I think we all had dreams of what motherhood would look like before we were in the trenches.
I pictured myself in a cute apron with the kids gathered around the bar as we made cookies together. My dream looked something like this with maybe a few more kids:
I was just sure I would be a mom that would bake with my kids because that is what nurturing moms do, right?
I tried for years to make baking together work, but I found myself too stressed and uptight. I would yell or snap or give disapproving looks to the kids as they tried to help. I think my stress had something to do with my lack of confidence in my baking abilities, combined with the fact that baking with kids takes longer, there is more mess, and there is more likelihood that all the ingredients aren’t going to make it into the mixer. Baking together was not a happy, bonding experience.
So after years of botched recipes, fights over who gets to measure the sugar, and flour dumped all over the counter instead of the bowl, I recently officially gave myself permission to bag the dream of baking all together.
I declared out loud that I do not have to bake with my children and I can still be a good mom.
Now I bake the cookies by myself as the kids play or as they sit at the counter and watch. There is less stress and less fighting. I have redefined nurturing to mean serving them warm cookies and milk instead of baking cookies together. My new definition is working much better for me.
I know kids still need to learn how to cook. So I still bake with my kids on their Letter of the Week activities or if I am trying to teach them something specific or if I have some one on one time. And I do still enjoy working in the kitchen with them around dinner time.
Just last week Croft was snapping asparagus, Crew was setting the table and Elle was cutting french bread. Children do need to be comfortable in the kitchen, but just not right now when I bake cookies.
I do believe that mothers are charged with the nurturing of their children. But I want you, as mothers, to know that you can define nurturing in a way that works best for you and your family in the stage that you are in. And it is okay to let some mothering dreams die and birth new ones.
As long as the kids feel loved and cared for, there are a hundred different ways to nurture. And it doesn’t have to be in a cute apron gathered around a mixer.