Lately it seems that my approval rating as a mom is highly dependent on the quality of food coming out of my kitchen. Maybe it has something to do with having two ravenous teenagers in the house. Poll my kids and you’ll find that homemade pickles, after-school cookies, and weekend hamburgers send my numbers through the roof. So when I made bread last week and forgot to put in the salt and my kids were still forced to eat it, the numbers took a nose dive.
Have you ever had bread without salt? You might as well just open a bag of flour and eat it straight than mess with eating the blah-ness that is salt-free bread. No amount of butter and jam could cover up the fact that it was a big fat food fail for Mama. And I was too cheap to chuck it and start over.
But I think I redeemed myself, at least with the younger kids, when I green-lighted a project the next day. I made the supreme mother sacrifice: I let the kids paint.
What is it with painting that makes it so hard to say “yes”? I’ll tell you – it’s the newspapers, brushes, paints, mugs of water, smocks (which I just discovered that Ibu L – God love her – had cut up to make rags). All that prevention and I still end up with paint in my hair.
I feel like I’ve spent a good many of my parenting years either cleaning up messes (exploding diapers, toddler food fights, midnight pukes, playdate pandemonium) or trying to prevent them (“stay outside till it’s your turn to shower,” “eat that outside,” “I’ll pay you a dollar if you puke in the toilet” – thanks Jon and Ceri for that tip). Kids are messy, and most of it is inevitable. And when the outside world is so darn messy (you should have seen the puddle of sludge I put my foot into at the pasar this week), I need my home to have some semblance of order and cleanliness to stay sane.
So to invite the mess and chaos – to allow them to paint, or help you cook, or do experiments – well, that just kicks you up into the Supermom category and redeems any salt-free bread mishaps.
And you might just get a cute pet rock out of it.