I came home from work and found lovely cupcakes sitting on a plate on the dining counter top. Cupcakes! I love cupcakes! Although they don’t do well for my waistline which has been forever expanding after I became a Mum… The home-made cupcakes are courtesy of my eldest, who has over the past few years developed an inclination to cooking and baking her own meals.
As I try to stop myself from salivating, I hear it. You know, that “it” inside your head who tells you things you don’t necessarily want (or need, really) to hear.
“This is not right. You are THE Mum. You should be the one making these things for your children. Don’t you feel ashamed? Your kids don’t get to come back to dinners cooked-with-love-from Mum, like other children do. You don’t bake like other mothers do – that’s why your child has to force herself to learn to bake for herself. You don’t do anything for your child!”
You know who “it” is now, don’t you? Yes, GUILT. Mummy Guilt, no less.
For many years, I struggled with this guilt. It attacked me from many fronts:
I’m not spending enough time with my kids…
I’m not showing them a good enough example…
I’m pushing them too hard / too little in their studies…
I’m not showing them enough concern…
I’m not keeping up with their lingo…
My pet peeve? I’m not cooking as often as I (think) I should.
My own mother was a domestic diva who cooked dinner for the family almost every day. Unfortunately, I inherit none of her superb culinary skills (sorry, Mummy!). Worse, cooking is just not one of my interests. Not especially if you throw in the washing before and after cooking. You can’t see me but I’m shuddering!
And “it” has a lot to say about this.
“You are not fulfilling your responsibility as a Mum!”
“You grew up with home-cooked food. How can you deprive your children of the same benefits?”
“They will grow up as un-balanced adults because they don’t get to enjoy the warmth and love of their Mum’s home-cooked meals!”
You may not believe it, but I even lose sleep over it.
Until I started to work on myself, my own identity as a woman and as a mother. I embrace me, and choose how I want to show up.
My love for my kids come not in the form of a 5-course meal that looks / tastes like they come straight out of a Michelin-star restaurant. But I show up as the mother who encourages her 11-year old to explore vlogging and you-tubing. I show up as the mother who engages in discussions with her 17-year old about the Trump-Biden election and long-term social impact of Covid-19. I show up as the mother who listens in to her 20-year old’s Zoom lecture on business management and then sharing ideas about it after.
It may or may not be how other mothers are showing up for their children. It is just how I show up as my best unique self. And that is good enough for me and my kids. Dinner? I let the children's grandmother show up for them with her home-cooked food.
So back to the cupcakes.
I shut “it” up, and choose gratitude. I posted a photo of the cupcakes on my FB page, sharing my thanks and showing my joy.
Now, I am going ahead to devour a cupcake. And maybe go for a walk tomorrow to burn off some calories.