Cooking Mama

Once you become a mother, it becomes obvious that you are ‘supposed’ to be able to cook.  Whipping up a batch of delectable cupcakes, perfectly decorated for a kindergarten party somehow heightens your ‘mom status’ and is a grandiose source of self confidence for far too many moms.  I don’t cook.  Well, I cook but I don’t cook gourmet stuff.  Not because I cant or don’t want to – but rather because all that effort in the kitchen is lost on a family who will gulp down the food in 5 minutes flat. 

In the beginning, I felt compelled to cook.  I can remember when my kids hit second grade and had a chocolate party at school my cooking career came to an epiphany.  They wanted something homemade to go in the class cookbook, to serve to the entire school.  The only thing chocolate I could ever cook was brownies and didn’t feel the need to compete with super moms who would stay up for hours until their brownies were perfect.  And for what?  To gloat, to say that you had good brownies.  So, I meandered my way to the local store and bought chocolate donut sales because they were on sale and because I doubted very seriously that any of the other moms would be baking donuts.  So I was at least original.

The kids were so embarrassed.  I had to listen to the ‘every one else’s mom” is making blah blah blah – and we are just brining donuts to chocolate day.  Okay, I admitted I am a shitty lazy mother.  I have to admit I felt pangs of not meeting up to the standards of motherhood.  At any rate, around noon I checked in to chocolate day.  You could smell the cocoa and cinnamon the minute you walked into the school and I was immediately intimidated.  Would my donuts hold up?  I at least put them on a fancy plate with a doily underneath to make them look authentic.  When I walked into the classroom I was surrounded by all the typical moms who try to hard, wear their hair to fancy for a school appearance and chat about menial and stupid things.  Looking to my daughters, I noticed that the donut holes I made (well bought) had already been happily swallowed up.  There wasn’t even a crumb and my kids were very proud to be the first table whose food was gone! 

The point is….you don’t have to cook to be a good woman or mother.  You can buy premade donut holes.  I realized on that day, I would quit pretending that I wanted to be Paula Deen.  Sure, I read her cookbooks – but if there are more than 5 ingredients I refuse to even try it.  If the directions say anything about cook in a pot for over 3 hours, I don’t even consider.  My life is too important and busy to stand over a boiling pot for 3 or more hours per day.  Especially when it might come out tasting like crap and if its good, it will be gone in 5 minutes flat – leaving me feeling frustrated and taken advantage of.

My kids may never grow up remembering what a wonderful cook I was – but they will always remember that they won the chocolate day dash by bringing the tastiest dish. 

Be who you are and do what you love, not what you think you are supposed to love or do.  Pretending to be something you are not to impress others, only takes time away from pursuing the things in life that you really love.  And some times – store bought chocolate donut holes will do just fine! 

Thank God That’s Not MY Kid!

Grocery shopping sucks.  Not for JUST one reason either.  It especially sucks if you have kids in tow and they are picking up and asking for every new little thing that those tricky marketers put right at eye level.  (Hint…I refuse to purchase those items just for spite of those marketers who must all be childless).  At any rate, I had to go today, like I always do on Friday.  If I didn’t grocery shop on Friday there would either be no money left by next week, or nothing to eat in the house.  And it hit.  This poor mother, wearing the mom jeans with the graying hair and glasses was pushing a cart full of kids.  5 to be exact.  She was the walking example of good reasons to use birth control.  The little kid in the front seat of the cart was wailing.  Not just crying or whining, but wailing.  As I stood waiting for my cheese to be cut, I overheard her several times telling her to be please be quiet.  She used her very best “public mom voice” but I knew on the inside she was seething.  I felt pangs of sympathy for her having been there myself. 

Yet what I began to notice around me is that the other Friday shopping moms, noses stuck in boring coupons whose kids were likely still in school were making scowling faces at this poor mom.  It was as if she was being presented the award for the worst parent in the world.  They shrugged and huffed, pouted and rolled their eyes at each other.  They might as well have been pointing and hee heeing like children.  Their auras had red spikes sticking out of them that made them look like wicked entities from the dark side. 

I went from feeling sympathy for a stranger to wanting to knock these ‘devil’ moms out.  Who the hell did they think they were?  I bet not that long ago, it was them with the screeching toddler embarrassing them to no end.  And here they were judging as if that would never happen with one of their kids!  One of them even had some shirt affiliating herself with “Friends of Jesus.”  How godly to stand in judge while wearing the badge?

I steamed, barely noticing the deli guy cutting my cheese (no pun intended – and by the way he was actually wearing gloves)!  “Well, you know what – I know YOUR KID and he was a brat too.  In fact he probably still is, especially with a mother like you! So get off your high horse and give a woman a break.”  My own aura shot at theirs and as if they noticed, they looked my direction. 

Sometimes the way our children act in public IS a reflection on us.  But most of the time with young children (which ALL of them are) it is a result of being tired, bored, selfish, demanding, uncomfortable, sick, selfish (did I mention that) or just plain fed up with life as they know it.  After all, they are much more inexperienced than we are at hiding our irritations. 

Hopefully that mom with the cranky toddler went home and had a glass of wine.  Chances are from the looks of her, she hasn’t made it to that point in her mothering career yet to choose wine as a solution to stress.  (But she will!)  So, what’s the inspiration here?  Instead of being thankful that some other kid, who is much worse than your kid, is not your kid – be thankful that in that very moment, this time, it wasn’t you having to fight the hideous energy of other moms judging you.  Wouldn’t it be nice if instead of sending assuming glares and stern glances, we sent this mother a little bit of positive thought and light?  And just maybe, karma would come full circle.  The chain has to be broken somewhere.  Could it start with you?  After all, kids are just kids and they are as unpredictable as puppies.