This year is different. My husband went out for dinner with friends the night before Mother’s Day and I was happy to be home alone with my daughters. The holiday made me think of how important this job is. Sometimes it gets pushed to the back burner for my Monday-Friday job, the house, dinner, school errands, doctors’ visits, my health, marriage, other family, friends, trips, community work, the list goes on... Sure, it’s all part of keeping my daughters alive and well.
But the dedicated time I get to spend with them can be measured in small windows. I’ve read tons of parenting articles and some books that help me question my parenting more each day. I navigate the gray spaces that matter to me with cautious confidence. I spend more play time and give them more attention and resources than my parents ever had the luxury to do. But twice – and I know each time it’s hurt her dearly – I’ve told my daughter “You are not a princess!”
Somewhere in between these conflicting messages I hope I am modeling and teaching something good.
So on this girls’ night I had with them, we baked. I wanted a Kitchen Aid mixer my whole life, and apparently got one a year ago, but this was the first time I pulled it out to use it.
“You gave this to me last Mother’s Day?” I asked. “Funny, I thought I baked more than that.”
My daughters and I slowed it down and made chocolate cake from scratch. The cocoa powder, the eggs, the butter, the sugar – they all went in one by one. Little hand splattered just enough ingredients inside the bowl to make it work. The cake turned out really dense so I wondered aloud if it was good.
“It’s perfect, right? Asked my daughter.
Also perfect is that I learned who her new best friend is, and that she believes in everything but not Santa Claus. My two girls also pretended they were singers, and then they turned into motivational speakers because one of them had a “Girls Rock!” T-shirt on.
“Say the password,” one would say and block the way until the other said “Girls Rock!”
“They always say boys can do anything but girls can do anything,” said my oldest, to the kitchen, waving her arms and walking in circles as she got louder. “Girls can be chief police, or firemen, doctors, lawyers, or the first woman president, I know it!”
“Yeah!” said the two-year-old, walking behind her, covered in chocolate cake.
“Yeah!” I thought, walking out of the kitchen, which was full of dirty dishes, so I could keep spending time with them.