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The insanity of cooking suppers for someone who had a baby
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May




 
 
 


Post  Thu, Oct 22 2015, 10:55 am
I'm not getting into the meals debate. There were times when I didn't need them so I didn't take. There was another time when I turned down meals, but I really should have taken - it put a huge stress on the family. And there was the time that I genuinely needed meals, so I accepted them graciously.

For pple who won't eat frozen food, Red amother, Turquoise amother - you have to learn how to properly freeze food, and train your family to eat it. If food is frozen and then defrosted properly, it tastes delicious. It's very crippling to say, my family won't eat from the freezer, or my freezer meals taste gross - end of story. Instead, learn the techniques of proper freezing and defrosting and your family won't mind eating it because it will taste good...

Regarding not having enough room in a freezer, that is a valid concern. As a newlywed with just the tiny fridge/freezer I never had enough freezer space. But you know what we bought for a first anniversary gift - a full size freezer. It made my life and shalom bayis 100x easier.

The only time I didn't cook a lot in advance of a baby was when I gave birth erev pesach and had to pesach clean my freezers before I gave birth, etc. It wasn't realistic to have a full freezer of meals that were made in my chometz kitchen...
And it's a good idea to have a freezer full of food even if you do take meals - to use after those meals stop, or for when you go back to work, etc.
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pause




 
 
 


Post  Thu, Oct 22 2015, 10:56 am
amother wrote:
I do thinks it's overdone sometimes. If there are no extenuating circumstances, it's not really necessary for 4 weeks. Should be 2 weeks, aside for issues.
Sometimes it's harder at 3 weeks than at 1 week. My kids are away the first week or two. It's when they come back home and I am so overwhelmed by simply being a mother to them that I could use the extra help.
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amother




Gold


Post  Thu, Oct 22 2015, 10:56 am
I don't know if this idea will help the problem.
In Argentina this is what they do.
Women sign up to make freezable casserole type entrees at the Shul kitchen. This way it is up to kashrut standards of that community.
The Rabbi makes sure that all the products used are ok.
They have a vacuum sealer so the food doesn't become freezer burned.
All meals are made for 4 ppl. If the family is 6-8 they get 2 trays.
Each volunteer makes 6-8 trays of the entree.
You can also sign up to help someone else make the meals.

The recepient gets a meal, a bag or 2 of pre checked salad, dressing, and a plain loaf cake (made at the shut and frozen also). Depending on the situation they get meals for 2 or more weeks.

The shul's freezer has about 3 months worth of entrees and cake at a time.
Everything is labled meat or milk and the date it was made.

Yes this is an organization, not just ppl getting together. But communities in Lakewood, Brooklyn, Monsey, are so big that it's time to make such an organization.

This organization also takes leftover food from simchas and finds recepients to take the food.
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youngishbear




 
 
 


Post  Thu, Oct 22 2015, 10:57 am
Simple1 wrote:
No one can argue that it's nice to receive meals.

But I also totally understand the op. Not everyone is good at saying no and it's a problem if women are preparing meals under pressure. Let's say you have someone who works full time, her baby is 6 months or maybe even 1 or 2 years old. She may be in an even tougher spot then the new mother who is off from work for six weeks.

I also know of times in my life where it was really tough to get food on the table, for reasons nto postpartum related. We managed with pizza or frozen grocery meals.

I'll repeat, I think it's a nice thing, but there is also another side to it.


This is the problem.

Learn to be assertive. It's not a mitzvah to be a shmatta, nor is it good for your mental and emotional health. If you (general you, not specificaly you simple1) can't say no, you need to learn to be less of a people pleaser, not abolish a wonderul chessed sysyem.


Last edited by youngishbear on Thu, Oct 22 2015, 10:58 am; edited 1 time in total
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amother




Honeydew


Post  Thu, Oct 22 2015, 10:57 am
[img]C:\fakepath\1445525396303829243128.jpg[/img]

(Posting anonymous for obvious reasons.)

I don't mind doing chessed. Even if I don't like to get meals postpartum, I am still part of my communities meal group. In order to avoid the "pressure" of deciding what to send we all got a printout of daily menus. If I take a day to cook, I must make whatever is on the menu for that day. Sometimes for as many as 6 kids plus 2 adults.

