the smock on being domestically disabled

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mom: drink your milk.
dewey: it‘s lumpy.
mom: then chew it.
~malcolm in the middle

the other day an acquaintance of mine told me that she takes great pride in the fact that she's fooled her entire family into thinking she can cook. she uses boxed and frozen foods exclusively, but her family thinks everything is made from scratch. when i told her, "but, you do cook. that's cooking." she was floored and a little depressed. she thought she'd been getting away with something.

but then it was i who became a little depressed. i began to think, i rarely even box-cook for my family. everything we eat is drive-thru, carry-out or delivery. of course, it doesn't help that when my children see me whip out an apron, they groan and say, "you're not cooking again are you, mom?" okay, i'm using poetic license -- i don't even own an apron. but the smocklins do moan and they do emphasize the word "cooking" as if they're doing me a great favor using the word so loosely whenever i start hunting for cooking equipment. where's that flat black thingy with a handle again? the thing for the top of the oven ... er, thing with the red circles, what’s that thing? the stove!

i once admitted to another mom that i’d stapled the hem of my daughter’s skirt as she was running to the car -- late again -- for school. the woman didn’t even blink. she winked. masking tape works wonders, too. the first time our principal sent home a note about excessive tardies -- back when I still thought that all good catholic moms had to be true smock moms -- i was mortified. last year it got so bad the principal sent us a letter informing us that he was going to charge us $5 per tardy slip. i emailed him and asked if that fee was “per family” or “per child” -- he never responded.

i found out that there is a “label” for moms like me: beta mom. the “beta” doesn’t mean we’re being tested, although i think many of us would say we are … daily. and, to the max. rather than being a term that attempts to define what we are, it defines what we certainly are not, which is an “alpha” mom. some ladies took great exception when the word was first introduced, but i sorta liked finally having a label. it gave me a sense of camaraderie. oh, i’m not the only sucky mom on the block. cool.

some of you may be asking yourselves, is this posting a boast or a plea for help? it’s neither really. i just think that if more beta moms spoke up the others wouldn’t feel like they had to beat the crap outta themselves daily. and they wouldn’t feel the need to pretend. trust me, i know more than my share of beta moms who pretend -- badly -- to be alpha moms. they just can’t seem to pull it off and, really, it demeans us all. when you tell me, rather proudly, that you spent an entire morning building a chicken coop all i can think is ... well, why? i don't want to be ugly. i just don't understand it. and i know there are great alpha moms out there thinking, you poor woman. but really, more than once i’ve had to bite my tongue with fellow beta-wanna-be-alphas. i want to say, just go with the flow, honey. i brought the same "homemade-tasting" cookies from the same super target. and that macramé with the “made in china” sticker you missed isn’t fooling anybody.

don't get me wrong. i greatly admire truly domestic women. and, i’ve tried to be more domestic myself. truly i have. i’m just not good at it and i’m beginning to think that at the age of 36 and with 6 wee ones afoot, not much will change any time soon. i think it was albert einstein who once said “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” that pretty much sums it up for the smock.


"beta mom" I like it.

I can cook. But I don't really like having to do it day in and day out. Lucky me, my husband really doesn't mind cooking dinner most nights. If it were up to me we'd be eating take out every night. Especially now that I'm experiencing the first trimester so-called "morning" sickness.

A good housekeeping day is one in which I actually throw in a load of laundry and maybe even sweep up the bits of food the baby threw on the kitchen floor. yep, definitely not an alpha mom here.

Oh yeah I don't do the cooking thing much. Spaghetti with meat sauce, taco soup (w/o meat...ha!), quesadillas - do you have one of those quesadilla makers? SO cool, mom got me one a couple of years ago and I L O V E it. Now baking, I do. I won't eat store bought chocolate chip cookies, because nothing is as good as mine(moms recipe, from an old LLL cookbook). I'll make you some, you'll see. xoxo and lets not get started on the cleaning stuff. oye. back to it...

lol. beta mom- i love that. it definitely works for you with your beautiful, well-mannered ducklings.

they're fed, clothed and have a roof over, right?

si, muchas gracias.

Heck, growing up we LOVED "cereal nights". And we thought Chef Boy Ardee was gourmet.

oh, i love it. thanks for reminding me of our own "breakfast nights." this was something that my grandmother used to do and i started doing during lent -- who doesn't love pancake fridays?

Smock, have you ever seen any of Leanne Ely's recipes?

I know plenty of people who don't cook. In fact, so many that I am thinking about starting a line of take-home products to be sold at a local deli (I have a kitchen and on-call staff, so... why not?).

The guilt thing, I just don't get. Guilt should be for letting a talent go unused or (worse) using a talent for the wrong ends.

I can recognize the talent needed to fix transmissions. I sometimes need to get a transmission fixed. But I am not, in any way, going to crack one open to tinker with it. I know, I could learn how to do this, but I am not going to do it. Now, I am not a complete mechanical-phobe. There are plenty of things I will fix on the car. I have even started to dabble in the electrical system of our Ford (if you have a Ford you either need a large bank account or an interest in dabbling with electrical systems - I think this might be the last Allied vehicle we drive).

So it is with cooking. Sure, most folks can open up a can of chili or make a pb and j sandwich, and on many nights, that does the trick. But to feel guilty that one is not serving authentic Italian food every single night, especially if one is not even Italian, is not worth it.

Now, if you are Italian, and come from a line of cooks, produce vendors, winemakers, etc., and you know how to make perfect ravioli, and yet, don't, out of laziness, well, that is a different story.

My advice to non-Italians is to marry an Italian, or live near one, or somehow get an Italian to feed you. A Frog will work in a pinch, but French cuisine is really a second-tier cuisine to the Italian.

OMG, mr. keilholtz, i'm drooling just thinking about italian. mmmmmmMMMmmmmm.

thank you so much for sharing your professional opinion.

FYI, we have a ford excursion. it's the only vehicle we could get that would seat our family -- without upgrading to a prison van, that is.



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This page contains a single entry by smockmomma published on August 10, 2007 8:57 AM.

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