For the past few years, my husband has slowly but surely been taking over the cooking in our household. This has been a godsend for me. I used to love cooking, but when the kids were small, the endless noodles and chicken nuggets wore me out. We used to have dinner parties a lot and I loved preparing interesting food, yet even that fell by the wayside as cooking lost its charm for me.
Every time we sit down for a meal, Kevin goes on and on and on about how great and fresh and cheap his home-cooked food is. And yes, he’s right, it is great and fresh and cheap, but this constant self praise ends up making me feel bad.
Was my cooking really so poor, unfresh and expensive for the past 15 years? Didn’t I slave away when the kids were babes trying to get them to eat their vegetables–broiling and sauteeing and steaming desperately?
Thinking about this made me realize once again how invisible much of the daily work we do for our kids is. We try so hard to be good mothers and so rarely get praised for our efforts.
So what can we do about this? What do I do? Thank God I have my writing and my career, which makes me feel invested and passionate and gives me a sense of self. I don’t take the implied criticism too hard as a result.
I also remind myself to really be grateful for the help I get. Not everyone’s husband is making chicken parmigiana or pulled pork after a long days work! I can take a little excess in the self congratulation department if it means I don’t have to think up yet another meal.