Not all that many years ago, when my kids were still young and didn’t care much about hurting my feelings while expressing their (strong) opinions about my culinary attempts, I took their words to heart. Probably way too much, too.
I can’t say that I am or was a horrible cook; I simply hated every aspect of it. The decision making, shopping (two hours-all those distractions!), preparing, cleaning…only to hear a united “UGH” when the filled plates hit the table, brimming with meatloaf, chicken or oh…the other 5 things I had mastered over the years.
Cooking was and still is a horrific chore for me. As a woman with ADHD, the cooking machinery just doesn’t work too well, because it expects one’s executive functioning to be running as smoothly as silk. And I don’t know a single woman with ADHD that doesn’t have problems with executive functioning.
For many of us with ADHD, there’s simply too many steps involved in cooking and at some point, it often becomes ridiculously too difficult to manage.
I was thinking about the guilt involved in my giving up cooking on a regular basis and it struck me that the guilt hits me on several levels:
1. Women/moms are *supposed* to know how to get healthy meals on the table.
2. Many women I know seem to love cooking. So what’s wrong with me?
3. Many women are also pretty creative in the kitchen. I’m not one of them!
But even more so, the UGH words cut me deeper than they should have. And now I realize why: the words opened an old, vulnerable wound. It wasn’t “just” that they didn’t like what I’d prepared for dinner. It was a daily reminder that I was, in my mind, incapable of doing what most other women could do without blinking an eye. In other words, it wasn’t about feeling hurt that my food was not to their liking. It was a direct blow to my shortcomings as a woman; a mom.
What I’ve learned over the years is that I am not defined by how great- or not great- I am in the kitchen. When these feelings of inadequacy wash over me, I remind myself that my lack of certain skills does not define whether or not I’m a good mother or wife. I’m more than that. I’m also a writer, speaker, musician, artist, good friend to many, animal lover, advocate and more.
Can you re-define who YOU are by focusing on your strengths and uniqueness instead of your Mac and Cheese recipe?