WWYD – mealtime

My kids go to their dad for dinner one night a week. They are always complaining they never get fed food that they like and it’s always healthy stuff, sometimes vegetarian foods including tofu. (My boys are very much meat and potatoes types of guys) It has got to the point that before they leave they take inventory of my fridge to see what there is to eat when they come home. I feed them healthily, but never tofu because, well, I just don’t do tofu.

They invariably come home ravenous. They do not ask me to cook anything for them on those nights, because they know I won’t (it’s my night off), but they descend on the fridge like vultures. I have told them to discuss their culinary concerns with their dad and step mom. I would feel awful if I cooked them a meal and they didn’t eat. Doesn’t matter if I am biologically related or not. It’s rude not to eat food put in front of you.

Is this my concern, or not? By allowing them to eat when they get home am I sabotaging their mealtime at their Dad’s? They say they do eat there, or pretend to, and are not rude.

What would you do?

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17 Comments

  1. Lady Lock and Load says:

    Have they discussed this with their father and step mom? Maybe they would like to write a list of their favorate suppers for suggestions? That is what my girls did!

  2. Tom says:

    My ex wife and I had our disagreements over food. If these were my kids I would let them have a “snack,” not a meal if they had a meal earlier in the evening. Of course…my boys already have a second meal in the evening anyway…regardless of where they eat.

    • HSaboMilner says:

      what is it with boys? do they have hollow legs or something? bottomless pits…

      I close the kitchen at 8. Otherwise they would be eating all night.

  3. RubyV says:

    Honestly, tofu never hurt anybody (and the Pixie, carnivorous as she is, loves it). Is it that the stepfamily is veggie? Are the boys just being picky?

    Honestly, I do feel bad when people knock my veggie meals. Often, people just aren’t familiar with meatless meals, and while it may taste just like the meaty versions, people complain because they convince themselves that it must be awful.

    If it were me, I’d let them have a light snack, but that’s it, no second meal. If they are hungry, well, they are being offered a nice meal at Dad’s that they can eat. ;) You are right, it is rude of them, especially since it probably isn’t easy for stepmom either. Can you work with the other parents as a group to get the boys to eat while there? Honestly, it doesn’t sound like an inability to cook on the stepmom’s part as much as a “it’s not mom’s food or what I’m used to so I won’t touch it”. IMO, its a good life lesson.

    • HSaboMilner says:

      in my house, if they don’t like the supper, tough noogies. there is no short order cook or anything. The kids know that. It’s whats on the table or nothing. If I make a meal that I know already one of the kids doesn’t like, that kid can have a PB sammich or cereal, or grilled cheese. So to have them not eat at their dad’s and come home and eat kind of flouts that rule.

      I just don’t know if it’s for me to intervene at all.

      • RubyV says:

        I’d say intervening is a good idea, especially since they know the rules at mom’s (we have the same rule here, minus the dairy of course). It can help avoid a bad precedent.

  4. Wyman Brent says:

    I am a meat person myself. I like spam, spam, and more spam…honey glazed or fresh from the can.

  5. Leah says:

    We have a different problem,. No matter what I cook, meat, dairy, or neither, my step son won’t eat it. And it’s not like his mother is some great cook. She’s the type (or at least I’ve heard) to open cans and call it dinner. I figure it’s just another way for him to reject me and what I stand for. It’s not so personal because we have no relationship.

    With your boys, if it’s the the scenario above, if they would eat the food if it appealed to them, let me suggest the following.

    Explain to your ex the situation. Ask him if he wouldn’t mind picking up a couple of chickens and healthy sides from a take out place and make a green salad to go with. He could do this every week, even. Your kids will likely eat it, his wife doesn’t get her feelings hurt when they scoff at her food, and she gets the night off from cooking, too.

    When my step-son came for shabbos (read that as came over, slept the whole time, at his meals my himself) I bought the entire Shabbos meal from a local place. It cost about the same as it would have had I bought the food and cooked it, and it was less work. It was much better than slaving away to an ungrateful and still hungry audience.

    • RubyV says:

      I’ve done that when having picky relatives over, especially for Shabbat. Far less frustrating to have purchased food rejected that that which you bust your butt for. “Waaaah, beans served with kasha is weird, no, we don’t like spices and seasonings, ew, why can’t we have brisket, blah blah blah” :)

  6. Lisa Danton says:

    In our house we control “what” – maybe tofu; and “when” @ 6pm. The kids control “if” and “how much”. If they choose not to eat what is for dinner, then they can wait until we are done and make a PB sandwich with a glass of milk. Thats it. No routing through the kitchen to make something else. You have great boys H, I’m sure that between them they can discuss their options with their Dad. But for me? I wouldn’t let them have anything other then a PB sandwich. They own the problem, they have to come up with the solution. *evil Mommy grin*

  7. IMA2FOUR7 says:

    I have the same issue different package. “Was band” feeds kids one night a week –possibly even food they like.They still graze in my fridge upon their return. I do not feed the people who have returned from dinner.
    Since most of us know, you can not impact or sometimes even suggest a thing to the X, I believe your best policy is and has to be empower the children whose dad is and always will be their dad to deal with him. This is not your issue. Yours is only to deal with your darlings. Give those boys a voice and words to use. Let them know they need to speak up for their needs. They know your rules and perhaps most importantly that their thoughts and preferences count and that is why you provide nutritious delicious meals they like and appreciate.
    Dealing with divorce daily…….

  8. Aubrey says:

    I don’t comment much, but you are welcome to ignore my comment. ;) We don’t have any step-family issues, but I can say from experience that when you have children, boys or girls, that have high metabolisms that after food like tofu, it really can feel like you haven’t eaten at all. Some of us just weren’t made to eat food like that. My children and my hubby and I are all like this. And too frequently eaten can actually cause weight loss and the soy can cause hormonal problems in children. We have personal experience with this also.

  9. tesyaa says:

    I don’t know about stepfamilies, but if the stepmom is making tofu/health food because that’s her normal style of cooking, I’d say keep things as they are. If she is trying to tick them off, you have more problems. If she is treating them naturally and cooking like she does every day of the week, that’s something that should continue, even if they need to fill up when they come home.

  10. Z! says:

    Well, at least they haven’t figured out they should stuff themselves BEFORE they go!

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