Cooking: A Joy or a Drain?

How I learned the difference
March 27, 2014 Updated: January 20, 2015

After an exhausting week leading into an even busier weekend, I somehow convinced myself that I needed to make a soup. I had the ingredients in the fridge and despite the sense of sluggishness taking over my body, I had convinced myself that this soup took priority over a relaxing Sunday afternoon.

What, you may be wondering, is it about? I suppose it’s about my hard-core commitment to feeding my son healthy, homemade food. I try not to overdo mac and cheese, pizza, or any of those quick and easy toddler favorites.

I want my son to eat pretty much what I eat—organic, wholesome, and appropriate for the season, hence my intense desire to make a winter chicken-noodle soup—with dill, parsnips, and coriander seeds (a fabulous flavor combo).

My husband saw my eyes when I walked in the door on that Sunday evening. I was heading toward delirious, and frankly, not in the best mood.

“Go lie down!” he ordered. “It’s only 5 p.m. There’s nothing to do. Go lie down!”

Nothing to do? For a mom, there’s always something to do.

In that moment, I had a choice to make—it was the soup or me.

But what I realized is that the soup was really a symbol for my always well-intentioned but sometimes, obsessive commitments to healthy eating. Is there ever a point where I’ve gone too far? I realized that if I didn’t lie down but stayed up and made the soup, I would have officially gone too far.

Health is everything—it’s not only what we eat but also the rest we give ourselves, the conversations we have time for, and how we are able to be present for playtime with our kids.

So I lay down. I slept for about 20 minutes, and when I woke up, I felt better. The rest of the evening I was able to chase my son in his favorite game of “I Got You!” and give him a bath, including a hair comb. (If you’ve seen pictures of my son’s curls, you know this takes energy!) And after he went to bed, I turned on the Golden Globes and realized I actually had the energy to make the soup. And so I did.

It’s so easy to sacrifice the self and our individual needs for the perceived needs of our children. But I’m pretty certain my son was better off for being able to run around with me because I had actually rested instead of slaving over the soup at the exact moment I thought I had to make it.

Anyway, he enjoyed a big bowl of soup for dinner the next day, and I sat down and enjoyed it with him too, knowing it was made when mommy felt great about making it. And that usually makes the most delicious soups, doesn’t it?

Writing is Randi’s favorite way to share the profound experience of motherhood. As an NYC mom, yogi, and entrepreneur, Randi creates bespoke workshops and gatherings for women who want to share the best ways to stay grounded and engaged, living life inspired. Follow her stories, events, and community at www.randizinn.com