There is one thing about Sundays I very much appreciate, even though I am often reluctant to begin the activity: making pancakes. For about forty five minutes, every Sunday, Pookie and I get a taste of what I wish our time together could always be like. We always cook to music, and for pancakes our favorites include Elizabeth and the Catapult, Of Monsters and Men, and The Head and The Heart. We’ve always made them together, and I’ve always let Pookie “help” with whatever was not going to completely ruin them. Over the years she’s expanded from doing all the mixing, to basically doing all of it except buttering the griddle and getting the eggs out (she can’t reach them). I supervise and offer feedback and put together a little fruit salad to go with them, or do dishes and wipe down counters. We chat and goof around and sing along and that’s about all there is to it.
This simple ritual, however, combines a number of elements that can not be depended on to come together, especially all of them at once, during any other point in the week. 1. I’m teaching her something of practical value that expands her sense of self-sufficiency. 2. There isn’t really any pressure to be anywhere or do anything so I can more easily relax into being present in the moment. 3. We’re having fun. 4. We are listening to good music. 5. She ends up getting fed something that was made from scratch (and at least partly by her own hands, bonus). Both my need to nurture and my need to encourage her autonomy get met (which is to say my need to see the light at the end of the tunnel of having someone totally dependent on me). Both her need for my attention and her need to discover her own capability are met. I get to do one of my favorite things- cook breakfast while listening to music- and get that “good mom” feeling at the same time.
never rarely feel like I’m a bad mom, I’m just often aware that I rarely get the chance to be the mom I’d like to be. I’m mostly okay with this: nobody gets to play any role in their life in a way that satisfies their ideals all the time, and very few moments in life live up to their promises. But pancakes live up to their promise, so on Sundays I savor the idyllic interlude, and I’m grateful I have one I can count on on a weekly basis. Thank you pancakes.