“What is the one thing that you miss most since we had the baby?”
A loaded question posed by my husband. I stopped and paused. What DID I miss most? To be sure, having our son had added so much joy to my life, but things were significantly different. Having a baby changes everything.
I don’t think anyone has ever said that before.
I thought about what life used to be like. I had always been full of energy, driven, loved cleanliness and order, lived to cook and experiment in the kitchen. Here I am now, throwing together chicken cacciatore at 8 PM and thinking, “I wonder if I can make dinner, eat, clean up, shower and be in bed before 9?”
“I miss having energy at the end of the day,” I finally answered.
“Wow. What a bleak answer.”
“Was it? It wasn’t supposed to be,” I answered. “It’s just true. I used to love making complicated and complex meals, even after a long day. Right now, I’m making dinner and thinking about the earliest I can fall into bed. I’ve gone from gourmet to….”
A vision popped into my head of a military commander leading his troops out of battle and into safety. “GO, GO, GO!” he shouts, as he waves them through explosions and gunfire.
“Go-go-go,” I finished.
“But that doesn’t mean that your food isn’t good!” exclaimed my husband.
“No, I’m not saying that its not. Its just different. It’s more ‘what is the best meal I can make with what is in the house and in the least amount of time’ instead of ‘here are 10 things I need from the grocery store to make dinner tonight; I’ll just stop on my way home from work.'”
“Right, ” he said, as he walked away.
I kept thinking about it as I browned chicken, sliced onions, and poured myself a much-needed glass of wine. I walked down the stairs to the basement, where my husband was watching TV.
“My cooking style now. Its go-go-go gourmet. I kind of love it as something to write about. How my life has changed, and how I’m adjusting to all of these transitions.”
A smile spread across his face and he nodded. “I like it!”
I’ve never been particularly good at compromising. One of the biggest things that I feared before I had this baby was how was I POSSIBLY going to retain any sense of self? Clearly, my life was going to become 100% about the baby, I would never wear makeup or look put-together again, and I wouldn’t be able to do any of the things that I loved to do. Those would have to be tucked away until my last kid was 18 and away at college. I remember a specific instance of talking about making fresh pasta to my dad. He snickered at me, “Get it out of your system now, you won’t be doing that after the baby gets here!”
So, once the peanut arrived, I was determined to be a damn awesome mom, but still be ME. And those that know me, know that there’s no me without food. While I love spending time with my son and husband, that time in the kitchen is MINE. I can zone out and know that even if nothing else is going right that day, this will (provided there are no forthcoming disasters to be tended to). Although I might be dialing way back on my experimentation with cornish game hens and pain au chocolat, I know that I can put an amazing dinner on the table every night. And I’m determined to rock this- my way.
I think this pretty much sums up my feelings:
Yes, Liz Lemon, I CAN have it all.