I bought into so many of the pinterest fables when I first had kids. I couldn’t wait for my kid to be big enough to stand at the counter with me to use her Montessori inspired kitchen tools. Matching aprons mandatory.
Now she’s 3 and I’m 3 years the wiser.
Most days having my kid in the kitchen with me is a giant pain in the ass. Kind of like most of parenthood. And just like all of the other herculean parenting tasks we take on it’s still worth it (most days).
Why I Hate Cooking with My Kid:
1. The Mess
She makes a mess. Every time, unfailingly. Sometimes it’s a big mess- flour covering every square inch of the kitchen floor. Sometimes it’s a bit of sauce spilled on the counter having been stirred with more enthusiasm than the bowl could contain. I like cooking, I HATE cleaning.
2. The Questions.
It’s a constant barrage. Somedays I’m tempted to make a sign for my kitchen that lets everyone know that a full ban on the question mark is in effect at all times. I wonder if you an find that on pinterest?
3. Things Aren’t Done Perfectly.
I’ll admit it, I have a slight problem with perfectionism. When she dumps the shredded mozzarella into a tall mound on the corner of the lasagna my inner type A personality cringes.
4. It Takes More Time.
Instead of being able to set up an efficient work space I have to set things up to make it as easy as possible for her to help. Oh and I have to stop and answer questions, clean up messes, and redistribute mozzarella.
5. The Company.
I’m an introvert who spends almost every waking moment in the company of two kids. Sometimes cooking is the only time I get to retreat back into my lovely bubble and recharge. And drink wine. Both are hard to do when she’s cooking with me. The wine will inevitably get spilled (see #1).
Why I do It Anyway:
1. Food Skills
I want to send my kids out into the world with a set of food skills they absorbed during their childhood. This means creating food out of real ingredients has to be as everyday to her as brushing her teeth.
2. Brings her into my world.
Being a STHM is not a natural thing for me. I enjoy it well enough most days, but often I feel I’m wearing a Mom mask. When my daughter cooks with me I get to share a part of the real person I am. I have a natural confidence in the kitchen that makes it easy for me to clearly set limits and expectations. I struggle with doing that in our day to day lives.
I am a sap for holidays and traditions. I’m 80% sure the main reason I had kids was for Christmastime (and how awesome is it that that is a real word?). Food traditions are one of the few things that cut across all cultures, past and present. I am afraid by letting factories do our cooking we are also going to lose the memories that are created while preparing the foods together. I want to use those opportunities to bond with my kids in the middle of the hectic lives we live. So yeah having my kid in the kitchen doesn’t look like the pinterest shots. I can only imagine it’s going to get worse as the 1 year old starts to join in. Still worth it. Might need more wine though.