Thursday, September 22, 2011

Baking Cookies

I'm making cookies right now, while both girls sleep. There are about 7 baskets of unfolded laundry and wet clothes in the dryer and toys strewn about my feet as I bake, but I really, really like to eat cookies, and so I'm baking.
This is another thing I've adopted lately, as my life has become more and more consumed with caring for others: I try to be really nice to myself in the little ways I can, like buying myself peanut M&Ms at the grocery store checkout before my girls are old enough to ask for a packet themselves, and sometimes sneaking in a quick read of the paper while I'm nursing Maeve during Fiona's nap instead of nursing her in the Ergo while I do housework.
Do you know that in 7 years of being a stay at home Mom I have never once just done something fun or nice for myself while my children napped? I hesitated to write this, because I had to spend quite a few minutes thinking carefully to make sure I was not conjuring up some sort of lie. But I think it's really true, I don't think I've ever just sat in a chair and tucked into a good book or started a sewing project (unless I was working frantically on the project for somebody else) on a weekday. You could look at that and say, "Wow, she's a really devoted mother and housekeeper" but I look at it instead and say, "Wow, what an idiot. All those hours where she could have had just half an hour of self-care and she's racing around like a madman and probably crabby by 5 PM as a result."
I remember that when I was pregnant with Aoife in the winter of 2006, Liam had a swimming class on Saturday mornings and Greg and I took turns bringing him. I vividly recall that somehow, since it was the weekend, I felt this gave me license to sit in the yellow glider in the sunroom with my book. It was so delicious to be alone in my house, just reading. I remember so well, it was Catherine Newman's book "Waiting for Birdy", and while it was a book on parenting (which usually annoy me to no end because the authors are so entitled and oblivious of the possibility of either loss or gratitude) this book did not strike me this way; one because I knew Catherine and she was so kind and emotional during Charlotte's death and Liam's birth, and also because her writing is neither assuming of her own good fortune nor annoying in any way. I read on those mornings and I felt no guilt because it was the weekend; yet I have not been able (or has it not even occurred to me?) to do this during the week in all those years. Why?
On those mornings, what I wanted to do was read, and so I read. But somehow I was under the (false) impression that since others (namely my husband) were at work, I also should be working.
But won't I work better, and more efficiently, if I'm happy and fulfilled? I say, YES, heartily and fully. So in the oven they are, delicious cowboy cookies, and if you're so inclined you could go and bake them yourself.

1 cup sugar

1 ¼ cups packed brown sugar

1 cup shortening (I use butter)

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp/ baking powder

2 ½ cups quick cooking oats

2 cups chips (flavors of your choice!)

Combine all ingredients in bowl in the order given, mixing by hand after each addition. Place on greased cookie sheet (I use the parchment paper instead).

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until light brown…..Cool on wire rack…


Annie said...

This post really resonated with me. I have three boys and used to run around like a crazy person during their nap time, mopping floors, straightening, prepping dinner...three kids in, I have learned to be more gentle with myself. Now I curl up with a blanket and a book on our front porch, sometimes dozing with the light breeze and sound of birds.
I have been craving cookies recently, and I'll forgo my standard recipe for this one in the very near future. Thanks for sharing!

Sara said...

I'm often up with E. in the morning for 1/2 and hour to an hour before anyone else gets up. Once I feed her, she's usually pretty content to do her own thing. I have coffee and read or write. It is the only time of day I can completely ignore work, laundry, piled up dishes, and all that other stuff that has to get done.

Hope's Mama said...

During the tail end of Juliet's pregnancy, I was sneaking in an hour or so of just lying down, watching TV or reading. Because I was exhausted. And because I could, as I had no other kids to chase around. But like you, I'm always saying I should do more for me, as I think it would make for a happier me, therefore a happier mummy.
Those cookies sound DELICIOUS! I baked up a storm while Simon was on leave. I might attempt these on the weekend. When you say chips, do you mean chocolate chips? I could do dark chocolate to be nice and indulgent for myself!!

Rika said...

Thanks for keeping it real Carol. And so glad you are taking a moment. Wish I could have a cookie and wine with you. xo