there was no rolling of pastry, chopping, measuring or prepping to be done.
Thursday was a day of deadlines with my YouTube channel and blog work however, so the extra time saved today had to be spent doing a little bit of extra work. It freed up some lovely quality time for the evening with Shaun though and we made big inroads into our obsession with the Madam Secretary box set – so all in all it was definitely worth it!
Time saved: 2 hours (pies take ages and always involve a lot of washing up)
I find being a working mum pretty stressful if I’m honest and one of the biggest stresses in my working week is having to feed my family. The shopping alone takes up a few hours each week and each evening is spent frantically cobbling together just something that will fill our stomachs for that day.
Outsourcing my family meals during my working week made a noticeable difference to my stress levels and also the quality of what I fed my family. These meals from thyme are not like the salt laden, unhealthy ready meals you would pick up in your supermarket. They are hearty, healthy, home cooked food – exactly the way I would make them myself if I did have the time. We all really enjoyed them.
We ate so well this week and in total I estimate that using this meal delivery service saved me around ten hours of time (including the shopping and washing up). That is an incredible amount of time to get back.
The result of this extra time? Well, I feel like I was a much calmer, more patient parent this week. I was able to connect with the kids, offer them my time and attention, play, laugh and even squeeze in some very rare me-time.
There is literally no way that I will be going back to the stress of cooking our own meals during the working week after this experience.
If you would like to try a meal box from thyme for yourself, then have a look through the website and use ‘AMumTrackMind‘ at the checkout to get £10 off any order over £30.