When I have the time, I really love to cook. As an avid Food Network viewer, creating meals from scratch is sort of my thing. I'm not, like, the best at it or anything, but going through the motions is calming. Well, unless I have a kid hanging on my leg, begging to mix this or pour that. There's a whole bunch of things I'd rather do than let my toddler "help" with dinner and none of them include him actually "helping" with dinner. Sorry, kid but the truth hurts sometimes.
I love that my kids have a love for cooking and baking, don't get me wrong. However, on the days when I'm already super-stressed, I covet my quiet kitchen time. After a few episodes of Chopped or Beat Bobby Flay, I'm ready to cook my way to greatness (even if neither child will eat whatever "greatness" I have cooked). My 10-year-old daughter is usually more insistent in helping, and, at times, I don't mind. My 5 year old, on the other hand, just squeezes in and starts doing stuff. He'll pull up a chair, grab an apron, and mix whatever he can reach without so much as a, "Can I help, Mom?"
Adorable? Yes. Is my child ruining in my journey towards finding zen? Absolutely. Not to mention the days I just want to throw something together real quick and don't need all the hands and messes. With that, here are some things I'd really rather do than let either of my kids, and especially my toddler, help with dinner. Sorry not sorry, but I don't always have time to do a 60 minute prep session for a 10 minute, toddler-mixed, meal.
Let My Partner Help With Dinner
The only thing worse (sometimes) than letting my toddler or 10 year old help make a mess in the kitchen to create something edible, is letting my grown-ass man in on the action.
On his own accord, my partner is a pretty good coo. However, he doesn't clean as he goes, he takes unnecessary steps, and he takes a lot longer than I would with the same exact dish. I'm always grateful for any offer of help, except in the kitchen when I've obviously got it under control (and might be enjoying myself). Also, where is everybody when I actually need the help? Gone, is the answer. Just, you know, gone.
Answer An Unknown Phone Call
If there is an anxiety for anything, I have it. This is especially true when my phone rings because, like, who's calling me? Seriously? I'd still rather answer it and deal with a telemarketer than let my toddler do the dinner thing.
Explain Daylight Savings Time
Guys. Have you tried to explain this phenomenon to children? Do you hear how it sounds, out loud? Do you understand this is usually when migraines happen? Even still, I'd rather talk about why we move our clocks than let my toddler "help" with dinner.
Go To A Crowded Mall Before A Holiday
Along with my anxiety with just about everything, I also have a distaste for being in public during busy times. The wait, the people, the hassle! I don't want to!
Still, I would choose going to a busy mall with last-minute holiday shoppers over cleaning up what my toddler is throwing down in the kitchen.
Let My Cat Do My Work
Everyday, I have writing projects to tend to, be it here or otherwise. I think I could let my cat do my work in lieu of letting my sweet, precocious boy whip up something to eat.
Also, my cat might be a better writer than me anyhow.
Get A Root Canal
I've never had one, and yet, it sounds like more fun than cleaning up the kitchen after my kids have "helped."
Dig Through The Trash For Homework I've Accidentally Thrown Out
Countless times, I've accidentally thrown something out my 10 year old needed for school and, countless times, I've had to dig my way through the rubbish to find my mistake. It's gross. I'll do this any day over giving the cooking reigns to my 5 year old.
Clean The Toilets
I hate bathrooms and toilets and cleaning bathrooms and toilets. I'll do it, though, if it means I can cook by myself tonight.
Go Bathing Suit Shopping
One of my least favorite things to do in the entire world is to shop for a new bathing suit. I've never liked it. It has nothing to do with how I feel in my skin (just fine, actually), and everything to do with the annoying fact that I can never find the perfect, most flattering suit. Instead, I end up spending money on something I don't love and that I'm uncomfortable in.
If you're telling me my toddler is helping with dinner tonight, I'm going to have to get a rain check so I can go bathing suit shopping.
Make Two Dinners
So one thing I've found to skirt around telling my baby boy "not this time," is to do the extra work of making two dinners — one he can help with and the one we'll actually eat. It's a lot of work and I don't prefer it, but in the end, I want him (and his older sister) to be excited about cooking so he's part of the food that goes into his body.
So maybe I'm being dramatic. When I settle down about the mess and time added, I don't mind all that much when his little hands want to mix. After all, in about 13 years those little hands will (probably) be off mixing on his own. I'd better just chill and enjoy, right? Right.