Monday, May 24, 2010

Letting Go in the Kitchen

One aspect of parenting that has never come easy to me has always been letting my kids do things themselves. I don't mean the big things like staying home alone the first time, going on a trip without a parent, walking the mall on their own, etc. The hard things for me to give up are the little, everyday things that I've gotten so used to doing on my own. Specifically, most kitchen tasks. It's not that I love being in the kitchen and want to keep all that crazy fun for myself, but I've been doing this mom/wife thing for a while now. I can quickly and efficiently get things done, then sit back and relax. Whereas when I delegate these tasks, the project inevitably takes longer, and I have to hang out and oversee the whole thing. Simply put, it's easiest just to do things myself. But of course that makes for lazy children who can't do anything on their own. Definitely not what I want. As much as I love these stinkers, I do not want two hopeless adults still living with me in 15 years.

Both of my kids have shown an interest in cooking and baking. They both want to help with just about every meal. Obviously, this isn't always possible-especially when getting a meal on the table in a timely manner is important. But Jay and I try to set aside some time each week when the kids can help out in the kitchen.

This past weekend we had a lot of time for just that. Jay worked all weekend and the weather was rainy and cold, perfect for baking.

Starting with a cobbler made by the girl, with a bit of help from me.It was so hard for me to not micromanage every single moment of this.If it had just been me making this cobbler, silly mistakes wouldn't have been made, messes would have been kept to a minimum, and there probably wouldn't be flour and butter between the pages of my favorite cookbook.
But, messes (most of them) are easily cleaned up. And, had I made the cobbler myself, I wouldn't have heard the excitement in my daughter's voice when she told her dad and brother that she had helped make the cobbler. Then on Sunday the boy baked and decorated his first cake. Inspired by Dani's camo cake, we had to do one of our own. The boy did all the work. He baked the cake, played mad scientist with the food coloring, and iced it all himself. Again, I would have loved to have had more input on this project, but the boy wanted full control so I had to step aside. At one point, I just had to leave the kitchen so as to not throw in my unwanted two cents.

This is all a very slow process for me and every day I have to make myself give up a little more control. But it will all be worth it when I have two adult children who can stand on their feet and know they don't have to rely on anyone. Self-reliance is a wonderful thing.
(Edited to Add: Blogger is having some issues with the commenting system right now. I'm getting your comments but can't publish them. Or I don't get them at all. Or I publish them and they show up a day later. Anyway, if you commented and you don't see it, please know that I didn't just recklessly delete it. Hopefully this will all get worked out soon.)

19 comments:

Theresa said...

I'm right there with you. It is so hard for me to let go and let Nadi help in the kitchen. Half the time, I have a hard time letting the hubby help in there too. LOL I've been trying harder lately too, especially with nadi and I find she actually eats better if she had a hand in the meal.

Dani said...

Good for you!

I am not good about letting the kids help during the school week. I'm a bit better on the weekends. Summer and vacations I'm much more receptive...although I probably try (do) to exert more help than needed.

That cobbler looks AMAZING. I'm not sure if it's my lack of carb/sugar goodness or what, but my mouth is watering. And the cammo cake looks great! I'm glad he got into the idea.

Here's to self-reliance!

Carla said...

Sierra also loves to help in the kitchen and yes, setting aside my standards is also a struggle. My kitchen is usually a huge mess! But we have fun.

Tammie said...

dani: the cobbler is from Apples for Jam, its super easy. we never follow the directions perfectly, just throwing in whatever fruit we have laying about.

mandy said...

I'm putting Apples for Jam on my 'the list' for my next trip to the library.
I totally feel you on the 'letting go' front. I've gotten so much better at it in the last year. I'm attempting to let go of trying to let go. You know, if letting go too often makes me get up tight than i'm going to choose sometimes to not let go and thus stay sane.
LOVE the cammo cake

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

Once again tough but good parenting. To quote Oprah, if done correctly parenting is the hardest job on earth. I don't agree with O. about much but this is one thing that I certainly do agree with.

BTW the cobbler looks great!! And the camo cake looked like fun and I bet it takes great. To me it looked like a globe in a way.

Tammie said...

peggy: thats a really great quote and so true. some of my easiest days as a parent are when i 'check out' so to speak and let the kids watch tv or play video games all day. certainly not my best moments as a mom. :)

Daphne said...

That camo cake cracks me up, but the boy did a great job!

I'm not a parent, but my friend Lara, who is one of the best examples of "good parent" that I know, has this great quote: "I *will* help you with things you can't do, but I *won't* help you with things you CAN do." Ergo = she has a 10 year old who does his own laundry and cooks meals once a week. (I do believe she implements a period of "learning time" to transition to the "can-do" stage) He says, "Just think when I'm in college and all those kids don't know how to do their own laundry.... I can make a bunch of money doing it for them!"

(please note that I myself am terrible at giving up control over the small details and will actually REACH OVER and correct Terri's technique, which does not go over well, as you can imagine)

Tammie said...

daphne: i love laras quote and i think im going to use it sometime on my own kids. a lot of the time they want to do things on their own, other times they totally play on my control freakedness and convince me to do things for them.

and i better hurry it up or laras kid is going to be doing my kids laundry!

Lia said...

I think teaching your kids how to cook is one of the best lessons you can teach them, for so many reasons. Good job letting them take over!

Tammie said...

daphne: jay mostly ignores me when i try to control the little things-which is probably for the best.today we were in the car and he lingered at a light a bit too long after it turned green and i ACTUALLY clapped my hands near his face and said "come on lets go." a split second after i did it, i felt awful, and couldnt believe it. fortunately he let it slide.

~ The Jolly Bee ~ said...

My boys are becoming good cooks. It's the girl who doesn't give a hoot. She's a fussy eater on a good day -- I'm not sure what she's going to eat when she's on her own.

I think it's a wonderful thing to get them acquainted with cooking and baking. But some days, all I request is someone who can wash the dishes.

kraftykash said...

You really are a great Mom!

Daphne said...

Terri and I are a pair. She does the "driver's ed teacher" thing of slamming on her invisible brakes when I'm driving. Also she is fond of telling me that a car is coming (three blocks away). :)

hester said...

I was going to make a comment about what a great job you are doing as a parent, Tammie, but I'm too busy laughing out loud at the thought of you clapping your hands at Jay at the green light.

beki said...

You're so right on this one! This is something that I, too, need to work on, though I need to learn to let go with the husband as well, who can hardly boil a pot of water.

Tammie said...

daphne: im big on doing that too. i also constantly check the speed to see how fast jays going,grip the door handle like im holding on for dear life, occasionally lean over to turn the wipers on, etc.. im just horrible in the car no matter what. im a very nervous passenger. honestly, now that i type all this down im amazed he hasnt punched me in the face yet.

heather: i know!!! my poor husband. hes so long suffering. :)

michelle harmon said...

I have a hard time with letting the kids dig into the cooking and baking with me, too! I feel ya on that one. But don't sweat it if you do most of the baking and cooking. Believe it or not, this is not the most important skill to have in order to make it on one's own without mama and papa around. Of-course, learning how to bake and cook while young is good, amazing, and all that... I'm just saying the absence of it in one's coming of age isn't going to make or break one's ability to be independent from their parents. Most people do learn how to cook/bake as adults. ;) So no pressure there! Having said that, I try to let my kids help at least with one meal once a week, too. If not for anything but they have fun doing it.

Tammie said...

michelle: so true. i didnt know how to cook or bake until i was well into my twenties. and i certainly didnt starve. ;)

thanks so much for all your kind comments today.