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Monday, October 4,2021

Wonder Woman Has Left the Building

By Jonna Shutowick. M.S. Ed.  

I am not a cook. Moreover, I am not a chef! Yet, I have imposed on myself a Martha Stewart-esque homemaker role, and tried for years (quite unsuccessfully) to implement meals on a daily basis that the Cooking Channel makes look so easy and attainable. Well, Hallelujah middle age and the wisdom that comes along with it. I have finally decided to let myself off the hook. This notion that I should bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan (and never, never, never let you forget you’re a man) is truly asking too much – at least from me.

It hit me like a ton of bricks one day as I was scrambling like mad to finish up what I had to do at work, get to the field on time for my turn at driving the kids home from practice, and squeezing in dinner before heading out to a parent meeting – all in the name of being a “good mom.” In trying also to be a good role model, I swore off fast food long ago, and so, with exactly 47 minutes to work with, I headed to the store for fresh ingredients to go home and cook a meal for my family.

Every day I am faced with the same challenge – what will I make for dinner tonight? Despite years of trying, my meatloaf is dry and tasteless. I do not know what to do with leftovers to make a “quick and easy” dinner. I couldn’t make a white sauce to save my life, nor do I really even know what to do with one. My hat is off to people who do enjoy cooking. And even more so to those who don’t love it, but have managed to master it. I have not.

And I have decided to accept it for what it is: an art. An art that I don’t have a gift for.

I do not think I should be able to faux paint a room by myself. I don’t feel the need to do my own calligraphy on special invitations. I don’t try to fix my own car. For goodness sake, I get professional advice when I buy makeup! Why do I think I should channel Rachel Ray each day after work?

Don’t get me wrong, preparing basic meals for my family I can handle. PBJ – no problem. Pancakes? Would you like some blueberries with those? I make a mean grilled cheese sandwich, and can do eggs scrambled, poached AND over easy. It is the eggs Benedict that I needed to let go of.

And once I did, life in my house got exponentially more peaceful. Contrary to my inner critic’s better judgment (capital “J”), I decided to implement such menu varietals as Dinner On Your Own Night and Cereal Night. And despite my no fast food rule, I have thrown in the towel and allowed a Chipotle Night in addition to Friday Pizza Night. With four people in the house and seven days in a week, we are finally at a point where I don’t mind doing my share, rather than carrying the whole load. And my youngest has learned that he enjoys cooking! A whole new dynamic for him that he may not have known.


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