Friday, April 26, 2013

Hey Pinterest/Instagram/Facebook World: I don't like to cook (and that's totally okay)

The other day, I signed on to Facebook and saw this picture:

What's that, you ask?  Why, that's just my (amazing/inspiring/incredible/resourceful) sister-in-law, making homemade pasta.

Why is this a big deal?  Well, it just so happens that this awesome family-member of mine works FULL TIME, has TWIN 4-year-old boys, and a NINE-MONTH-old daughter (who still wakes up at night to eat).  And here she is -- making homemade pasta on the weekend in her free time.

My first thought was, "That's awesome -- and so like her!"
My second thought was, "Why don't I ever do that?"
My third thought: "I'll do stuff like that someday when the kids are older."
My final thought: "No, you won't, Rachel."

And that's it.  Therein lies the truth.  I kept waiting to turn into a certain-type-of-mom-and-wife that I'll never be.  I gave up sewing long ago (sometime in college) after I whipped together my first (and only) sewing project: an early-20th-century dress.  After I finished the project, I realized that I found no joy in doing it -- I just rushed through it to get it done.  I never wanted to sew again (and I didn't, except for a brief stint in a costume shop).  

And over the last few years, as my social media feeds kept getting inundated with beautiful snapshots of fantastic dinners and baked goods, I kept waiting for "the time" to start cooking "that way."  Yet when I saw that picture of my sister-in-law, I suddenly realized that I will never do it.  It's not that I don't LIKE cooking -- it's just a practical thing for me.  It's not my least-favorite chore, and sometimes I find great peace in it.  But it's a chore to me, and I find no true joy in it.  AND THAT'S OKAY!  (Hurray!)

My sister-in-law said, "If I have a week where I don't have a day that I cook a significant amount, I start to get kinda stressed and restless."  If it's not Thanksgiving (which is a cooking holiday, in my opinion), "cooking a significant amount" is a recipe of stress for me.  For me, cooking is about being practical:  what can I make in 30 minutes or less that's nutritious, yummy, and will give us leftovers?  That's how I meal plan, and I reckon that's how I will always meal plan.

So all this got me thinking:  what do I do to avoid getting stressed and restless?  If I had extra time on the weekend, how would I choose to fill it?

On a weekend with extra time, you will never find me making homemade pasta.  Instead, you'll find me outside in the yard gardening or running around with my daughter, doing some sort of high-intensity exercise, writing a blog post, reading a book, or taking in more time with my husband and family.  Heck, you might even find me cleaning my house (THAT was the kicker of the self-realization for me:  I actually enjoy cleaning my house more than I enjoy cooking).  But mainly, I think my top choice would be high-intensity exercise or a run with a friend (ahem BECCA ahem let's make a running date ASAP).

So here's the main point:  hurray! for who we all are, and for how different we are!  I celebrate that my sister-in-law loves cooking so much, and that it is a part of who she is.  I celebrate that I like being outside so much and working out.  And I celebrate YOU -- whoever you are, and whatever it is that brings you joy.

  • What are you doing this weekend with your extra time?
  • What activities bring you joy?

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