“Sympathy for the Stay-At-Home Mom”

Worth a read:

Stay-at-Home Mom Debate: It’s About Work Hours | New Republic.

When Friedan was writing The Feminine Mystique, the 40-hour-a-week office job was still a norm… Today, whether you’re male or female, if you’re taking home an upper-middle-class salary you’re expected to work an average of 50 hours, and probably more, a lot of it after you’ve gone home… Among American dual-career couples, in the 1990s, 15.2 percent of those with at least college degrees worked a joint 100 hours a week or more, whereas only 9.6 of couples without diplomas did that. Try to imagine what that 100-hour workweek looked like to a child: that’s five 10-hour days, plus commutes, for both parents.

the truth about cooking

This right here? It’s a great article. “Cooking isn’t fun, but you should do it anyway.”

“Making food quickly and well is easy once you know how to do it, but it is a learned skill, the acquisition of which takes time, practice, and the making of mistakes.”

Now, fortunately, I’m good in the kitchen. I lived on my own for a long time, and had roommates and grad school buddies who are excellent bakers and cooks, and I learned a lot from them. Plus, I think I may have inherited from my mother a keen sense of taste and smell that makes cooking a bit more interesting and intuitive.

But when I cook for my husband and/or children (a mostly thrice-daily occurrence), I feel a little anxious. I spent about three to four hours a day dealing with meals–preparation, cooking, cleaning up afterward. If you add in the time spent shopping for that food, between 25 and 30 percent of my waking hours are devoted to feeding my family. That’s a lot of time.

I want them to like what’s on their plates. No, I need them to love it. Otherwise, (and this is perhaps due to my near pathological need for constant validation), what’s the point?

“I now think of it [cooking] not as a choice but as a chore—and that’s been oddly freeing.”

It is freeing. I need to remember that. I don’t need to be a rock star and hear applause at the end of every meal.  (Though it would be nice… if a little weird.)

It’s just that my “chores” include cleaning bathrooms, doing laundry, mopping floors… Cooking is higher up on the chore hierarchy, specifically because it requires skill, time and practice.

It’s work, honest-to-goodness, people-get-paid-a-lot-to-do-this, work.

Yesterday, I roasted three beets and peeled them, made farro, sauteed some swiss chard and spinach with shallots and garlic and salt and pepper, pan-grilled a couple of chicken-apple sausages, and put it all together with some goat cheese on top.

It was a lovely dinner. Mark Bittman would approve. More important, my husband said “thank you” twice, complimented the meal sincerely (even got seconds), and took some leftovers for lunch today.

Cooking isn’t fun, and you should do it anyway. And if somebody just cooked for you, or regularly cooks for you, and you’re an adult who could cook for yourself?

Kiss the cook. That’s cheaper than eating out, and much better for you.