Do you ever spend so much time around kids that your eyes start to cross a little bit?
I’m grateful to be able to be here any time I am needed, but sometimes I need an escape in my own house, you know what I mean? I really enjoy making things from scratch every now and again and I like to spend time in the kitchen. Yes, really.
When I was growing up, my mom would stay up late past dinnertime and take her time cleaning up the kitchen and doing dishes by hand. I took it for granted that she would just do it and didn’t offer to help much, aside from a brief stint where it was a part of my chore list.
I’m sure I probably thought, why does she take so long to do that stuff? She didn’t ask for help very often. And now that I’m a mom, I totally get it.
You don’t really want to leave the house, but sometimes you just need a brain break so bad, even household tasks will do, and you become suddenly motivated to keep your mind occupied with something productive.
I love to bake, I really do. I don’t do it every day, but sometimes I just get this urge to do a baking/cooking marathon and I really go to town.
In one week I made banana bread, an apple crisp, a big pot of chili, and for the weekend lunch I slow-cooked a roast the night before for 11 hours, made homemade mashed potatoes and mixed veggies from a can (because nobody’s perfect) and fresh blueberry muffins for dessert.
I started out making a huge batch of mini-muffins, but then I got tired. Variety is good.
My husband has been working a lot and I’m grateful the work is plentiful, but I’ve needed my great kitchen escape a little more lately.
Of course with kids in the mix, it’s a lot of stop and go and I almost always have to scrape my signature grilled cheese sandwiches that I usually make with the chili.
And my muffins always peak because I get excited and just can’t stop myself from over mixing.
My family reaps the benefits of my cooking frenzies but it really is for me. It’s a great release, relief for aging fruit, and a good distraction when I need a break but need to feel like I’ve done something useful.
There’s something about the mental break from endless kids tv show theme songs, checking my freelance work email a hundred times, and the general stresses of life to concentrate on something else. I love creating something from scratch and find comfort in busy work. It also keeps me from biting my nails so much.
Auto-pilot is good. And for some reason, I end up with more hugs from the kids when there are homemade sweets in the house.
We don’t have a very big house so the kids are always close by (and hearing them is never a problem) so I like a little time to myself for kitchen therapy. Sometimes I listen to gospel on the radio, leadership podcasts, or Guns N Roses, it varies.
Of course, the awesome side effect of cooking marathons is the dishes in the sink. But I find even doing dishes by hand can be soothing. I mostly use the dishwasher, but not everything fits every time.
So the warm, soapy water and a squeaky clean by hand is surprisingly comforting, as well as the soft sound of the spatula against the sides of a plastic bowl as I mix dry ingredients.
I try not to leave the dishes piled up. I groan a lot less in the morning if I walk into a kitchen that is put back together in the morning.
It isn’t always clean, but it almost always beats what the living room looks like.
I’m all about kids helping out with household chores as I shared about in my School Of Mom series, but sometimes it’s just nice to not ask for help, do it yourself and carry on in peace to recharge.
Thanks, mom! 🙂