Experiments in the Kitchen
Have you ever wanted those you live with, be it family or friends, to be more involved in the sharing of the running of the household? I certainly have but as I discussed in "last weeks blog" I have not always been so good at letting go of unhelpful ideas regarding the needing to control how I wanted things done and that whole ‘needing to be needed’ over parenting unhelpful habit. I have also often been unsure of how to involve others without nagging and needing to be in total control.
Following are a couple of great ideas that have helped me let go of the control and have others I live with more involved in the cooking – joyfully even!!!!
My Signature dish
A few years ago now I heard of a family who had young children, around five or six years old. This family had a tradition of teaching their young children one dish that they could easily cook. From memory it was their favorite, and I am sure you can guess what the most popular option was, Spaghetti Bolognese.
So the child selected their ‘signature dish’ and was assisted to learn to cook this, so they could make it by themselves. They then went on to cook this dish once per week for the family. While in our family we missed the boat regarding this idea for young children, but we have been able to adapt the idea so that we each take a night of the week to cook. Also as I said last week, our family discussion regarding me taking responsibility for the whole ‘over-parenting’ thing rather than playing the blame game, allowed for others to take responsibility to be involved in household tasks like cooking and for us all to work together with more cooperation, peace and joy.
The challenge for me is to let go of getting in there to help or control what is going on and rather let them have the run of the kitchen to create their meal for us all. It is often better if I get out of the kitchen and house. I try to remind myself to let go of expectation and judgment and to be appreciative and encouraging. Some of us have developed a ‘signature dish’ while others have been a little more adventurous. If we are unable to make a meal on our assigned night because we are going out or whatever we can swap with someone else or prepare a meal to be heated up. I don’t want to present my family as having everything sorted, this like everything else is a work in progress and often things go not as planned. We are all learning and all doing our best to live with cooperation and respect. I am so grateful for not having to cook every day and for the opportunity to let go of my control of the kitchen and share. Good for us all and harmony at home.
The Cooking without Expectation Experiment
A few years ago I became aware of how much I was looking for my families’ approval of my cooking. This was certainly not the only area of my life I was looking for the approval of others, though it was the first one that was obvious to me. As I discussed in "last weeks blog" often we go looking for others’ approval of us in whatever role we play. I noticed how much I looked for this approval and appreciation from my family following every meal I cooked. Did you like that? Etc. The truth is we need to give this approval to ourselves. We cannot get approval from others until we are able to give it to ourselves. The tools that have helped me approve of myself are;
I decided when I cooked a meal I would watch my mind around the need for approval or appreciation. So with my tools of understanding I was doing my best, that perfection was an impossible goal and watching my mind around comparing myself to others as better or worse I would do my best to prepare a healthy meal without expectation of praise or approval. I decided to trial some new meals as I was sometimes in the habit of bringing out the same old meals without too much care or thought. If the family liked the meal it would go into a recipe book for future use, if not it wouldn’t. It was so interesting to let go of expectation of whether it would go into the book or not. I knew I could approve of myself – I was doing my best to make a meal that was healthy and tasty and resisted the expectation of approval or appreciated, somewhat tricky but well worth it.
I learnt I could approve of myself, doing my best without seeking approval from others, comparing myself to others, or expecting perfection.
Many meals did not make it into the book, some were flops and others were a success. Knowing I had done my best and letting go of the result or need for approval was liberating and fun. It is when I can get that 'worried Maree' who is concerned about getting approval and appreciation from others, out of the way and do my best to do what is needed for others at the time that I am happiest. Doing my best to plan and prepare a meal without expectation or appreciation, approval or even success is a much more fun and peaceful way to go.
Why not explore doing the Worry to Wonder 4 week course to develop a mindfulness meditation practice and equip yourself with some tools for a happier, more confident and peaceful you and your family.
This 4-week course can be done individually or together with your child too. It can be done face to face or through Skype or Face time. Click on the image below for more information
If you feel you would like to know more sign up for a free 30 minute phone consultation with Maree to see if we seem like a good fit. CLICK HERE
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