So while I think it is a beautiful way to help a pp mom (regardless of how I prepare myself before I have a baby), the standards and cost are a bit over the top.
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Hashem_Yaazor




 
 
 


Post  Thu, Oct 22 2015, 10:58 am
For those who say it may take 5 minutes to prep a supper, I say you may be right, but it might have taken the foresight to defrost the chicken or someone to have time to go buy it. The mother may be severely anemic (like I was after my last birth and even 5 minutes of trying to prep supper -- forget taking care of a newborn, and other kids -- was a huge exertion on my part for the first few weeks).

For those who say the mother should have stocked up her freezer, that is presuming she has a freezer (which I didn't for the first several years of my married life other than my small freezer that came with my small fridge in my rental apartment), and has space (I stock up on yoshon foods and my freezer gets full end of summer/beginning of fall), and isn't due around Pesach time (happened to me -- I wanted to stock up but had no idea when I would give birth and what to make, we don't sell chometz gamur and it would have gone to waste had I given birth later), could be due around Y"T time where the mother had to make meals for YT to make sure her family would have that to eat in case baby was born then (happened to me twice).

There are so many reasons why it can be a help. And even if the mother has prepared meals in her freezer, the fact hat others may be happy to give her ensures that she can use those when the meals stop and people expect her to get back to a regular routine, but she still has a 4 week old newborn and no energy to shop/cook/clean/carpool on a consistent basis.

Don't give if you don't want. But many of us do want to help others out because we recognize how it helps them. My husband's theory is you can have cereal and milk one night, oatmeal another, sandwiches the third...which will work if there is no food coming. But as a postpartum mother who needed to replenish her lost nutrients, especially while her body was working overtime not only to recover but to establish a milk supply, I myself appreciated a decent filling meal other than PBJ sandwiches, even if my kids were fine with the other options. Similarly, I would love to give, when I am able, to other mothers to have the same opportunities I got when neighbors were happy to send me something to nourish myself.

And then there are times I just can't commit, and that's ok too. Sometimes I help in other ways if I am able (childcare, take a shopping list with me to the store for a neighbor, etc). And sometimes the most I can do is wish a mazel tov. And no one faults me, I don't think.
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HonesttoGod




 
 
 


Post  Thu, Oct 22 2015, 10:59 am
amother wrote:
I do thinks it's overdone sometimes. If there are no extenuating circumstances, it's not really necessary for 4 weeks. Should be 2 weeks, aside for issues.


The act itself is a huge mitzvah and really really nice and appreciated by all. But it is overdone. And not by the pp mother but by the community and the women around her. Everyone wants to be the best to show they can give the best and the most and for the longest. They won't send a vegetable lasagna or pitta salad and falafel they will send soup (two choices), fish, chicken, meat, potatoes, roast veggies, salad etc.
And that is all fair and nice if you have the time and patience and money. But it also heightens expectations and pressure on others to perform what they cannot.

Personally, I always always cook for my freezer. Pregnant or not. When I gave birth with each child I had a freezer full of suppers to last me at least 6 weeks. But when I was offered a week of suppers and a week of lunches, I said yes. Why? because standing up and defrosting food and preparing a side dish, was way more than I had energy for.
And my husband can do it but he was working and watching the other kids. And who doesn't want fresh hot food delivered to your door after pushing a 9lb baby out their v@gina?!

If you can't give, or don't want to give, or don't have time to give. DON'T. If you want to send pitta pizza, send it. If you want to send 6 courses and an extra for the freezer, send it. But don't expect to be given it all and don't give with an ayin hora and anger.
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amother




Honeydew


Post  Thu, Oct 22 2015, 11:00 am
Well the image didn't work. I'll type up the menu, juat for fun.

It's not just that one can't say no that is a problem. When their is a wide community program you kinda feel awkward not to be a part. Personally, I believe it's the standards and expectations. That's the issue.
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youngishbear




 
 
 


Post  Thu, Oct 22 2015, 11:00 am
The insanity is to keep saying yes without really wanting to.
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Raisin




 
 
 


Post  Thu, Oct 22 2015, 11:04 am
amother wrote:
I have a family member with a large family of her own. When I needed suppers (post surgery) she sent ONE portion, for me. She said the kids can eat tuna, or peanut butter sandwiches, the mother needs a nutritious meal. Adding one portion to her cooking was doable, cooking for my whole family was not. I am extremely thankful for her thoughtfulness.


