Monday, January 10, 2011

My Love of Cooking Makes Me Want to Stay Home

And of course the fact that I have a ridiculously gorgeous and adorable 1 1/2 year old that I would love more than anything to stay home with all day long.

But cooking, honestly it's a big part of it too.

Before I met my darling husband, I could barely cook up a bowl of cereal. Seriously. My parents, primarily my father, basically catered to me growing up. I really didn't have to do much of anything around the house, he cooked all the meals and cleaned, my mom worked all day, and I was provided enough of an allowance to keep me more than happy. Things were good. No, things were great. Adolescent life was wonderful.

Then it was time to grow up. Flashback to early 2008. My now-husband and I are living together, he is working basically full time and going to school to get his degree in Criminal Justice/Criminology. I work too, but it's a relatively easy administrative position and I am home by 4:30 everyday. He was a personal trainer and set his own hours, so he basically worked all day until he had to leave to go to school, and then was in class until 9:30, and then had to drive an hour home. He would get home around 10:30 and have to make himself dinner, study, do homework, and try to get some sleep to wake up the next day and do it all over again. What was I doing during these 6 hours while I was home and he was away you ask? Well, usually I filled it with shopping, sleeping, and reading. So basically nothing. It really wasn't fair at all, and when I look back at it now I can't believe he let me get away with that for as long as he did. But in my defense, I really had no idea it was even a problem. It was what I was use to.

One day, he had had enough. He took me into the kitchen, introduced me to some very foreign objects I now know as a stove top and oven, and taught me some very basics of cooking. If you cook chicken, you have to defrost it first. Then all you have to do after it's defrosted is put it on to this baking dish and put some seasoning on it, and throw it into the oven for about 30 minutes. Baked chicken! And then to go along with that, boil some water in a pot, throw this bag of brown rice in there for 10 minutes, and you're done. Voila! You've made dinner.

I'll be honest, even though it was pretty much the simplest meal I could possibly make, my first few tries... not so good. Cooking was not easy for me, I seriously felt like I had no clue what I was doing and I was terrified of poisoning the man. But after a while, I started to get the hang of things. And then I started experimenting a little bit. I wonder what it would taste like if I used this seasoning? Or what about this one? And then I started getting different chicken recipes off of the Internet to try. Parmesan chicken, then BBQ chicken, I was on a role! And that's where my love for cooking began. Right then. I would spend countless hours on the Internet finding new recipes, ideas, tips, hints, etc. Then he got me a cookbook for my birthday. I started making all kinds of things, and all of it from scratch. Pizzas, breads, desserts, shrimp. All kinds of stuff. It became my passion and my hobby.

My last job had great hours, but unfortunately the actual job sucked. I hated sales. I was good at it, but it was draining and stressful beyond belief. And when it began to effect my home life I knew it was time for a change. But man, working 6:30am-3:30am was golden. I felt like I got to spend so much more time with my family and doing things around the house than I ever did before. I could come home from work and still have plenty of time to whip up something great in the kitchen. Unfortunately, I don't have that luxury anymore. I now work from 8-5pm. By the time I pick up my daughter and drive home it's about 6:30pm. I don't have enough time to just start putting together a meal, eat dinner, give the princess a bath and get her to bed at a reasonable hour. It's just too late. Plus, by the time I do get home I'm usually starving.

Not only that, I recently came across this great website called Weelicious that features tons of amazing and healthy recipes for babies/toddlers. I wish so badly that I was able to make her some of these great recipes for breakfast and lunch. The problem is that when we leave in the morning she is still asleep, and when she gets to my parents or in-laws she just gets in bed with them and sleeps for a few more hours. And honestly I think they would feel offended if I was sending food with her. So that's out of the question.

I want to stay home. I want to quit working and stay home with my beautiful baby and make her awesomely delicious and healthy meals all day long. And take her on walks. And join a mommy group. And do mommy and me classes. And do all of those things I feel like I miss out on everyday being a working mother. The only thing holding me back is that I love my job. I really do. I'm an executive assistant and I make pretty good money for what I do and it would be really hard for me to leave. I love my boss. I love my co-workers. I love my company.

And of course, I love my daughter. The one thing I keep telling myself is that she is with her grandparents when she isn't with me, it's ok. She is not with some random strangers at a daycare. She is not being neglected. She is with her family who loves her very much.

I know that this is something every mother goes through. But is it normal to go through 18 months later? Should I still be having this debate?
Here is a possibility. What if I got a part time job, worked maybe 2-3 days a week, something low-key and non-stressful, and got to stay home w/ the princess the rest of the week? I could even maybe work evenings or something so that my husband would be with her when I'm not. I donno. I guess today I just feel really confused, torn, and I miss my kiddo like crazy.


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Brittney said...

I wanted to stay at home with my daughter too. I didn't get to until after she turned 2. I remember crying at work. I have been home 5 months now and unfortunately we just need extra income. I am trying to find something part-time. It is normal to want to stay home. I think most men and women naturally want to fulfill the traditional roles.

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