The Reason My Cooking Sucks Right Now

why my cooking sucks
[typical dinnertime at our house]
I faintly remember what it was like to cook before having children. In those vague pre-baby memories, I recall actually following recipes. Although I have never really loved cooking, I used to make delicious things. My husband is a foodie and I set the bar high for myself in the early years of marriage.

But then we had kids and now we eat mush. 

These days, my cooking is imperfect. Much like life, it’s often messy and unplanned.

But I do it anyways. I show up everyday. I pop a couple of chicken breasts and a bag of baby carrots in the oven drenched in Herbs de Provence. It’s not overly impressive, but it’s enough. 

I spent the early years of juggling babies and cooking with a sinking feeling in my stomach. When I cooked Shepherd’s Pie for the 4th week in a row, I asked myself–should I be doing more?

Nothing about Shepherd’s Pie is elaborate and impressive. It’s mush. 

Shouldn’t I be striving for elaborate and impressive? Have you been on Pinterest lately? Pinterest makes it look so easy to be perfect. The “quick, easy, and delicious” offerings are abundant. So abundant in fact, that it nearly makes my brain implode.

Therefore I ask myself again, is my Shepherd’s Pie enough?

Am I enough?

I am not even sure we are talking about cooking anymore.

Most days, I don’t do anything elaborate or impressive. Most days, I feel anything but elaborate and impressive.

I am imperfect, and I have stopped trying to be anything else. Because I am enough. I was perfectly created to be the mother for my children and the wife to my husband. There’s no one else that could fill my shoes for a minute. I am exactly who I need to be. I can hope that I continue to learn and grow as the days pass, but being the person that I am today is exactly enough.

I am slowly trying to learn how to let go of wild expectations I have of myself. As life passes and I grow and change, my expectations for myself must grow and change along with it.

What happens when the expectations we have of ourselves no longer serve us?

We bend and we remold ourselves into beautiful new beings that love deeply and are deeply loved.

As we grow, we change. Tonight as I was cooking dinner and I pulled my 17-month-old down off the kitchen counter for the fifth time, I tried to stay calm, breathe deeply, and smile softly. But I failed. 

I got irritated and she saw a little taste of what it looks like when this messy, unplanned life gets overwhelming.

Then we ate cereal. 

Our time with young children is just a season–a joyous, full season where we have to bend and remold ourselves everyday. So I promised my husband: someday I will cook delicious things again. But until then, we shall eat mush. And that’s totally enough.

[next week I will share my favorite un-recipe/mush masterpieces for you–and I hope to hear yours!]

Denaye Barahona

Denaye Barahona is a loving wife and mama of two. She's a therapist for moms, an author, and the host of the top-ranked Simple Families Podcast. Denaye holds a Ph.D. in Child Development and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She has been featured on the likes of The Today Show, Netflix, The Wall Street Journal, Real Simple, Forbes, and numerous other media outlets.