I LOVE cooking. Not always baking.
Baking is so precise. It’s chemistry. It MATTERS. Ask my brownie sludge if there’s a significant difference between 1/3 of a cup or 1 AND 1/3 of a cup of water. Ask my weirdly textured cookies if it really matters if I use baking SODA vs. baking POWDER. And ask my family from their experience this very weekend if substituting all-purpose flour for cake flour matters. It does. A. Lot. (ALL purpose means ALL baking, right? No. Just…no…)
Cooking is forgiving! And creative! I LOVE COOKING! Recipes are fantastic guidelines for some great meals, but if you’re missing an ingredient or want more of a certain flavor, go for it! You can customize. I NEVER have basil, even though it pops up in tons of recipes I use. Just can’t remember to buy it. Guess how many times I’ve missed it? ZERO. Ask me how much rosemary I EVER put in anything? Rosemary chicken=NONE. None at all. I hate it. It’s like eating a pine tree. My mom’s chicken spaghetti? Love it! Except for the peas. And the olives. So I use bell peppers! And onions! It basically turns into Chicken Spaghetti with Nacho Cheese Sauce, but it’s amazing. And people always ask for the recipe.
I’ve decided I’m a cooking parent. When discussing parenting techniques with other moms and dads, I just can’t identify myself. Attachment? Authoritative? Authoritarian? Slow? Unconditional? Yes these are all real terms…it gets overwhelming!
We have essentials. Our family values and truths are simple. We want our children to know God, seek His truth, and love others as Christ demonstrates in scripture. Easy. Done.
But the logistics of parenting? Take any subject and I can highlight at least 3 debates people get HEATED about. AT LEAST three…
Eating: Breast or bottle? When to start solids? Puree or Baby Led Weaning? Make them finish dinner, or let them decide what they want? Use dessert as motivation/reward or does that cause pressure and food related issues later in life?
Sleeping: Bed sharing or sleeping alone? On demand naps or scheduled routine? Cry it out or instant response? Rock them to sleep or let them fall asleep alone? Get them to sleep with nightlights? music? a creepy book about a rabbit who visits a mystical wizard? (but seriously, the wizard saved our sanity…)
Entertainment: tablet games or no screens? TV or only Mozart? Do they play sports, dance or wait until they seek out extracurriculars on their own? How long should they be spending outside each day?
Discipline: Good lord, this could be it’s own blog, much less a tiny segment of one post…
There’s so many problems you encounter! And solutions people give you! And ways to mess it all up anyway!
So what is OUR parenting style? What practical how-to parenting book do we crack open most often? We have no clue. We just experiment. I just can NOT place myself into one school of thought or another. And I don’t have to!
We take “recipes” from all different sources and examples of families and kids and parents that we see, and we figure out how to make it work for us. We love when we perfect a certain routine or feel like we’ve found a solution to helping our children grow in something. And each family, each child really, probably needs something a little different. And I find that freeing. And creative. And adventurous!
We haven’t found a singular perfect recipe (parenting philosophy) that gives us a perfect dinner (child) every time. And often the same recipe doesn’t work the same way for the next dinner (child), and sometimes the dinner (child) even gets burned and is inedible! (Yikes…I think my analogy broke down somewhere…) Often times, once we’ve found that perfect balance, all the right ingredients and steps, the kid changes. Or the next kid needs something totally different. (There it is, that was the point…no children were harmed in the making of this blog post).
Sometimes it is frustrating, confusing, or you just have to try again and again and again with that dinner. But so so fortunately, when you have a grace like in cooking, a grace that allows for substitutions and alterations, your children and family can be so deliciously forgiving.
Man, I LOVE to cook.