Just Call Me Uber Mom

by Laura on September 21, 2011

in Blog

Yes, I am an Uber Mom. I am the on demand car servicethat drives my kids wherever they need to be – school, play dates, soccer, gymnastics, ballet . . . Some may call me a Soccer Mom, but I’ve never liked being pigeon-holed into a category that defines me in any way: (i.e. the Married, middle-class woman who lives in the suburbs and has school age children; sometimes portrayed in the media as busy or overburdened and driving a minivan.)

(Note: Uber is a service that allows you to request a car by texting your address, using an app to set your pickup location on a map. Cars usually arrive within 5-10 minutes)

OK, for those of you who know me, that may sound a bit like me, but I’ve always functioned a bit outside the box, maintaining my own personal style and beliefs, without too much media and mainstream influence.

Instead, I want to be referred to as an Uber Mom. That hip Mom who not only drives them where we need to be (don’t we have to? After all, they don’t drive yet), but who finds the right mix between school, afterschool activities and play. The Mom who stresses the importance of creative time (we don’t have cable, so television is limited – and we offer very little computer game time as well). The Mom who puts dinner on the table 99.9% of the time, even if I’ve been driving the kids to and from after school activities for what seems like hours on end.

This school year has been my first foray into the Uber Mom category. At 8, my son is enjoying his first year playing on a soccer team. Now, as I sit on the sidelines at soccer practice, I get to experience the dedication of a true team sport –the enthusiasm Moms (and Dads) have as they cheer on their little ones in a sport. In addition to the soccer, the girls are into gymnastics and ballet, keeping me on the road driving from one activity to the next for a good part of the afternoon. I haven’t overscheduled the kids, but with four kids after school activities can be pretty hectic.

More than the time and the gas this driving from one side of the town to the next and back again eats up, this Uber Mom lifestyle has been disruptive to our snack and meal times. We used to return home from school and have a healthy snack sitting around the table, followed by homework and then free play or a visit to the park. Now, I pick the kids up and GO! There is no time to waste. They must do their homework and have a snack before diving into afterschool activities.

Among other things, this hectic schedule is forcing me to rethink snack and mealtime. Now I find myself carting around fruit, yogurt, muffins, vegetables and other snacks to serve the kids on the grass just prior to soccer practice or ballet. And, while I sit on the sidelines of the soccer field breathing in the fresh air before piling back into the car for another activity, I realize something else. I am still functioning a bit out of the box. And, I think I could be in a minority.

Lately, I have heard it too many times to count from other Moms sitting on the sidelines: “Yeah, we’re going to grab something to eat at so-and-so restaurant, then back home for homework.” Me, I found myself gathering my kids at the end of practice, “C’mon guys, I’ve got to get dinner started!” I get a few raised eyebrows when other Moms overhear me say this.

Sure, eating in the car and on the run is a viable option when trying to get the kids from one place to another – especially when practice is smack dab in the middle of our usual dinnertime. But if there is one thing I refuse to do is to rely on take-out or a restaurant because extra-curricular activities cuts into our family meal time.

I’m still pretty new to our current activities schedule, and have many kinks to work out, but the key to making it happen (that is, homemade dinner on the table every evening – with an occasional exception), is through Planning (yes, one of the Family Eats Pillars). Now when I plan the week’s menu, I find myself plotting out the days that I need a quick, almost ready-to-eat, meal option on those days that we get home hungry from our after school activity.

Not that my meals require convoluted preparations on the other days, but on the three days that I serve as Uber Mom, either I need to have the meal pre-prepared and ready to heat, or a meal that includes few ingredients, little prep time, and not much time in the oven or on the stove.

I’ve had to do a bit of digging through my cookbook collection, but casseroles, slow cooker and one-pot meals are now essential on these days.

However, with a bit of planning,  Planning gives me a peace of mind knowing that I can still sit down with my family, eat a home-cooked meal, and share the day’s excitement together.

Come on all you Uber Moms out there, its’ time to start Planning. Cut back on take out and bring the meal back to the kitchen and around the table.

Please share your Uber Mom recipes with Family Eats. Sign in to comment or send an email to me, Laura@FamilyEats.net.

In the meantime, here is a quick, easy and tasty Uber Mom recipe we’ll be enjoying after soccer later this week.

Pork Wontons in Soup as a Meal

  • 4 cups canned chicken broth plus 2 cups water
  • 2 slices unpeeled fresh ginger
  • salt, to taste
  • 10 spinach leaves or 12 watercress sprigs, cut in half
  • 32 to 48 wontons, boiled and drained according to directions (below)
  • 2 tbsp thinly sliced scallion
  • 1 tsp sesame oil

Bring the chicken broth with ginger to a boil and add additional salt to taste. Add the spinach leaves and cook until wilted, about 30 seconds. Portion out wontons into individual soup bowls. Sprinkle scallion over the wontons in each bowl.

Remove and discard the ginger, if desired. Ladle the hot soup and spinach leaves over the wontons and drizzle with sesame oil. Serve immediately.

Boiling the wontons: In a large pot, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil over medium heat. Add as many wontons as can swim freely around. Stir gently with a wooden spoon for even cooking. When the water returns to a boil, immediately add 1 cup of cold water. When water returns to a boil again, remove pan from the heat, cover, and let the wontons sit in the hot water for 2 to 3 minutes. Be careful not to overcook the wontons or the skins will become too soft and lose their ‘bite.’ Scoop out the wontons with a wire strainer and drain well.

Source: Easy Asian Noodles, by Helen Chen, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Copyright © 2010 by Helen Chen.

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