Monday, December 21, 2009

Cook 4 Hire

Uninspired. Unmotivated. Underwhelmed. Not about Christmas, but about cooking. I calculated that I cook, on average, 1,075 meals a year. (I cook breakfast for my boys most morning: eggs, sausage, toast etc.) I’m not feeling it this month. I usually gear up for my big monthly shopping trip with a bit of vigor. I sit on the couch (with comfy hot drink in hand), spread my cookbooks out, gather up my coupons, lay out my paper, and vigorously plan. I figure on four major meals a week that I then base leftovers and lunches on. Maybe it is the holidays. Maybe Thanksgiving took it all out of me. Not sure, but this time around I was pooped out. I looked at my cookbooks and sighed, “I just can’t do it this month. I need a break.” (Someone suggested that I needed new cookbooks, but I’m pretty sure that is not the root of the problem.)

My solution... I downsized; I just planned five meals, made my grocery list and went small scale. It felt better. I was more at ease. I could actually take all three boys with me; we did all our shopping in under an hour. It all fit nicely in the van, and no one had to straddle milk or eggs on our drive home. Unpacking went pretty fast too. My short list that now hangs on my fridge seems attainable. Maybe I’m trying to simplify due to the craziness of the season?

However, I’m going to have to do this next week, and the week after, and.....that does not sound especially exciting. Now I regret not planning and pushing myself to do my huge, once-a-month grocery trip. I don’t want quality time with my boys to be driving, shopping, and hauling. I’d rather hear them playing in the other room while I spend my extra moments writing and escaping....quality time, right?

I have some newly acquired friends who seem to thrive under their motherly cooking duties. They derive great joy that exudes to all people when they stir and simmer in the kitchen. I just get it done. I like the results of my efforts. I love sitting and eating as a family. I’d rather eat in the relaxed atmosphere of my home than at a restaurant with boys who turn into monkeys and climb the furniture, chat with random people, and are always finished eating before we, the adults, have even begun our soup or salad. But the process of planning, cooking, and cleaning up is not life-giving to me.

I think my husband has it pretty good. (Not that I would trade places with him. I love that he goes off to work, and that I stay here.) However, I can’t help but be a bit jealous watching him come home each evening to sit down to a meal that he didn’t have to prepare. Isn’t that what is the most fun about eating out? Not having to plan it or clean it up? Order, eat, and walk away. I’d love, just for one month, to hire a cook or even a professional shopper. Actually, I’d like a domestic assistant this year for Christmas. I would have plenty for them to do: fold laundry (including the arduous job of matching socks), prepare all meals, clean the kitchen floor after each meal, disinfect the bathrooms, make all the beds, run daily and weekly errands....oh, and a nightly massage. Just for one month. I don’t think I’m asking too much. I’m just asking for another me, right? In your dreams honey.

8 comments:

Sarah and the Gentlemen said...

I would love someone to lay out a simple meal plan for me. Following directions is easy for me; it is considering the nutritional needs and tastes of everyone that is daunting.

Diana (Ladybug Limited) said...

As one of your mommy friends, I just have to make sure you know that I do not relish cooking duties! Cooking is a chore that ranks right up there with scrubbing toilets for me. In fact, I regularly get out of it and Greg does most of the actual cooking...

But yeah, I would love to have someone else keep house so that I could make crafts with the kiddos-- this time of year that's all they want to do!

Jen Rouse said...

In the first paragraph...do you mean to say you normally plan four major meals a week? Right now it says only four per month. If that really is what you mean, I definitely want tips on how you make leftovers stretch that much!

As far as cooking, I do love it. But I hate the cleaning up. I too want a domestic assistant to come and do pretty much ALL of my household chores, except cooking. Before she moved Amy Keen and I kept saying we ought to swap--I would cook a bunch of meals for her and she would come clean my house for me, because she actually loves to clean. Now that my number of kids and the resulting messes has just multiplied, I'm really kicking myself for not taking her up on that. A house that someone else cleaned for me is my dream come true.

Nina said...

When I get bogged down I joke that I need a "wife" to help me keep up! That would be so awesome! Dish washer and house cleaner for hire!!!

Yelitza said...

That's it, I am bringing you a meal next week!

Yelitza said...

I really think it's because there is so much more to do during the holidays. The list is already long before the holidays and then it just grows exponentially with all the expectations we mainly put on ourselves. It really doesn't have to all get done if you think about it. The tree, the cards, the lights on the house, the lights inside the house, the decorations, the food, the pictures and the haircuts and clothe for the pictures and on and on... sure its nice but not worth your sanity if it doesn't get done. So maybe the cookbook with pictures wasn't the problem solver or even getting inspired through a you tube video might not do much for you. I think you are right and did the best thing by simplifying as much as you can, wherever you can. After all the sign does hang in your kitchen wall reminding you haha. I do think however that leaving your kids with us while you go do something would really help both of us out. My kids love your kids and vice versa. we all win.

Rebekah said...

That's it! I'm dropping the kids off next time I come into town!

Oh, I wish my excuse for cooking woes was the holidays, but I don't ever really love that part of my house duties.

Yes, Jen, I must fix that mistake. 4 major meals a week....

Rebekah said...

I'm really pulling some mistakes lately. Well, I deserve it. I poked fun at someone for their mistake on Facebook the other day. Ah well.