Over the years, I’ve been super inspired to cook new recipes by watching the Food Network. Thankfully, this inspiration has infected my daughter, Angel, too. Her signature dish is creamy spinach and mushroom lasagna. What I love about this dish is that I’ve never made it. It’s something that she was inspired to make one day and it was delish! The presentation was fabulous but it tasted even better than it looked. No one else in our home makes that dish…it’s hers and she does it very well.
Over Christmas break she tried her hand at making a new dish: coconut curry shrimp. The name alone sounds amazing; but what also sounded amazing was the thought that at least for one night someone else would be preparing a home-cooked meal! (When it’s my husband’s turn to secure diner he orders Chinese takeout. Lol! But who’s complaining?) :o)
I shopped for all the ingredients and at the appointed time she began to prepare the meal. I’ll fast forward and tell you that the coconut curry sauce was a bust! She said she followed the recipe perfectly. I don’t know if she just couldn’t pull it off or if my family simply couldn’t appreciate the combination of curry, coconut milk and lime. Ultimately, we had to trash the sauce and improvise: I whipped up a quick cream sauce with butter, light cream and tomatoes.
“I don’t want to get married anytime soon!” she remarked as I stirred the cream sauce. “This is too much work. I can’t cook!” She may have made those statements in jest, but they contained an element of truth: homemaking does take a lot of work!
I knew I had to encourage her. Not only was she physically exhausted, she felt that she couldn’t cook. Not true! So, I reminded her that she makes a killer spinach and mushroom lasagna. I also told her that once upon a time I had absolutely no cooking skills whatsoever! When I was newly married I had to call my mom to ask her how to boil water! My family ate the same dish for dinner so often (fried chicken, corn and box macaroni and cheese) that eventually my husband asked if there was anything else that other families ate! I’m soooo serious. I think we ate that for mostly a whole year! And here she was taking on full blown, adult, impressive dishes at the age of 17! If I had been doing that at 17, I wouldn’t have made AT&T stock owners so rich by calling my mom every day when I was married. That addressed her “I can’t cook” fallacy. Now it was time to address the energy required to take care of a family.
Since confession is good for the soul, I thought it was high-time I told her about some of my unflattering mommy moments. I told her that once I hid on the side of my bed crying while holding my head and thinking that if I removed my hands I was going to lose my mind. I was overwhelmed and could not cope with my day-to-day mommy responsibilities. (I’m thinking that this kind of meltdown was set off by some kind of dispute between me and my hubby. PLEASE, oh please tell me it wasn’t set off by the mere thought of washing dishes? But, at any rate, it happened.)
I had to confess to her that I wasn’t ready for that kind of reality: for babies crying day and night, the never ending diaper changes, endless laundry, meal prep and cleaning, etc. I had to DEVELOP the MENTAL and EMOTIONAL muscle for that. After all, I was trained to be a professional student. I was a college grad who had never been trained in the art of homemaking…ever! But eventually, over time, I did develop the muscle for having a ton of demand placed on me and rising to the occasion. It took YEARS to cultivate that response, I told her, but it did eventually happen.
Her eyes opened wide when I confessed the whole “side of the bed” episode. But I thought it would help to prove my point. Whatever she sees me doing efficiently today is the result of a skill-set that I had to acquire. I didn’t come into marriage with it; it had to be cultivated. (In my case after years of kicking and screaming, ranting and raving, sulking and complaining and hating my life. Holy moly! That’s a terrible list! But I’ll have to own it because it’s mine.)
I hope she was encouraged.