Becoming our mothers

I doubt I’m the only one who stopped at multiple points growing up and marvelled at how my mom got shit done. I think I expressed this to her a couple times, but now, as an adult, Eric and I have had numerous conversations about our mothers’ efficiency or the ways they do things at home. This is not to criticize them; we just can’t believe it because we don’t know how they do the things they do. We truly admire them for this. My biggie is how Mom always had such a clean house or a clean kitchen. Eric’s Mom’s house is meticulous, too.  Another thing Eric and I have talked about are the things our moms have that we’re pretty sure our generation doesn’t get- like pie keepers and stuff. I know it seems weird, but those things are so handy.

Anyways, this applies to just about everything my mom does. A few years ago, Eric and I hosted Thanksgiving up in Iowa. For all the work and preparation, the thing I’ll always remember is not the meal- though it was delicious, if I say so myself- but the time I spent cooking in the kitchen with my Mom and my mother and sister-in-law. It was wonderful. I also gained some technical insight into just how they did the things that mystify Eric and me: to keep a clean kitchen, you’ve got to clean it constantly. Maybe this is common sense to neat freaks…but not to Eric and me. We just started keeping a clean(er) kitchen and making a point of doing the dishes after every meal before Katie was born. This insight was also helpful because two weeks later, I found out I was pregnant with Katie.

This all comes to mind because right now, Eric and I are trying to “show” Katie Christmas. We really haven’t had the chance in Iowa. We’re not sure how the excitement of the holidays becomes instilled in small kids, but I’m doing my part by starting a tradition of baking cookies with Katie and, next year, Zuzu. Right now, the girls are both sleeping, but I have home made sugar cookie and gingerbread dough chilling in the fridge. I’ll post pictures later. But Katie and I also bought an ornament for her and for Zuzu…of course, Katie’s has Disney princesses on it, but oh well…you can’t win them all.

As I was mixing the doughs, I starting cleaning up the kitchen and putting away the extra flour, white and brown sugars in some storage containers I bought this morning which well help organize our messy pantry better than the plastic bags they’ve been stored in. I also got a cookie container, too, for our finished product. And I realized, this is how our moms did it. Slowly, peice by peice, and over time, they figured things out until there was a place for everything. They figured things out so well, in fact, that we kids couldn’t see how they did it. It just appeared effortless.

I’m fairly certain my effort shows. Katie constantly, constantly asks questions and in the middle of cleaning up Zuzu’s vomit and a blown out diaper, it’s all I can do to stay patient. It was all I could do to keep things together the other night while Eric worked late and I had both girls by myself. I only wanted more kids after Katie’s birth because Eric’s such a great partner. He and I work very well together, even though we bicker a lot. But if I’m anything like our moms- well, that’s quite an accomplishment.

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