I have a confession: I hate cooking. Really, I make a terrible Southern woman.
When I met my husband, his culinary expertise immediately hooked me. After our first food-inspired date night, I wanted to try my hand at chocolate fondue. I am quite good at following recipes, so I added a few ingredients to create the perfect luscious sauce. Only it was a disaster. And somehow it didn’t even taste like chocolate.
I knew I had a keeper when he told me he loved it. Marry that man.
Last week that same sweet fellow traveled for work, and I could not bring myself to cook in his absence. Not one single time.
Does this make me a bad mother?
Honestly, it’s a thought that I ponder more than I should. I think motherhood opens the floodgates for all kinds of insecurities, and one of mine is that I am not enough of a traditional woman for my children.
I don’t prepare meals.
I don’t sew for hobby or otherwise.
I don’t enjoy wearing heels, dresses, or jewelry.
With little people watching me, I find myself increasingly concerned with how I am shaping their views of womanhood. This is, of course, more acute in the South, where food – for better or worse – is always the answer.
If I dig deep enough, I can remember sitting on our family washing machine while my mother so religiously made dinner each night. I lived for our conversations over cheesy 90s pop music. Think Michael Bolton. And, yet, despite all that mother-daughter bonding, I can’t for the life of me remember any skill that I gained in the kitchen.
Somewhere in my mind, I fear how my children will remember the mother of their childhood. What invaluable knowledge will I teach them? And will they resent what they never learned?
Luckily, for me (and mothers everywhere), the future only comes one day a time and children are the most forgiving of humans.
Despite my own shortcomings, my children and I pieced together three meals from leftovers in the fridge last week, which means I didn’t make any big messes or small fires in the kitchen.
I think that by loving our children and by embracing who we truly are in their presence, we can become the parents of our children’s dreams. And maybe, if they are very lucky, they will find someone amazing to begin life with over a ruined dessert.