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the dinner debate
March 14th, 2013     |    Business AdviceRelationships

 

TheDinnerDebate

Today I’d like to chat about a question that has been tossed around several times over the past few months in the Lively household:

To eat out or to eat at home?

After a long day at work, Mr. Lively often wants nothing more than to come home and cook dinner. Meanwhile, after my long day at work I want nothing more than to get outta the house and enjoy a meal at one of our favorite neighborhood spots – or delivery, if I’m feeling lazy.

For a while, we attributed this difference of dinner opinion to the fact that Mr. Lively likes cooking and I do not.

However, upon closer examination it’s a bit deeper than that.

Because I work from home, 99% of the time I eat breakfast and lunch in the apartment. There are many days (especially in the Chicago winters) where I may not even leave the house before 6pm, aside from taking Franklin out.

So by eating from the same selection of foods over and over and over, working and living in the same space, and being a fan of the local cuisine, I naturally want to get the heck out of the apartment the minute Mr. Lively steps foot in the door.

Whereas Mr. Lively, who has been gone all day and often eats out during lunch, wants to come home and spend time in the apartment with a home-cooked meal.

It’s a tricky business.

We also realize that my penchant for ordering from a menu is not very economical.

But even so, there are days where eating at home after being home all day makes my skin crawl. 

I know that sounds a bit dramatic, but it’s true.

For now, we’ve decided that we will give ourselves a target of cooking dinner on three weeknights and the other two can be my choice.

With all of this in mind, I have to wonder: do any other couples or work from home people experience this same mealtime predicament?

 

 

  • thebookofjimmy

    I’m a full time stay-at-home dad of two, part time lawyer and part time content manager/copy writer for a small web development firm. For the last year we lived in our friends’ basement apartment here in DC. That’s where I operated those three jobs, and down in the dark basement it could turn full-bore hermit mode in a very short amount of time if I let it (which I did, often). A few weeks ago we moved into a sunnier place, way above ground, with a balcony, and so far that helps a lot. I still get that skin crawling I-need-to-get-outside-of-this-apartment feeling, but it’s not as dire as it was before.

    My wife and I both love to cook (I braised short ribs today – seriously), but we also live in the city and love getting out to all the great places available in our neighborhood – even with the little ones in tow. She’s never argued with me over having a meal out (we can usually convince ourselves it’s a good idea), because she enjoys treating us as much as I do. Unfortunately, our budget now dictates that we do this as infrequently as possible (like once a month, maybe twice).

    One suggestion that might help for the nights you’re staying in (and I’m saying this as much for myself as to help you and your readers): make the dinners in special. Use a real recipe. Have your man grab special groceries (and a bottle of something fun) on the way home from work if you don’t have time to get out. Use a table cloth. Light some candles. Turn up the music. Make the space and experience feel as different from your day-to-day work-at-home space as possible.

    It’s not going out, but it is definitely not what you were used to all day at your home office.

  • Chiara

    We are on such a tight budget right now that eating out more than twice a month is not an option. Plus, I spend such a little time in our apartment that I cherish every minute I am here.
    Husband is at home more often, but he seems to really love it. He can stay in for two days in a row and never get bored or want to get out.
    A big advantage is that both of us love to cook. So when we want to make something special, one of us cooks for both, we uncork a bottle of wine and buy/make some dessert. We dine with no television on, and if we are craving social life we go out after dinner.
    I think this way eating out is even more special, and we carefully pick the next place we’ll go.

  • Emilie

    I work from home 2-3 days a week, and I’ve found that on those days–even when we have our dinner options in order–my wanting to “run out and grab a cup of fancy coffee” quickly runs up an additional expense. I realized awhile back that though I love a latte, I seldom order anything fancier than we could make at home. THEN I realized it wasn’t about the coffee at all, but about the “running out” of the apartment part. Now, instead of walking to one of the 10 coffee shops in my neighborhood (it IS the NW), and spending $10 a week extra, I try to treat the coffee I make at home as the destination– I get it brewing, and then take a little 15 minute walk to “get there” and enjoy it.

  • Jess Lively

    What a great idea! “Walking to work,” kinda. : )

  • Jess Lively

    What a great story and I like your tips. Music might be a good way to change it up, too. Thanks!

  • Jess Lively

    Nice!

  • Ha ha I think it’s my love language too. I usually get up early and go out for breakfast. Mike finds it a little weird that I go out for breakfast most days, but for me it’s heaven. Usually I’ll stay after I’m done eating and work for an hour or ninety minutes. That way I’m not behind but I have my sanity. I work from home. We live in a studio in downtown San Diego and I’d lose my mind if I didn’t go somewhere. I love my commute.

  • Jess Lively

    Very inventive!

  • Patricia

    Absolutely! I work from home, my hubby does not. He also enjoys cooking much more than I do and we’ve had this discussion many, many times.

  • Jess Lively

    : ) We’re twins!

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