I would have so appreciated that. Although a portion for my husband would have been nice. I see so many times people worrying about making food that the kids will like - who cares, my kids could eat pasta or pizza or cereal almost every day and not complain. Make something the adults in the family will appreciate, especially the mother.

I live out of town and no one sends me meals. It is hard postpartum sometimes. My husband never seems to want to reheat the meals I have carefully frozen. He's good at making simple kid friendly meals - pasta, schnitzle, pizza, etc but anything more gourmet is usually beyond him. But after the first few days its not a big deal to make simple meals - its those first few days that are hard. (some babies I ended up staying in hospital longer but others I came home early - too early)

On the flip side though, I would find it very stressful to have to send out meals. I tend to start thinking about supper later in the day, like at 5pm or so, and I know other families eat much earlier. I would also spend a lot of time worrying about if they would like my food, or despise it, or whatever. I also think it is ridiculous to have to make meals for visiting adults.

You could easily end up with the situation that woman a is making a meal for woman b. Woman a is very cash strapped, has 5 kids aged 6 months to 5 years, and her husband works very long hours. Woman b is fairly well off, has her helpful in-laws visiting, has 2 kids aged 4 and 2 weeks, and her husband is able to get home at 6pm every day. Whose house would you expect to be more put together and have properly prepared meals?
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amother




Honeydew


Post  Thu, Oct 22 2015, 11:11 am
Sunday:

Squash soup
Baked breaded or duck sauce chicken
Macaroni with crumbs or cabbage noodles
Squash in tomato sauce
Cold fruit soup
Optional-salad

Monday:

Vegetable soup
Chicken nuggets or sesame chicken
Chinese rice or rice with sauce
Stir fry vegetables
Fruit salad
Optional-salad

Tuesday:

Split pea soup
Patties or meatballs
Cooked or baked 3 color potatoes
Green beans with almond s
Baked apples
Optional-salad

Wednesday:

Potato or onion soup
Baked salmon or flounder
Cheese blintzes or cheese latkes
Mashed potatoes
Caesar or euro salad
Optional-cheese cake

Thursday:

Chicken soup with dumplings
Baked chicken
Orzo or couscous with vegetables
Steamed stir fry
Cold fruit soup
Optional-salad

Shabbos get divided in 2 separate 'packages'.

So while I love to cook for my family and don't mind cooking a double load, every single time I get a call I have this why-did-I-say-yes. I want to do it gladly but I can't help thinking. Why is a fresh healthy soup with a protein plus healthy vegie enough for my family but not good enough for a kimpeturin?
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amother




Red


Post  Thu, Oct 22 2015, 11:15 am
May wrote:
I'm not getting into the meals debate. There were times when I didn't need them so I didn't take. There was another time when I turned down meals, but I really should have taken - it put a huge stress on the family. And there was the time that I genuinely needed meals, so I accepted them graciously.

For pple who won't eat frozen food, Red amother, Turquoise amother - you have to learn how to properly freeze food, and train your family to eat it. If food is frozen and then defrosted properly, it tastes delicious. It's very crippling to say, my family won't eat from the freezer, or my freezer meals taste gross - end of story. Instead, learn the techniques of proper freezing and defrosting and your family won't mind eating it because it will taste good...

Regarding not having enough room in a freezer, that is a valid concern. As a newlywed with just the tiny fridge/freezer I never had enough freezer space. But you know what we bought for a first anniversary gift - a full size freezer. It made my life and shalom bayis 100x easier.

The only time I didn't cook a lot in advance of a baby was when I gave birth erev pesach and had to pesach clean my freezers before I gave birth, etc. It wasn't realistic to have a full freezer of meals that were made in my chometz kitchen...
And it's a good idea to have a freezer full of food even if you do take meals - to use after those meals stop, or for when you go back to work, etc.


I have a sub zero freezer and have removed all the air from the food containers. I double seal the food. You can't compensate for the fact food gets altered in the freezing and defrosting process. Just because you can taste the difference doesn't mean others can't. The food molecules change. I can taste the difference and I don't like it.
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amother




Mustard


Post  Thu, Oct 22 2015, 11:15 am
sky wrote:
(I think I heard Chofetz Chaim of Kew Garden Hills) .


