For the last two months there has been a courgette languishing in the bottom of our fridge. It is not always the same courgette. Every so often I accept that the old courgette is no longer usable and I replace it with a new one. I have been partaking in this wasteful ritual because I am convinced that one day, I will make sugar free courgette cake for my children. But secretly I know I will not make sugar free courgette cake for my children because I currently have neither the time or inclination to make sugar free courgette cake for my children.
It is time for me to stop buying courgettes.
What I need to do instead, is accept that at this point in my life whipping up a homemade storm in the kitchen during my spare time is really not a priority. It seems I set myself up with these little unnecessary tasks, purely to create little unnecessary failures.
The quickest path actually is sometimes the best one
Shortcuts are not a bad thing
Neither is a piece of cake with sugar in.
What’s the obsession with making everything from scratch, anyway? The courgette cake I have been fake planning to make is dairy free as well as sugar free, and due to family intolerances is more of a motivator. But last week I was looking for a pesto based recipe to try the kids with – pesto has always equalled healthy and quick to me. But all I could find were dishes where ingredients for making the ACTUAL PESTO were included.
Sometimes life really baffles me.
Here is a concise list of things I could do in the time it takes to make pesto:
1. Have a bath
2. Read two chapters of a book
3. Do my nails
4. Start a blog post on why life is too short to make your own pesto
5. Play an epic Hide & Seek game with my kids
6. Clean the kitchen floor (which I won’t, but I could).
There are many more things that could be added to this list – making pesto takes about twenty minutes apparently – so knock yourself out thinking of other more worthwhile activities and let me have them.
And as well as the time, have you seen the ingredients required? Pinenuts and fresh basil and unicorn hair etc. Exactly what the average person doesn’t have handy in their fridge or cupboard. Unless you are a chef, then I suppose the sourcing and prepping of unicorn hair is pretty much par for the course.
And before someone screams at me about salt content, I know a jar of pesto is more salty. Let me pause for a moment to try and give a crap about that.
Nope. Can’t do it!
Look, I’m not going to shove a beaker of instant gravy down my one-year-old’s neck or anything. And chili and spaghetti bolognaise I will happily cook from scratch because it’s quick and easy, and also cheaper. And I know that cooking non-instant stuff allows for the inclusion of the vegetables we all need, and I oblige. But home grown black bean sauce with freshly baked prawn crackers or handmade fish fingers? No thanks pal, not for me.
Since becoming a mum I have experienced a lot of (self-placed) guilt over not doing enough, being enough, teaching enough etc. It’s rubbish and I hate feeling that way, but know I am not alone. I suppose it mostly stems from loving our offspring such a huge amount that we question our choices and give too much head space to thinking about what we got wrong, or to wondering about what we could do better.
The rub is though, this stuff isn’t about the actual caring for our children. It’s all largely inconsequential things, like not keeping on top of the house, failing to stock the fridge fully, forgetting to iron, or stressing over our general lack of life organisational skills.
But I shouldn’t measure my worth as a mum by how long I spend preparing a meal. Nor should I decide it by how well my baby sleeps, or whether I remembered to buy grapes. It should not be judged on my pride, or lack thereof, in a polished table and sparkling floor. A mum’s worth is not in how her kids are dressed or the number of baby groups she attends. Nor is it in the glitter based crafts she does or doesn’t do with her frankly feral toddler.
A mum’s worth shouldn’t be measured on her ability to ‘have it all’ – on her juggling skills or social life. It should not be on the hours given to the PTA in between running and yoga, on her upcycling skills, her eye for interiors, or her reformed post-baby body.
What should it be measured on? I really don’t know. Maybe on loving her children, maybe on making them feel secure. Or maybe we should stop measuring ourselves at all, and just be. While we buy a bloody jar of pesto and try to keep in mind all of the actual important things, that as parents, we really truly rock at.
P.S. I may have digressed slightly towards the end, it’s kind of my thing. However we know it’s true – even if we forget it a lot of the time. But anyway, while I’m here, life is also too short to dust skirting boards or iron anything that isn’t linen. Any others?)