"I do not cook."
"I am not a cook."
"Tyler does the cooking in our household."
"Tyler and I learned a long time ago that if I try to do the cooking it is a waste of our food, money, time, and energy resources."
"I hate cooking."
"I'm having this strange sensation that all I want to do is cook something right now."
"I think I kind of like cooking."
"Tyler, I cooked something and it tastes good!"
"I enjoy cooking."
"I can cook."
When we tried our first meal delivery service in the spring of 2020 to alleviate the meal planning pressure point of our lives, I didn't realize the domino effect it would have.
We finally hit our pain point threshold where it was time to delve into the experience of uncertainty and give something new a try, rather than stay stuck in the rut we were in.
The rub that the meals aspect of life created in our marriage was that Tyler was sick of being the only one who cooked, yet I was overseeing so many other areas of our life that adding the cooking to my plate (pun intended) was not in the cards, nor was it going to taste good.
Because there are so many damned steps to cooking...
My perspective was that just because I wasn't making the meal, I was still usually involved in some or all of the other steps, each of which carries it's own weight.
Much like every client I have ever worked with, the "meals" aspect of our life was creating resistance and resentment in our relationship on a consistent basis. When I do the “Time Target to Thrive” exercise with my audiences at speaking events, some aspect of “meals” always falls in the “Dimension of Demand” category that creates a pressure point on our lifestyles.
Thus far, our meal service delivery solution of choice has been Hello Fresh. Here’s how they have alleviated some of the weight step-by step:
1. They think of something to make and present it to us. If we aren’t up for cooking what they have to offer that week/month, we can hit “Skip This Week”, so that we can do meal planning weeks or months in advance and then give our brains a break about that aspect of life for a bit.
2. We don’t have to go to the grocery store or out to eat, and we still get to eat reasonably healthy, yummy, and affordable meals!
3. We don’t have to go to multiple grocery stores and buy things we won’t use again before they expire! HelloFresh only sends us the exact amount of food that we need for reasonable sized meal portions. I’m not sure how things shake out in terms of packaging and shipping cost/waste, but it sure seems like it’s less wasteful and more sustainable in the long term to only get what we need when we need it.
4. We haul and unpack 1 box vs a whole cart of groceries/bags from multiple stores.
5. For someone who has had a lifetime running mantra of, “I hate cooking,” this making the meal step has been surprisingly…well…reFRESHing. I told Tyler that there is something about the way that they break down the directions and give you food in just the right quantities...that works for my overwhelmed brain. I think it’s also because the stress of steps 1-4 has also been alleviated already, so I feel like I actually have the mental and emotional bandwidth to focus on and engage with making the dang food!
6. Now, even though HelloFresh is not directly solving the problem of cleaning up our kitchen…indirectly, they are contributing to the solution. Again, because much of the pressure of steps 1-4 are alleviated, and I feel more empowered, excited about, and willing to do step 5, we are also alternating more of the clean up responsibilities, which seems more sustainable for both of us.
Now, our experience with HelloFresh hasn’t been 100% perfect. Sometimes we forget to plan ahead and press “Skip This Week” and they send us a box of recipes that they chose for us. Sometimes the recipe isn’t as good as we’d hoped…but it’s still better than grazing on processed stuff! I’ve had other folks comment that there is still more cooking involved than they want out of a food delivery service. What I keep coming back to is that while it’s not always a perfect solution, it’s at least 80% better than the way we had been functioning…and in this season of our lives…I’ll take it!
Also, like anything new, it took us a while to get into the groove of this meal delivery service thing. It’s only now, almost 2 years later that I am having these fascinating revelations that I LIKE COOKING! And here’s what’s really cool….the surprising bonus blessings!
BONUS #1: I kid you not, while we were eating a HelloFresh meal that I cooked, Tyler said these exact words, “Betsy, this shift to you cooking more has really increased your wife points.” Now, we’ve never referred to “points” in our marriage, but because mine are on the upward trend, I’ll roll with it! I know that what Tyler meant is that this new rhythm and routine that we’re developing is causing less resentment between us and working better for our whole family system.
BONUS #2: Because I have never felt confident or modeled cooking, I’ve had this background guilt/concern that my kids won’t learn or enjoy this skill. “How will they nourish themselves when they leave the nest? I have not prepared them well for this part of life. What if they end up just eating processed crap and turn into unhealthy monsters?” It brings me a sense of relief and hope that there is this new-fangled way of handling the “meals” part of life that can provide them the structure and support that as parents, we really haven’t spent much time on.
If you'd like to chat more about making lifestyle changes to reduce the pressure, please reach out! And...I often have free boxes of HelloFresh to give away (no I'm not a salesperson for them). If you're interested, email me and I'll hook you up!
Light & Leadership,
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Fulfillionaire Facilitator, Educational Psychologist, Inspirational Speaker