No Guilt Parenting (Especially not over chicken!)

If this post is about anything, it’s definitely about how we, as mothers, have a tendency to take on unnecessary guilt!

Here’s my very ridiculous serious case in point…

demon possessed chickenI was recently standing at my kitchen sink cleaning chicken for dinner (yes, I lead a very exotic life), and it got me to thinking about a time when I was asked to clean chicken…and I felt woefully inept.

(Feeling a sense of ineptness over cleaning chicken is a just part of motherhood for some of us.)

In this awful memory, I was hosting a barbecue when a gracious guest walked in with a bag of large chicken parts – or was it a whole chicken? Who cares, the point is that it was demon possessed!  And it was my job to clean and prepare it to be grilled.

I was slightly mortified as I stood at my sink struggling with the task: Where do I start?  Where do I cut? How much of this slimy gunk do I pull off?  What am I doing?  Oh my gosh, I’m going to be judged!

I stood there shaking in my boots.  Could I really ask my guests for instruction on cleaning that chicken?  I mean, I was an adult already – a wife with kids!  You’d think I’d know my way around the backside of a bird by now.

I dutifully dove in and began cutting, dissecting, pulling and prodding.  I think me and that demon possessed bird had a fight!  And I’m honestly not sure who won.  I simply did the best I could and handed it off to be grilled.

In Retrospect

Now that I look back at that anxiety inducing saga, I was probably overthinking the whole “Woman vs. Chicken” thing.  In my defense, I don’t go to the butcher’s shop or to the market for poultry.  I go to the supermarket, where I buy neatly packaged trays of chicken parts.  This stuff has already been neatly cut and submitted to some form of preliminary cleaning because it looks nothing like that evil bag of chicken I went toe-to-toe with that day!  (I’m still in therapy.)

So what that I didn’t really know what I was doing?  That’s just something my mom didn’t teach me (or that I haven’t Googled yet).  And it’s certainly NOT because she didn’t know how to do it, because boy did she ever!

Woman vs. Wild

My mom grew up in the south and she’s told me stories of her childhood.  Like the time when her grandmother went to church and left her at home.  My mom was poor and consequently, hungry, so she stole a live chicken out of her neighbor’s yard – she caught the bird, killed the bird (by wringing its neck with one quick and decisive hand movement), plucked the bird, gutted the bird, cut up and cleaned the bird, then fried it, ate it, and sprayed the house to remove all traces of said bird before her grandma returned home from church.  It didn’t work…she got busted!  (Note: My mom has since repented of such childhood shenanigans.)

My mom was like MacGyver on steroids with that chicken, but she didn’t pass on to me an iota of instruction in that area.  Too bad.  It would have been a good skill for me to have in my cooking arsenal (minus the neck wringing part!), but so what?  I learned other good and valuable skills (like how to shop the sales rack at Macy’s and Lord and Taylor), just none related to cooking.

The Bottom Line

My oldest daughter is married, and she left my home not knowing how to clean and prepare a whole, yucky chicken.  Big deal!

My 17 year old still lives at home, but I will probably never teach her how to clean and prepare a whole, horrid chicken.  So what?

I will probably never teach my two youngest girls (ages 8 & 11) how to clean and prepare a whole, repugnant chicken; yet the sun will still rise!

We won’t be able to cover everything with our kids, and we’ll have to let the guilt go.

I do teach them plenty of other valuable stuff.  My oldest two girls cook full meals, bake from scratch, and know how to clean well.  They are well mannered and hospitable.  Cooking wise, they are way ahead of where I was at their ages and they both have a signature dish that they make (at their ages I think I could make grill cheese!).  I’m not going to be able to cover everything with them.  I have to prioritize the instruction they do receive, and that particular skill (of cleaning and dissecting demon possessed poultry) is not high on my list.

Still, I can only imagine that one day each of them will experience their own “moment of ineptness” (which will probably have nothing to do with gross and evil chicken).  Yet, it’s inevitable. They will get over it (or keep the tradition of therapy going).  They are going to have to get some OTJT – on the job training when they’re on their own – it will give them a reason to call home.  😉

Holla Back:::What about you?  Do you feel like you take on unnecessary guilt as a mom, or do you feel like your a momma ninja whose got this thing parenting thing under control? Post a comment below to share! 


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  1. Hi Tiffiney!
    I have never cleaned a whole chicken either and I grew up on a farm and we had chickens that my mother knew how to “dress”, but never passed on to me. I’m not mad about it. She taught me other things like how to make a killer pie with homemade flaky crust using lard for heavens sake. My husband would vote for the skill of pie any day versus handling a whole chicken. You can buy a chicken in almost any way you desire at the store without a lot of stress, but buying a great pie at the local grocery store likely won’t happen!

    Loved this post!


    • Pie…you make pie, Pam?! Yes! That’s soooo much better than knowing how to clean a yucky chicken. But I didn’t even learn how to make that! Lol!

      Why has it taken you so long to stop by my blog? I think I got my deliverance from reading your comment. You grew up on a farm and never learned, either? I’m not alone……

      Come back soon, my sister!

  2. I too have never cleaned a chicken, like one fresh from the farm….. There are so many things I feel that I need to teach my kids! I’m sure I will leave out some things but hopefully we will get the most important things in! Thanks for this hilarious post! Have a great Wednesday!

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