The weather turned cooler this week, and the calendar officially welcomed Fall, so right on queue my baking instincts have started kicking in.
Now, I’m not much of a cook and I’m certainly not a food blogger (as my non-Pinterest “worthy” pictures will attest) but I do love to bake. I have ever since I was a teenager. I love measuring and mixing and the chemistry aspect to it. I like recipes that tell you step by step what to do, and I even love baking complicated things. When I need to relax, if I’m not reaching for my knitting needles then I’m probably reaching for my oven mitts.
I remember, not that many years ago, when baking was something I did at night after the kids were in bed. Sometimes it is still that way, long solo baking sessions where I can make every thing just so. But more often than not, these days I share the experience, and the resulting havoc, with my kids.
For me, baking with my children can either be about forced efficiency and picture perfect results (and major stress) … or it can be about purposefully deciding to let go, live in the moment, and practice all of that patient, mindful, uncomplicated parenting that I preach.
In other words, I think baking with the kids is as good for me as it is for them.
I want us to have that time together, and I want them to grow up comfortable in the kitchen, even if it means a mess is made and I’m forced to slow down a little bit and move at a child’s pace. Just like in art, sometimes making a mess and letting go of expectations is part of the baking experience.
So, today, another busy day in a busy week (oh, how I dislike being busy!) when I felt too rushed and my To Do list loomed menacingly, I was looking for a break and a chance to connect with my kids.
My eyes landed on a pile of cookie cutters I had given my toddler to play with while the big kids and I worked on math lessons earlier in the day. The bright shapes inspired me to grind the rest of my evening plans to a halt and spend the time baking with my favorite people, even though it meant adding a few more tasks before bedtime.
My husband raised an eyebrow, after all the littlest girls had already had their baths, but Christopher is used to my whims by now and agreed with me that a slightly later bedtime was worth it in exchange for some time in the kitchen with these kiddos of ours and the chance to end the day on a positive note.
Plus, you know, cookies.
As I shared on Instagram:
I spent most of my first 27 years obsessed with “just right” and “perfect.” Thankfully, I’ve had the last twelve years of motherhood to get over that and have some fun! Here’s to the beauty of the perfectly imperfect
It is true. Motherhood has changed me for the better. And while I may joke sometimes that they have taken years off of my life with their antics, the truth is that these kids have given me a life worth living. They’ve worn down my sharp edges and helped me to become a gentler, more patient person.
There is so much joy and beauty in these messy, slow, silly family moments and most of the time it doesn’t even take much effort to uncover it, just remembering to do so. These are the “little things” that everyone talks about, the pearls that we parents string together, the memories we treasure.
I hate to think that sometimes I get too busy to notice it, that sometimes I get to impatient to appreciate it, or even that at times I don’t invite these moments when I have the chance to.
I’m human, not a perfect parent, by any means. So, I’m sure that I’ll hurry, I’ll rush, and I’ll worry too much in the future.
But, tonight it was a perfectly imperfect evening and I enjoyed every lovely minute.
(I even left the dishes for tomorrow).