Someone (Else) in my Kitchen (A Year in Our Kitchen 2013 – #3)

by Laura on January 22, 2013

in A Year in Our Kitchen 2013

Addie450X600The kitchen is one of the most-used rooms in the house. Or rather, one of the rooms I use the most.

The family is well aware of the effort I put into preparing them meals, snacks, and celebration cakes. When they want to find me – they look in the kitchen.

I do spend a good amount of time in the kitchen. By ‘a good amount’ I mean, I’m there, every day preparing three meals and snacks. Yes, it’s more than most Americans do, but it is what I want to do, and what I enjoy doing (most of the time.)

I have the advantage of working from home, so I am able to slip into the kitchen and start preparing the evening’s meal if need be, in the afternoon. But, for times when I’m not at home, or find myself driving the kids to and from this and that, I still get it done – thanks to planning ahead.

If asked, the kids would say, the kitchen is mine. It is my domain. I know where everything is located. I know what is planned for the week. I know if that red pepper is for snacking, or allocated to a dinner three days from now.

I run a pretty tight ship. But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like a bit of help.

And, I’ve been terrible about asking for help. It’s not that they don’t offer – as the kids often ask if they could help. But when I’m in the heat of preparing dinner, and they ask to help, I find  myself shooing them away – after all, I’m time-crunched, and having another person (who needs instruction) would just slow me down.

The same it true of Greg. He is always willing to help, but knows that when I’m in my groove, his ‘help’ may be a hindrance.

Clearly, the desire to help is there, but I’ve resisted it, and because I’ve resisted it, I’ve created a situation where I’m doing it all, when I don’t need to be doing it all.

This week I loosened the reigns a bit.

I had had enough of afterschool munching – and the kids leaving dishes, cups and a mess everywhere – awaiting me to clean it up. I’m tired of the scattering of kids into their rooms when I announce that I need help setting the table. I’m tired of them sitting on the sidelines playing, while I’m rushing to make dinner, and someone announces that they don’t like the meal I’m preparing.

Really – I’ve waited too long – trying to efficiently handle things myself. This week, I welcomed someone else into my kitchen.

Here’s how it happened:

After my ‘Frazzled Mom’ lecture (a five minute soliloquy pointing out the struggles I have late afternoon as I’m trying to get dinner made, and everyone wants a snack, dirties more dishes, and leaves them all over the place, blah, blah, blah.) Following my venting session, both Addie and Nicole found their way into the kitchen, asking if they could help. I had to embrace the help and not think about how it would slow me down. I took a deep breath and wondered how they could each help. I set one up with the onions in the mini chopper, while the other helped me sauté the vegetables. During the next 20 minutes, the three of us boiled, sautéed, and stirred together, enjoying a bit of conversation, and (for them) a sense of pride over helping make the meal.

I turned around, and the table was already set, and the dinner was ready to go.

It isn’t as if the family is never in the kitchen helping. But I guess this time, I made the decision to make it a daily occurrence. Someone was going to help me with the meal, and we were going to enjoy the time spent together.

I think I just may have the hand of it – loosening my reigns on the kitchen. When Sunday morning arrived, and I needed to get into the city for a trade show., I pulled out the roast for the evening, and began thinking about fixing dinner in the slow cooker, getting it all ready for the evening. I immediately stopped and let go of that thought.  “No,” I said to myself. “It is 7 a.m., stop thinking about dinner and let someone else do it.”

I waited until Greg was up and ready for the day, before briefing him on what would be for dinner, and that he would need to get it going in the slow cooker before he came to pick me up this evening.

I left it at that, and left for work.

Late in the afternoon I checked my voicemail. I had a series of messages form Greg asking for help. “How do I work this thing? (i.e. the slow cooker). Next message, “Call me.” Followed by four similar messages, each one getting later in the day, later than the time I would have started the meal.

I tried him back, but he never picked up. I decided not to think about it . . . I was 15 miles away, unable to do much about the situation.

When he picked me up, I got the run-down on his trials and tribulations in the kitchen. All in all, he pulled through and figured out the ‘slow cooker thing.’ He even threw in some veggies and braised the roast before putting it in the cooker.

Thirty minutes later, we were home and sitting down to dinner – and I didn’t have to lift a finger.

I have officially relinquished the crown in the kitchen. It is no longer Mom’s Domain, but rather Everyone’s Domain.

 

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