A few months after I got married, I passed Williams-Sonoma on my way home from work. Staring at the window display of a plentiful dining room table with desserts scattered on cream-colored serving platters, I realized that I had never registered for bakeware. I panicked—what if I needed to bake something? I didn’t have the proper supplies.
So I walked into the store and came out with heavy shopping bags full of bundt pans, mixing bowls, and cookie cutters. And so began my obsession with Williams-Sonoma. Every day after work, I headed over to the store and walked out with more bakeware. One night when I came home with yet another bag full of pastry tools, cupcake pans, and cookie sheets, my husband asked when he thought this phase might end.
“You don’t even like to bake,” he said. “And we don’t eat a lot of sweets.”
“But what if we have guests over? What if we want to make dessert?” I asked.
Even though I knew he was right, I wanted to feel prepared. I hit rock bottom when I ordered monogrammed whisks and spatulas from the Williams-Sonoma website. I finally admitted to having a problem, and then this phase did indeed end.
The truth was I never enjoyed being in the kitchen. If I had free time, the kitchen was the last place I wanted to spend those precious minutes. But I had a fantasy that I would be the kind of wife who would have something hot coming out of the oven. Five years later, I still have never touched my Williams-Sonoma stash, but if I ever have the desire to bake I’m all set.
When I was pregnant, I didn’t make the same mistake. I registered for the most high-end baby food maker, since of course I would be making all solid foods from scratch. I bought the breast friend pillow for nursing and every breast pump accouterment. My registry represented the kind of mom I intended to become—there were educational Baby Einstein toys, organic cotton swaddles, a picnic blanket, and all of the classic children’s books.
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My son recently turned 6 months, and I had a Williams-Sonoma flashback. There are times when I read to my baby, play music, and roll around with him on the activity mat. But there are also times when I plop him in a bouncy seat with a toy and read a chapter of my own novel. I adore my son to death but I think I love him a little more on the days that he takes an hour and a half nap than on the days he sleeps for only 20 minutes. Out of sheer laziness, when introducing solids I prefer to feed him mashed banana or sweet potato rather than bust out the Beaba machine to make a puree.
Am I a bad mom? I don’t think so. But am I the picture perfect vision I had when I was pregnant? Definitely not.
I’m starting to understand that motherhood is a constant balancing act between giving to your baby while also being good to yourself. When the scale tips toward the baby, I feel depleted. And when the scale tips toward me, I feel guilty. This constant juggle has to take into consideration both of our temperaments, the circumstances, and what we each need at any given moment. I’m learning that prioritizing my sanity doesn’t make me subpar.
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I want to be a kind, loving, and patient mom above all else. And if that means mushing a banana, then I’ll put away the baby food maker for now.