Speaking as an insider there, the guidelines were not made because people were sending too fancy suppers. And the guidelines at one point became really strict, like only 2 weekday meals for the first 2 weeks plus one shabbos. If your mother is in town, lives in town, or you are going to her after birth, then no meals. These guidleine were set because of the difficulty of being called all the time to cook another meal for another family, and the difficulty of the people calling to find people who could send meals

As a huge word in their defense - the women in Chofetz Chaim of KGH all work (literally, like 95% of them) and a good majority work full time. And it's a very young community, most of the women have several young children of their own - literally all little babies, because the families tend to move on when married 6-8 years. And there could be several births per week in this community of only a couple hundred families. So it became super difficult for these women who were holding down full time jobs and also taking care of a lots of little ones, and often either pregnant or in the first year after birth themselves, to make meals.
It's a shame that it had to come to this and we couldn't be more generous with the quantity of meals, but that is the metzios.
Currently, all the.meals are done via a spreadsheet so people aren't called directly. This way you sign up if and when you can.

(Btw, OP - I have never been called twice for the same mother unless it was a long term need (sick mother or child). I would think its easy enough to say "I'm sorry, I made this family a meal last week, its a bit difficult for me right now to make another one.")
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Stars




 
 
 


Post  Thu, Oct 22 2015, 11:19 am
Maya, serious question. Where do you place a full sized freezer in a small Brooklyn apartment that doesn't even have room for a new pot?

Not that I'm a fan of receiving meals for two weeks. Or sending kids away. Thinking how I would make this work.
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amother




Linen


Post  Thu, Oct 22 2015, 11:20 am
In my community we do all of this on-line via mailtrain.com The URL is publicized and only people who are willing and able will sign up. It also lets the family specify how many people, food allergies and drop off instructions. We also use this for shiva meals and other hosting needs. Less pressure and more voluntary.
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amother




Linen


Post  Thu, Oct 22 2015, 11:21 am
Sorry, its "mealtrain.com" sorry for the typo
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amother




Vermilion


Post  Thu, Oct 22 2015, 11:27 am
One point that was missed in this 4 page long thread- doesn't anyone feel good about making supper for someone?? When I have been asked to make supper I get such a warm feeling. I am a person who feels good about myself when I deliver a hot fresh meal to a person in need.

When my DH was sick a few people offered to make meals. I declined most offers and ended up eating takeout. There were a few people that I gladly accepted meals from because I knew it would make them feel good to help me. Of course I wanted homemade food every night, but I didn't want to take from people who would "kvetch" about needing to send supper.

As far as a pp mom- I spend 9 months in and out of the hospital and with HG. Not everyone can cook and freeze. I couldn't even prepare a normal meal once a week if I wanted to, let alone freeze anything for later.
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Stars




 
 
 


Post  Thu, Oct 22 2015, 11:28 am
It feels good if you someone asks and you say yes because you truly want to help out. If you say yes because you can't say no, that's a problem.
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UQT




 
 
 


Post  Thu, Oct 22 2015, 11:28 am
Honeydew amother - thanks for typing up that menu. But it seriously looks more like my Yom Tov menu then a regular supper menu.
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Raisin




 
 
 


Post  Thu, Oct 22 2015, 11:30 am
amother wrote:
Sunday:

Squash soup
Baked breaded or duck sauce chicken
Macaroni with crumbs or cabbage noodles
Squash in tomato sauce
Cold fruit soup
Optional-salad

Monday:

Vegetable soup
Chicken nuggets or sesame chicken
Chinese rice or rice with sauce
Stir fry vegetables
Fruit salad
Optional-salad

Tuesday:

Split pea soup
Patties or meatballs
Cooked or baked 3 color potatoes
Green beans with almond s
Baked apples
Optional-salad

Wednesday:

Potato or onion soup
Baked salmon or flounder
Cheese blintzes or cheese latkes
Mashed potatoes
Caesar or euro salad
Optional-cheese cake

Thursday:

Chicken soup with dumplings
Baked chicken
Orzo or couscous with vegetables
Steamed stir fry
Cold fruit soup
Optional-salad

Shabbos get divided in 2 separate 'packages'.

So while I love to cook for my family and don't mind cooking a double load, every single time I get a call I have this why-did-I-say-yes. I want to do it gladly but I can't help thinking. Why is a fresh healthy soup with a protein plus healthy vegie enough for my family but not good enough for a kimpeturin?


Wow, those meals are insane. Nice but not anything I would make or need on a regular tuesday, postpartum or not.
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