How cooking dinner has become like an episode of ‘MasterChef’ in my house

stressed woman cooking

I used to love cooking but now that I’m a parent? Not so much. Dinner is by far the hardest. It’s basically as challenging as being on MasterChef – without the fame, praise or even Matt Preston’s cravat. Here are seven ways my crazy kitchen feels like the cameras are ALWAYS rolling.

1. They’re hot, then they’re cold

One minute the kids love lamb cutlets, the next they’re spat out on the floor. You think vanilla yoghurt is a dessert winner, so you go and buy a shed load of it. Before you know it, it’s off the list too. Even basic stuff like sultanas … forget it, my eldest won’t eat them anymore, even though his breakfast for two years straight was Sultana Bran. And heaven help me if I mistakenly ask what they’d like for dinner. Even if the request isn’t outrageous, by the time I’ve cooked it, they’ve changed their mind and are ready to throw a hissy fit.

2. Inventive and mysterious!

I try and meal plan for the week but somehow it never happens. The same goes for making sure the pantry and fridge are well-stocked and ready to go. That said, invention tests and mystery box challenges are a regular occurrence at my place, where I frantically scrounge around for ingredients and end up having to make something delicious using two mouldy potatoes, a cheese stick and can of beetroot.

3. Under pressure

My cooking conditions put MasterChef‘s pressure tests to shame. I’d like to see you, George, cook with a toddler who’s screaming and clinging to your legs while two other kids throw a ball near your face, telling you they’re hungry. No wonder my heart is racing when we finally all get to the table. 


Read more about family dinners:


4. Stop-start motion

In MasterChef there’s always another contestant calling out from the sideline, and nosy judges interrupting what you’re doing. The same thing happens at my place, except I’m also risking a stove fire while kissing boo-boos, chasing a nappy-less bum around the house and helping with a craft project. Enough with the interruptions!

5. Food fail

It’s not uncommon for a cooking disaster to occur either (see point above). Just like on TV, I have to quickly decide if I can salvage my ruined mess or ditch it and start again (usually the latter, the critics aren’t too fond of the burned taste).

cooking fail

6. Harsh critics

Speaking of judges … When I proudly (albeit in a fluster) throw down the nutritious feast I’ve made, three mini food critics put it (and me) through the wringer. “What’s this?” “This looks weird.” “This tastes funny.” “Too many peas.” “Not enough peas.” “I don’t like peas.” “No, no, no!” And the food goes on the floor. No guesses for who hated it the most. The husband also arrives home and casually comments on his dinner being cold. Grrrr.

7. Messy mayhem

When the animals have left the feeding trough there’s nothing left but me, the kitchen and a big ole pile of mess. On MasterChef, they’re allowed to let food fly and use a zillion utensils (not to mention waste food), which of course I can do too (and often do), but the big difference here is that I sadly don’t have a cleaning crew to come and take care of it. Boo.

Plus, I don’t get to meet celebrity chefs or sign a cookbook deal. I guess no one wants my recipe for burnt potato beetroot surprise after all!

Do you find cooking dinner stressful in your house? Share your stories and tips with us on Facebook!

Subscribe to Babyology

Our email newsletters keep you up to date with what’s happening on Babyology.

We also have special newsletter-only offers and competitions that are exclusive to Babyology subscribers.

Sign up below:

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Send this to a friend