Being a homeschoolin' Mama to eight requires, as my friend Barb says, 'wearing a lot of hats.' Over that past two or three years, I've found myself resenting/dreading/slacking in the area of cooking for my family. It just seemed like one more task to try to fit in, and often I failed to plan, so after a successful day of homeschooling, at about 4:47, I'd suddenly think, "Oh--DINNER!!" Cooking felt like an endlessly-undone task. I was simply trying to stave my begging children off for another 2.3 hours every time I fed them. My husband has come home some weeks asking innocently, "So, what kind of frozen pizza are we having tonight?"
Plus, I've never been one to really enjoy cooking. My Mom was too kind and gentle on me as a teenager, and I was never required to do much of anything in the kitchen, including cleanup. I distinctly remember calling her during my newly-wed days, asking her how to make tea. I kid you not. My Mom and Mother-in-law were surely snickering behind their hands, but were gracious to give me tips, recipes, and ideas over those first years. Kevin was blinded by love and endured a lot of sub-par food. Ask him about the tuna casserole event.
These days, the world seems full of people who love to cook and create in the kitchen, but maybe there are some of you out there who feel as I have. Recently The Lord has allowed me some insight that has really helped my attitude and motivation, and maybe it will encourage you, too.
As a child, I remember having a certain feeling when my Mom was in the kitchen cooking or baking. There was a sort of anticipation, and a sense of security. Though unable to articulate it at the time, I felt loved and cared for. Even when the menu included something I considered gross, I never doubted that dinner would be on the table and perhaps if I ingested the gross stuff, there would be dessert. I liked it when Mom was in the kitchen.
Even as an adult, food has clearly communicated love to me at times when I've been on the receiving end of a nice meal. After the birth of each of our children, kind friends have showered us with dinners to give us a helping hand. Probably near a hundred meals, if I were to figure ten or so for each child's birth. What a simple but powerful way to put love in action for a tired and sore Mama and her adjusting family!
So, lately it's helped my motivation and creativity to remember that I'm giving my children that same subtle feeling of security when I'm creating something in the kitchen. There's so much more involved in making a home for your family, but food is a big part of it. I certainly no gourmet cook, but I'm hoping that even my small efforts will communicate love to my clan.