The best thing to spend on your children is your time. – Louise Hart
The morning started out a little shaky. Even though the weather channel said it wouldn’t rain until noon, the clouds outside had begun an early morning drizzle and my spirited, then two-year-old daughter, typically calm in the mornings, was already in late afternoon post-nap mode, bouncing off the walls. My mind, unconsciously headed to flight mode, sorting through all the places we could go to escape the confines of our apartment before things got out of hand. Realizing that I was beginning to panic, I slowed down and started to think more calmly about some possible rainy day activities. Once I had my son in bed, I picked my daughter up and we started to talk about some possibilities. Then I remembered our bread maker.
I had picked up a bread maker on Freecycle about six months before thinking it would be a fun stay-at-home date night activity (one only parents of multiple small children might appreciate, but fun nonetheless) but had never used. I asked her if she wanted to make bread, and with her typical enthusiastic response to anything new, she agreed. Not wanting to get my daughters hopes up, especially since, at two, she tended to get disappointed easily, I explained that since I’d never used the machine before it might not work. I told her that it might make bread, but it also might just make hot glop. I asked her how she would feel if it just made hot glop and she said laughed and said she would think it was funny. With that battle won, we headed for the kitchen.
We pulled out the bread maker and she wiped it down with a sponge while I looked up the manual online. I found a recipe with relatively few ingredients, and after a few Google searches for substitutions for the things I didn’t have (vital gluten (none) and powdered milk (almond milk)), we were ready to go.
We got all the ingredients out and put them on the counter: whole wheat flour, oats, flax meal, molasses, yeast, and salt. My daughter loves to pour and mix, so I held the bowl as she put each of the ingredients in and mixed them up. As we were mixing, Landslide came on our MP3 mix and my daughter looked up and me with a smile and said, “Listen!” I smiled back and we sang along as we mixed our bread and it hit me that in this moment, I was living my dream. Not my old dream of living abroad, working at a nonprofit, helping to make the world a better place, but my new dream, my dream to be a good mom, to spend quality time with my kids, doing fun, healthy things like baking bread and listening to good music on a rainy day.
I gave myself a little mental gold star for being able to keep my cool and turn the morning around into something positive. And as I sat and wrote this post, I looked forward to my daughters sleepy smile when she woke up from her nap and learned that our hot glop actually turned into a real, if not perfectly symmetrical, loaf of bread.
Thanks for reading!
What about you? What are some of your “parent I want to be” moments? (Not “perfect parent” moments, but moments that feel perfect just as they are.)