There are certain things that innately go with parenthood: Laundry, lecturing, cleaning, and cooking are just a few. Like all mothers (and fathers) I accept my mission and attempt to complete these tasks with a smile and a positive attitude– grateful for the opportunity to serve my family and show my love in some tangible way. I will happily match the socks and pick up those toys with pride. And I can certainly lecture with the best of them.
There is one mom responsibility, however, that I will never ever embrace and that is cooking. I’ve tried. I’ve really, really tried. But I have finally accepted the fact that I do not, nor will I ever like cooking. Simply put, cooking sucks. And here are just ten of the reasons why…
1. Nothing you are expected to do 3-5 times a day, 7 days a week is pleasant. I don’t care if you’re offering up sex or chocolate- 3-5 times a day, 7 days a week makes even the sweetest love and the sweetest morsel a chore.
2. Cooking requires food. Having food requires I go to the grocery store. Going to the grocery store is never convenient. I can go during the day while the children are at school but that requires planning of epic proportions to find the time between client phone calls, work emails, doing the laundry and volunteering at school. Of course I could always go in the afternoon when the children are out of school. But the children are out of school. This means they would go with me. To the grocery store. Nothing good comes from bringing my children to the grocery store. Unless you consider saying, “No, we aren’t going to buy that” 43 times a “good” thing. I won’t even get into self- amputating my fingers so I can bring all the bags into the house in one trip or the fact that in order to put this newly acquired food away, I have to empty the refrigerator of the remains from my last trip to the grocery store.
3. “Cooking” is misleading. It fails to include “planning” and “prepping”. No matter how simple the recipe, there are always multiple steps, ingredients and tools necessary. And without fail, as soon as everything is washed, diced,chopped, salted and ready to be dropped into a perfectly heated pan… one of the children will undoubtedly need help with homework, have a question that needs to be addressed immediately, or is suddenly “not hungry”.
4. After the prepping and the cooking, comes the eating. Actual ingestion of the meal you prepared is like reading an exciting mystery. How will it end? Will everyone be pleasantly satisfied? Will there be cajoling and convincing that they will like it I’d they’d just take a bite? Will the entire meal be buried in Parmesan cheese? Or will it be a 3 Bite Night: 1-2-3 “I’m full! Can I have dessert?”
5. Clean-Up. There’s always clean-up. No amount of satisfaction for a healthy meal created or culinary accomplishment makes up for the amount of clean-up waiting for me as soon as everyone has vacated their seats and disappeared from sight. In fact, I would say the ratio of culinary satisfaction to prep time, bite- convincing and clean up is approximately 1:eleventy billion.
6. Left Overs. Considering the amount of time it took me to shop for, prep, cook, cajole and clean-up do you honestly think I want to see any part of this meal again? I didn’t think so.
7. The Guessing Game. How many bodies will be at the table? Will Hubs be home at a reasonable hour? Will he be eating at home? Has he already eaten at work? Did he have a late lunch with clients while I had a spoonful of almond butter and 2 grapes?
8. I have to eat with them. I know Claire Huxtable would be mortified if she read this, but I don’t always like eating with my children. The Family Table is really just another stage on which the kids perform fart jokes, demonstrate the versatility of the word “poop” and share long winded stories about video games I don’t understand. Is it really so bad to let them watch TV while we eat?
9. Multiple meal parts: Why can’t I just make an entree and call it a day? Does there have to be a veggie or side dish? Have you forgotten the amount of pots, pans, knives and ingredients it took just to make the main course? And the whole “hiding the veggies in the meal” doesn’t work either. Kids can locate every green speck and manage to eat around it or gag/complain through every bite.
10. Without fail, within 30 minutes of the last dish being cleared, washed, and left to dry for 3 days I will hear these words, “I’m hungry. Can I have a snack?”