I love my kids, but still there were times when I used to count the years until they would be gone. Sometimes I didn’t know if I would make it emotionally, if you know what I mean! I was pretty much a failure, in my mind at least, at being a good mom. We lived in suburbia, where it’s easy to get the feeling that everyone silently judges you, by the clothes you wear, what you do or what you don’t do.
There was the time I was dropping my son off at preschool, with baby #2 in arm, when another mother handed me a trash bag of baby girl clothes. She told me that she kept forgetting that my second child was a girl, since I didn’t dress her that way. Message to me: You don’t even know how to dress a baby. (OK, maybe I was stretching my son’s hand-me-downs a bit far…)
Another time I managed to kill both of our pet guinea pigs by letting them “get some fresh air”. (Who knew guinea pigs can’t take full sun?) I am certain if I went back to my kids’ elementary school that story is still going around. I was at a cocktail party last year and after talking about kids, and schools, and pets with one woman, she declared, “Oh, you are the mother who killed your guinea pigs! My kids told me about that.” Message to me: Once a loser, always a loser. People don’t forget your failures.
And then of course there was my neighbor, who always showed up at dinner time, always for a different reason, but always on the day when I was putting pot stickers into the frying pan. This was my go-to meal when all else failed, when I had no plan. The kids loved these Peking Raviolis, and so I always kept some in the freezer. They were easy. On my worst, most hurried and stressed days, my neighbor would show up, big smile, and then say, “Let me guess – you are having Pot Stickers again!” I swear, she had a knack of knowing just when to show up, to make me feel inadequate. Message to me: You don’t even know how to cook. Not even a clue.
The good news? Despite my clear ineptitudes (or maybe because of them), my three kids have turned out fine. They grew up. They went off to college. They moved out of the house, got jobs, and have found life partners. They are making good decisions.
So here I am at a different stage, trying to fill the void and fill my lingering feelings of ineptitude with some sense of mastery. I started using the Dinner Daily, at first on a whim and to avoid trying to figure out “yet another dinner”, but then continued because I felt healthier, leaner, and most importantly, more confident. I find I can be successful, inventive, and cook without repetition or feeling like it is a burden. It still shocks to me to realize I already have the groceries FOR THE WHOLE WEEK in my fridge, and that I will be making several healthy nutritious meals with little effort. The meals even look pretty on the plate. While my friends moan about not knowing what they are preparing, I can now give an easy suggestion or two. I have even shared a couple recipes with my daughter-in-law.
And, perhaps most ironically, my kids have become foodies! They obsess about it, and when we are all together, this is the main subject we discuss. Two of my children now use The Dinner Daily too, and we send photos back and forth to each other (see a couple below!) commenting on our favorite recipes, and what we are making that night. So even though they no longer live at home, I feel a connection to them, daily, thanks in part to a brilliantly simple menu planning service. And I finally feel capable. (Don’t these dishes look great?)
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