I love trying new things. Actually that's not always true. But, I really love trying new things when it will make life easier for me. My husband is going to make a go at cooking for our family...on a regular basis. Yes. I wrote that right. He is going to cook regularly, as in, almost all of our meals. (At least, we are giving it a try.)
In a year of counseling and learning about myself, here are some things I have discovered. It's okay not to do all things well. As a mom, it's okay not to be like other moms. It's okay to try new things, to be flexible, and to go against the grain. Most importantly, know who you are and work within that. Not around, within. Not outside, within. Does that make sense? I hope so, it's changing my life.
It's beautiful to know and understand how God created you, and to embrace it and celebrate it. Even if it goes against the grain...or doesn't make sense to others.
So, back to trying new things. I hate cooking. I am not good at cooking. I loathe grocery stores, meal plans, and understanding recipes. You have to understand. Cooking is one of my top stressors as a mom and wife. I know that this blows some minds, but alas, it's a reality for me. Trying to make meal plans, and make a grocery list can potentially send me into anxiety. If I am in a season of high stress, it can contribute to feelings of depression.
There are many reasons why I don't like it, and why I am not good at it - but that's not important right now. What is important is that I have learned this about myself, and I have learned to accept I am not going to be the mom that has the kid that comes home from college just to eat his mother's cooking. And I am not the wife who won my husband's heart through his stomach. I am not the pastor's wife who will bring you a home cooked meal when you are sick. And I am not the friend who will make you cookies when you are down. I'm just not...and that is OKAY!
I have learned ways to manage the stress and anxiety that comes from being the primary cook in my home. However, I have not reached a sweet spot. I have not won the battle completely. We still eat out way too much, and I still get way too stressed.
My husband, lately, has shown interest in recipes. I might get shot later for saying this, but he may even have started a Pinterest for recipes. He is familiar with cooking as his dad is a great cook, and we tried early in our marriage for him to cook. It didn't work well then (mostly because of my pickiness), so I took the role back especially when we started having kids. He does like cooking when he has a plan, and has the right ingredients. He has cooked many times when I was sick, stressed, or overwhelmed. So, it's not a foreign concept.
When I became a mom and stayed home full time, I accepted the role of cooking as an expectation for "housewives". Slap the apron on, get the spatula, and be the kind of cook my sons would compare their future wives to. It's what I was supposed to do (these were my expectations for myself). So, the idea was to fight and manipulate things to fit myself into that expectation. To do otherwise would be blasphemy to this idea of housewife I had chosen to take on. I did this with many things, but cooking is the topic we are on.
When I begin to work part time (because we needed the money, but also because I wanted a part time job), the stress of cooking for my family became worse. And it has become even worse with having three children. Nonetheless, because I stay at home even part time - I felt it was a rule that I cook. How dare I ask my dear husband who works so hard everyday to lift a spatula as soon as he comes home from work?
Now, let's pause a moment to make something clear. These are not the opinions of my husband. These are also not thoughts or opinions for how things should be for you or how you should feel. These are solely my self imposed expectations that I feel (for various reasons).
When I noticed my husband's new interest in cooking and pinning recipes - I said to myself - "Hows about we try implementing the great stuff I have learned in counseling? I'll try letting go of that expectation that I have to be the cook. Let's stop trying to do something that I am not good at, and that causes me great stress. Let's ask him if he would like to try cooking for the family. Like all of the time."
So, I did. And he accepted the challenge. He enjoys cooking much more than I do, and he is really better at it. I love that I have a husband who loves me the way that I am, and has no problem breaking the rules of the silly expectations I put on myself as a woman. So, we are both embracing the new plan. I, mean, I am not just embracing it - I am giddy with relief. It has already taken a huge burden of stress off my shoulders. We, of course, will see how it goes. Making sure it is the best thing for each other and for our family is most important. And, of course, I will still cook at times (crockpot style). But, simply put, the best thing is both of us being willing to work together to change things and break the rules, if that means it will relieve stress for the other.
Now here's my point...I know, it took a lot to get there. I am sure there are some still stuck on the fact that I am "making" my husband cook. My point is not that the husband should or shouldn't cook. It's really not about the cooking at all. It's this: We all have our own version of self imposed expectations (or expectations from others). Yet, remember this, God made us each uniquely and wonderfully. Embrace who you are, imperfections and all. Accept God's grace to work and move within how he created you. If that fails those expectations, so be it.
Don't make societal rules or self imposed expectations the letter of the law. Ask God to show you what is best for you and best for your family...and whatever that is...jump in fully. Please don't try to keep doing something that brings anxiety or stress to your life, when there may be another way that is different than what you or others think is right or normal.
The pics are of one of Brad's recent meals (including the header pic). Curry Chicken and Rice -it was great, I never would have made it myself or even tried it if he hadn't cooked it. He even had Cavin help, again, something I rarely do because I don't have the same high level of frustration tolerance that Brad has. So, see, this change is already bringing so many positives! This is definitely a moment/mark of grace in my life right now.
I'm telling you...keep an eye on those moments of grace. God will surprise you with how often He is always giving you exactly what you need when you need it.