At least in my experience...
Monday, 8 January 2018
GOING BACK TO THE KITCHEN
“When my kids came home, there was music, and there were lights on, and there were great smells coming out of the kitchen,” he said. “And it was just a joyful place to be, and that’s what I wanted,” said Rick Moranis opening up about his retirement from movies.
The other day I came across an article on Rick Moranis, the guy I knew from Ghostbusters and Honey! I Shrunk the Kids. Wondering what happened to him after all these years, I read the article. The article mentioned how after his wife’s passing, Rick Moranis fled filmmaking entirely, leaving behind an unimpeachable legacy. He’d been unofficially backing out of Hollywood for several years before that, since the death of his wife to breast cancer, and then suddenly, arguably at the peak of his career, Moranis just … vanished.
He just quit! The article quotes Rick as saying that having had a wonderful childhood himself, he wanted to recreate that for his own kids who had lost their mother.
Wow…how many people can do that. Yes, you might say, he had the means to be at home looking after his kids and didn’t have to work because he needed to earn money but really, even then, how many of you out there can quit a career you are doing marvelously at and earning pots of money too.
There is something to say about that staying at home, making it a wonderful place for the children to grow and thrive in. It certainly struck a chord with me. I am a stay at home mother too but I won’t say I work as a homemaker day and night, cooking and cleaning. I pick up freelance assignments, I work-out, I socialise, I write… while most of the homemaker chores are done by my two trusted shall I say assistants. Now, I have trained them so fine that they really don’t need any supervision and the house runs like a well-oiled machine, at least most of the time. I am more of a delegator and supervisor than a homemaker actually, who does all the back-breaking work herself. The dictionary defines a homemaker as ‘a wife who manages a household while her husband earns the family income,’ and I do just that, manage the house, leaving all the arduous and laborious tasks to my ‘assistants’. This includes, cleaning, laundry, cooking, gardening and so much more all you people know well enough.
A few years ago, I had gone through what I can only describe as a ‘horrid horrid phase’ struggling with myself and my place in the world. And as much as it upset me, it was my family which was the worst affected. But as the cliché goes…each time the sun sets into a dark dark night, it rises to a better and brighter morning.
What helped me out of the dark phase was involving myself in my family and home. I immersed myself in cooking, cleaning, the kids, their school and homework, fitness of the whole family, my work, but more importantly, I kicked off the bad habit of depending on my help. I began by cooking in the mornings for my kids (my kids need 3 tiffins each), my husband’s and my mother in law’s breakfast, cleaning the kitchen, and making the beds.
Not much, just a small part of the daily chores, but this brought about a whole lot of difference to our lives at home. The children were happy, more helpful, less demanding because it was their mother who was cooking now. I could even involve them in some of the chores at home in the guise of helping me, I could supervise and manage better because I knew what was going on in the kitchen, my husband and mother in law were more accommodating and cooperative too, impressed that I was taking on some of the cooking and cleaning, over and above the tasks of looking after the kids and their needs and my professional work. My husband has never learnt to cook but he makes sure he stands next to me to help me or just give me company. My 8-year-old also has developed a passion for cooking, his favourite being pancakes on Sunday mornings. All of us therefore ended up spending a lot of time together as a family. Simple pleasurable moments…this has all of course brought us closer, helped me get a hold of myself, made me sort out a lot of my issues. I now take pride and delight in the simple things in life.
Many told me that doing these chores at home will soon get old and that they are a big waste of time especially when we have help and that we have more important things to do like going out to work, going to the gym, shopping, partying…but I must admit I have not developed a hatred towards the so called menial tasks I have to do every day. Many others do it…cooking for the whole family before they leave for office and then coming back tired and exhausted but still finding deep within themselves the strength to cook, clean and spend quality time with their kids, all on their volition. While most perform most of their homemaking chores because they have no other choice, there are many who are homemakers because they love making their homes a loving and warm place for their families.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying others who don’t find enjoyment in cooking or cleaning and leave it to their help are doing any less or anything wrong. Everyone needs to find what they want to do and derive satisfaction from it in their own way. I also don't want my boys to grow up thinking a woman's only role is in the kitchen and that they shouldn't have to help out around the house just because their dad goes out to work and I stay at home. Like I mentioned before, seeing me and their dad working in the house has taught them to do their own chores and help out more. I also plan to teach them how to do their own laundry, clean up after themselves and cook, because these aren't inherently female skills.
What Rick Moranis did for his children was impressive and very rarely done, but there's a lesson for everyone to learn here. Spending lots and lots of time doing regular, everyday things with our children – like making and eating dinner and cleaning up afterwards – isn’t that what enriches our lives and relationships, removes distractions and promotes values.