Friday, September 2, 2011

The Hard Stuff

Ethan has been working really diligently on earning his Wolf for Cub Scouts. We lost his scout book somehow in the move madness, but now he has a new book and is planning on earning his Wolf in the next month or so. I think he just may do it. He's pretty motivated, so we're striking while the iron is hot. On Tuesday he planned all our meals and helped cook breakfast. This is what it looks like when your 8-year-old tries to flip the fried eggs himself.

I did get some of the egg back in the pan to the right, but we still enjoyed the smell of burning egg on the cook top for the rest of the time it took us to cook the pancakes. Awesome. Luckily it wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it might be to clean it. Most of it peeled off, and I got the rest off with a razor blade rather quickly. But this experience of cooking with Ethan (and of course Jeff and Sam who would not be left out) made me face a shameful fact about myself.

I don't enjoy cooking with my kids.

I know! I hate admitting it out loud, or out blog, but it's true. It always starts out pretty great. I get the kids in their little aprons and pull out the mixer, or whatever we're using, and all the ingredients. I feel like such a good mom as we get started. But then as things progress I find it almost painful as they bicker about who got more turns, crush eggshell into the batter, spill half the flour on the counter instead of the bowl, stick their spitty hands in for a taste, etc. I try my darndest to find the right balance of direction and teaching while also letting them do things on their own. You see, my kids (maybe all kids) don't really want to cook with me. They just would like me to give them directions via video conference while they stand on chairs in the kitchen and create perfection all on their own. We have an artistic difference of opinion on that point.

But just because I don't enjoy it, doesn't mean I don't do it. The truth of the matter is that being a mom is not easy. And being a good mom is hard. If we only did the mom jobs we enjoy then no baby's face would ever get wiped, let alone their backside. No screaming toddler would ever get his teeth brushed. No grumpy kindergartener would ever have the knots combed out of his hair. And we'd never get to experience the truly great mother moments that sometimes come after the hard stuff. Like having clean children all snug in their beds.

So I cook with my kids. And it isn't all bad. Sometimes it's fun. But even though I fully remember all the times it isn't so fun, almost every time my kids ask me if they can help me cook, I say yes. Because it's pretty great that my kids want to spend time with me in the kitchen. I know the day may come that standing in the kitchen with me adding flour to the bread dough will not be super exciting. And then I'll wish for a few more of those minutes with my kids standing on chairs up to the kitchen counter. But I probably won't wish for the bickering part. Or the burnt egg smell. Maybe just the beginning part and then the eating part at the end. I'll leave the middle part hazy.


Kate said...

Good post, Hil. Trying to be a good mom is HARD. I do cook with my kids, too. And inevitably, it makes a giant mess. But it does create great memories for me and for them. It's nice to hear that someone else struggles with the not-so-easy parts of parenting as well.

I love the pictures of your boys. They made my heart smile. Thanks for sharing!

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