Moms can’t cook
I have been a mom for over 34 years and a daughter for just a couple years longer. It has only been recently, though, that I have come to realize that moms can’t cook and why.
And it’s not just cooking that they can’t do. They can’t keep a clean house.
After having just spent a couple weeks with my grandchildren (my daughter in law had just given birth to their third child), I had an epiphany. Caring for kids and making sure they are fed, clothed, cleaned, taught and entertained is hard work!
I believe I must have blocked out a lot of my child rearing years, because I honestly had forgotten how difficult raising children could be. Kids have an infectious amount of energy that can be both exhilarating and exhausting. Don’t get me wrong. I love being a grandmother. It is quite possibly the best thing I have ever done and I enjoyed every minute of being with my grandchildren.
The plan I had when I left to go to Washington was simple, or so I thought. I would keep an eye on my 4 year and 16 month old grandchildren while their parents and new premature baby spent time in the hospital. I intended to have a home cooked meal on the table every evening, pick up toys, wash and put away dishes, mop and vacuum floors, do the laundry and have kids bathed and in bed by eight, giving me a couple hours to relax before I would fall asleep for a full straight eight hours sleep.
I’m not sure what I was smoking when I came up with that idea. No dinners were made, dishes and clothes were always in the sink or hamper (though I swear I had just washed them), toys were usually scattered about the living room, and sleeping? I’m pretty sure moms can’t do that either, although I believe it is something they often dream about during the few, infrequent moments they do dream.
I can honestly say that even though I didn’t keep the house as spotless as I imagined it would be, at least no kids were harmed on my watch.
I did realize two very important things during the time I spent at my son and his family’s home. When you have young children you should….
1. Never, ever, make any plans of any kind… did I say never? (If you are foolish enough to think that it is possible to make a plan, such as a trip to the park, go shopping, or run an errand, then refer to number 2).
2. Never, ever expect things to go as planned. Something will inevitably come up to screw up that perfectly scheduled, well thought out plan. A child will get sick or need a diaper change just as you’re ready to walk out the door, or the kids will need a bath because one of the kids decided to get themselves a bowl of cereal, dumped the whole box of cheerios, sugar, milk and flour all over the floor (don’t ask me how the flour got dragged into this), then thought it would be fun to get the baby, cats and dogs all involved in making foot prints in the sloppy mess all in the 30 seconds that you were just going to run to the bathroom before heading out to take the kids to the park. (If you are Michael or Kim and you are reading this… of course this never really happened).
While I had really wanted to try to cook dinners for my son’s family every night, it was really quite impossible. One day I attempted to make a healthy-whole-wheat-oatmeal-LACTATING-encouraging-cookies-recipe that my daughter in law wanted to help her milk come in. I’m pretty sure I added too much yeast because after the third or fourth interruption from my grandson, I could not remember whether I had added one or two teaspoons. (Hmmm, perhaps it was the extra yeast in the cookies that caused ALL the adults in the household to begin to lactate).
Since the cookies were such a flop, I can only imagine what disasters my dinners would have been if I had attempted to make them. I’m not even sure how one goes about making a whole dinner with all the interruptions and needs of one or more children tugging at your pants. Thank goodness my grandkids are not picky eaters as I could just grab some fruit, yogurt, peanut butter and jelly and some whole wheat bread and by the end of the meal, not only were bellies full, but Nova (the 16 month old) had created a masterpiece all over her body that I believe even Picasso would have been quite proud of.
I think when you make the decision to become a mom, you also decide to give not just 18 years of your life to another person or persons, but the whole rest of your life. It isn’t a job you can clock out of after eight hours and go home to do what ever you want. It’s a 24 hour a day, 7 days a week job. There are moms who would love to be able to have the time to cook (and actually are great cooks, i.e. my daughter in law) and to keep a house clean for more than just a few minutes at a time, but having made that decision to be a mom, they have also chosen their priorities. Is it important to have every toy picked up, all the dishes put away, a fancy four course meal on the table, or is it more important to spend time with that child, reading, playing and giving them a big hug to let them know they are loved? I would rather see a home with a few toys scattered about and dishes in the sink, where children are happy and feel loved, than a home where everything is spotless and a child is miserable.
Disclaimer: It is not my intention to discredit the role of dads in the whole parenting discussion nor am I trying to be sexist. The topic of this column could have easily have been entitled “Why dads can’t cook” and anywhere “mom” was mentioned, be replaced by “dad.”