Two days ago we had a complete and utter meltdown. By 'we', I don't mean the toddler in our household. I mean me.
My significant other's daughter had been away overseas for what seemed like a long time. Any time away from your child is a long time, but this had felt like an age, and so on the night of her return I wanted everything to be perfect. His Majesty had mentioned earlier in the week that my veggies were looking wonderful. (Awwwww, blush. I am rather fond of my vegetable patch!)
So, I went to buy noodles. Vermicelli is Chinese, right? And jars. All different flavours. And vegetables. Expensive vegetables, to compliment the perfectly good, healthy, fresh and free ones in the garden. Make sense? Can you see how I am setting myself up for disaster?
So, I start cooking. Lots of veggies. Whole packet of noodles. Cook them to long? They will be fine. Make Peanut Butter biscuits for after dinner? Why not, I am Supermum! I CAN DO ANYTHING! Started cooking to early, don't stress, I will just simmer it longer. Noodles looking a little starchy, but they will be fine. Seems like a lot of veggies? Oh well, sauce will cover it. Right. (Looks a little odd) NEVER MIND, COOKIES IN OVEN, GO AWAY SMALL CHILD, MUMMY IS COOKING, OH MY GOD, THEY'RE HOME!
Kisses, Cuddles, Happy faces, I mix the noodles with the veggies and sauce. Hmmmm, not enough sauce. Okay, ummmmm, add another jar. Chinese BBQ and Honey Soy go together right? In it goes anyway. Noodles are giving off a lot of water....ummmm, serve anyway?
And I did.
His Majesty took a bite, and looked up at me sideways. I admitted it wasn't very good, and he tried to make a joke about how truly terrible it was. Maybe it would make good compost? We would make some Asian worms happy? Something like that. Of course, I did what any rational person would do and burst into tears.
Cuddles and love, don't stress, don't stress, okay, vegemite sandwiches all round, thank you kisses, semblance of sanity returns. Feeling useless and disempowered, I go to do pull the biscuits out of the oven. Now, biscuits I CAN DO, and I know these will be awesome. I will redeem myself as domestic goddess and be in control and master of my domain once again. Kitchen mitt, grab tray, turn and trip over.
The warm, peanutty, perfectly round and golden brown biscuits crumbled into a thousand pieces as they hit the stove top and my vision of creating a perfect evening shatters.
I snapped, turning the now-empty tray over in my hand and slamming it into the useless pieces. Bang. I screamed. An ear-piercing scream that scared my girls and sent my darlng other half sprinting into the kitchen in a panic. And then, embarrassed, shamefaced and very, very upset, I ran for my bed where I cried and cried and cried. Tiny voices echoed from the playroom; 'Your Mummy's crying' 'What's wrong with Mummy?' Not, I am not alright, but I cannot actually tell you what is wrong. It's not really to do with the food at all, but all about how I feel about myself, as a person, and as a mother.
It took me a very long while to calm down and it's not really something I am very proud of. I don't like feeling stupid and useless, because I am not. Why couldn't I just not care? It was only food. I had based my idea of perfection and my own self concept as a partner and a mother around 'things'. I was using unrealistic expectations as the goal posts and allowed myself to fall apart when I fell short. And when it all boils down to it, what I already had, was perfect. As soon as my family were all together again, we were already complete, and a round of vegemite sandwiches could not ruin that.
As soon as Ava asked me 'Mummy, What's wrong?' with big, sad eyes, and hugged me hard when I answered that I was sad, I knew that I had screwed up. It wasn't the dinner, but it was where all my energy had been for the entire evening. My precious, precious jewells are my loved ones, and I had forgotten that in my own minds race to be perfect...
....and who actually has a toddler who eats silverbeet anyway?