cooking

New Title – Bad Mom

on November 17, 2008

Sorry I’ve been AWOL from here. My typically crazy life got crazier when I threw a man into the mix. I guess it had been so long, I’d forgotten how much time and maintenance those things require. *sigh*

Anywho, it’s confession time. See the title to this blog? That applies to me. I am officially one of *those* moms. Yep, the ones that the teachers think, “That poor child to have her for a mother” and say things to each other like, “It’s a shame really.” Until recently, I thought I was a pretty good mom. Not that my choices and decisions have always made my child’s life easy, but she’s well fed, has a solid roof over her head, gets plenty of rest, and has some nice things. And she tells me I’m the best mom ever so I took her word for it. Then again, who does she have to compare me to? No one.

In the last several weeks, I’ve been slacking off. I haven’t been keeping on top of her homework. Mostly because I have my head somewhere else. And because I never needed or wanted help with my homework as a kid so I feel like she should be able to handle it. Here’s a shocker, my kid is not me. I know, I was surprised about this too.

I’ve been seeing this coming for a while. Though my daughter is all about the cute earrings and the funky bracelets, she doesn’t care a thing about her hair. In fact, I don’t think she’d ever brush it if I didn’t make her. We have a tough time finding clothes because she wears teen sizes but is too young for the styles. Last week she wore a shirt with a large hole in the back and another that was way too small for her. Since she’s smart enough to cover these with jackets before we walk out the door, I rarely know these things until I pick her up.

Then you throw in the body odor. For some reason, kiddo cannot remember to put deodorant on every day. This is a necessity to say the least. There are times I’ve picked her up and had to drive home with the windows down because the smell was so bad. And that’s in the winter time. It was worth the frost bite to be able to breath.

As if all of this was not enough, yesterday was the clincher. Kiddo had a project due today that included a detailed book report that she would present to the class, and with the presentation she had to present some kind of food to her classmates that tied in with the book. Here’s the problem, that food had to be made from scratch. I don’t do from scratch. If it doesn’t come from a box, the freezer, or a restaurant, I’m not making it. There are a few exceptions, but for the most part, this holds true.

I’m not proud of this. It’s just my reality. A childhood of helping my grandmother in the kitchen taught me nothing. Mostly because my grandmother didn’t have much patience. She spent more time shewing me away or finding the least complicated thing for me to do. Don’t even get me started on my mother. I already called her this morning and bitched her out for my lack of cooking skills since I know she doesn’t read this blog.

What really chaps my ass is the teacher’s insistence this stuff be from scratch. It’s likely I’m the only one who has a problem with this, but assuming everyone can pull off from scratch is an antiquated notion and ticks me off beyond belief. I’m no June Cleaver folks. I’m not even a tiny bit Martha Stewart. And never will be, I’m sure.

By some miracle, I found a place in the book where the characters were at some international holiday food festival and managed to narrow down one of the items mentioned as something we could do. It was a traditional flat bread from Kenya. It’s called a Chapati and we technically made the Indian version (bastardized I’m sure) and pulled it off. And if you’re ever in a pinch, a large bottle of olive oil works great as a rolling pin.

Am I the only one with this problem? The only one who cringes when one of those papers comes home from school with a complicated project on it? Tell me I’m not the only inept mother on the planet. Please? (Feel free to lie if necessary.)

Domestically Challenged

on July 22, 2008

When I was a little girl, my mother made most of her own clothes and several pieces for my sister and I. That sewing machine was always on the kitchen table and the idea of using a peddle to make it go fascinated me. Somewhere I have a family portrait (sans the boys as they weren’t born yet) in which my mother is wearing a dress she made. The picture was taken in the late 70s which means the dress is butt-ugly, but you can’t tell it’s homemade.

The rest of my childhood was spent watching my grandmother in the kitchen. She was a fantastic cook and could make anything. She baked too. Never measured, she was one of those eye-ballers, but gosh that stuff was good. Cloverleaf rolls, nut bread, nut rolls, cookies of every kind, pie crusts, homemade meatballs, noodles and sauce. It’s no wonder I had weight issues by age eleven.

The only complaint I have about these talents is, they didn’t pass them on to me. My mother never even taught me how to sew on a button. I know nothing about patterns, how to thread a machine, or the difference between a clean finish and a flat felled seam. And yes, I had to look those up to find an ending for that sentence.

I may have helped my grandmother roll out dough or frost some cookies, but I never really learned how to make anything. I have no skills in the kitchen what-so-ever. I can boil water, follow the directions for whatever comes out of a box, but that’s it. I’m domestically challenged.

Since I’ve never had a man in my life that actually complained about my domestic skills, I suppose I’m not so bad off. But I still hate that these skills once performed so well by the women in my family stop with me (and my sister who is even more challenged than I am if that’s possible). Other than playing softball and a love and appreciation for reading, writing, and music, I’m not sure that I’m passing anything down to my daughter. That’s depressing.

So, I’m happy to say, author Loucinda McGary (aka Aunty Cindy) has offered to teach me to knit during the RWA National Conference next week. I’m not sure how much I can learn in such a short time, but I’m willing to be a diligent student and practice to become better once I come home.

How about you? Are you a Domestic Goddess? Can you make a Halloween costume with one days notice and with one hand tied behind your back? And did you learn all your domestic skills from the women who came before you? Or did you figure it out on your own? And please tell me someone out there is just like me and couldn’t bake a soufflé if their life depended on it?