I mean when you have spent so many years building a life that your comfortable with, and a role for yourself your comfortable with, when that changes; who are you?
I was the young stay at home mom. I sat down on Sunday nights with 10 cookbooks, countless cooking magazines, a shopping list and a note pad. I would spend a few hours
slowly going through all of them, searching for recipes I knew my family would not only eat, but love. I dog-eared pages. Then went back through a second time, choosing one dinner for each night of the week. I wrote my shopping list out, and posted the menu to the refrigerator door.
I baked things.
No I mean, actually backed them. As in from scratch, no box in sight! I sifted flour for homemade cakes. I chilled dough overnight for fresh apple pie. I added secret ingredients to chocolate chip cookies, to improve their nutritional value! I spent one night a week pureeing vegetables and squashes to freeze so they could be stealthfully added to every conceivable dish without my family noticing.
I taught my son at 3 years old, how to set a proper table. You know the kind, charger under the china, 2 forks, wine glasses, name tags. Yes he knew where every item went, could set it on his own.
I hosted Christmas and Thanksgiving because I knew I was the only one who would make every dish from scratch, starting 2 days in advance.
I made my own baby food.
I clipped coupons.
I picked fresh roses from the garden and dispersed them strategically throughout the house, so their scent could be caught from room to room.
I made coffee in a French press.
I waxed floors. On my hands and knees.
I mowed lawns.
I painted rooms.
I threw BBQ’s and cocktail parties. Cookie exchange parties and Christmas parties.
I made homemade lasagna for my friends when they had babies.
I had our day planed out in 30 minute intervals on the refrigerator door.
I was a good mom.
I managed to retain the intimacy in my marriage, despite a crazy hectic life with 3 babies. I laughed at his jokes. Made sure the fridge was stocked with Coors Light. Packed his lunches, with the only sandwich he would eat, ham/cheddar/and sweet pickles.
I thought I was a good wife.
But who am I now?
I don’t have time for any of that now. When I get home from work, my kids are so hungry they are in melt-down mode. They are all fussing, and making mac n cheese would take about 15 minutes too long. I’m ashamed to say, they no longer get fresh-frozen puree in a home cooked dinner every night.
On Sunday mornings we still make our family tradition of chocolate chip pancakes, but my son complains because they don’t taste like they used to (secret ingredient, ½ cup pureed sweet potato, now missing from the equation). Same goes for the mac n cheese, “it’s not the good kind” (1/2 cup pureed yams, makes it creamy).
The Martha Stewart thing I had down.
The working, single mom thing, I’m not so sure. When you go from one extreme to the other, it’s hard not to be critical (and for those who knew you as Martha Stewart not to be critical) of the job you do now.
I will never be that mom again. At least not anytime soon. I lament it every day. I morn it every day. But I need to face facts. I don’t have the time. I am doing this 24/7 alone. I work full-time to make sure my kids have food to eat and a home (all be it, not the kind we were used to) to live in.
I have no choice.
This is survival.