I used to be in charge of my kitchen. It was my domain; simply put, I ruled it.
My husband does some frying and creative cooking but ultimately; I have full control.
Until the kids got bigger.
The joy of not having to make lunch for everyone – they can do it themselves! Oh yeah, I’m was determined not to spoil them. These kids I’m raising, I want them to know how to make their own breakfast or lunch and clean up after themselves. I’m a proud non-helicopter mom; I foster independence! And my boys-their lucky wives!
I watch admiringly and feel quite proud as my older 5 hustle around the kitchen, preparing their lunch menus.
And they are quite creative, complete with secret recipes and sriracha sauce.
I sit on the couch and stare, and then it hits me.
Who’s cleaning up?
I know they will attempt to. Of course, I’ve taught them how to clean up after themselves.
But I also know that it is I who will pick up the slack.
And suddenly it’s not so exciting anymore.
I look at the counters; there’s the panini maker, the pop-up toaster, the Ninja blender, the can opener, 2 cutting boards, three knives and half a dozen egg shells.
My 6 year old is making his secret tuna recipe that includes every squeeze bottle from the refrigerator, my 7 year old has some avocado concoction going on with half my spice cabinet, my 9 year old is making the perfect grilled cheese sandwich, my daughter is peeling potatoes and my 12 year old, whose appetite seems to be growing by the hour, is making a protein smoothie, 2 bagel sandwiches and some other things I can’t keep track of. And someone is opening sardines.
Sure I’m proud of them; and amazingly overwhelmed with the action in what used to be my kitchen.
I want them to do this; but do they have to use every utensil I own? And appliance?
I hold back from at least 2 dozen “don’t forget to clean up” reminders; I don’t want to spoil their excitement. And independence.
But I don’t want to be left cleaning up sardine spills, it’s my absolute pet peeve!
I look at my 2 little ones happily munching on cream cheese sandwiches that I made for them with the use of only a plastic knife. So simple! Suddenly I’m having second thoughts about this independence thing..Maybe being a helicopter mom isn’t so bad after all…
I know they’ll clean up.
I know there will be slight oversights that I’ll be dealing with. Yucky ones.
I want them to this. But I want my kitchen the way I want it.
I don’t want them to be asking me to make their sandwiches. But I don’t want to be cleaning 12 bowls and 14 forks that only 5 people used!
I know the answer. I know what I have to do.
Like everything else in motherhood.
We give. We teach. We hope. We pray. And most important of all, we learn to let go.
To let go of things being the way I want. Letting go of the reins and letting them be their own little selves.
Even at the price of my kitchen.