Also, I was going to be organized.
The mom in my head had a mudroom with hooks for jackets, hats, and scarves. She had a perfectly organized filing system. She had a system for keeping track of which permission slips and report cards needed to be signed for each child. And she cooked wholesome, nutritious meals from scratch, for the whole family.
The mom I actually am? I barely cooked at all until Baguette was almost a year and a half old. Sure, there were dishes I made for her. But Mr. Sandwich cooked for himself, and I often scavenged whatever I could find in the evening. A full-time job, a long commute, and a baby who resists sleep meant that I could never dedicate the time it takes to plan a meal, much less count on being able to cook it.
And then, one day, I discovered that Baguette had developed an attention span just long enough for me to throw ingredients in the slow cooker. It was a miracle! I could actually prepare something that would provide not just dinner, but leftovers for a few more meals during the week.
The thing is, I was confined to the slow-cooker. Baguette hated the sound of the stand mixer, which meant that my attempts to make pumpkin bread (which she loves) were met with forceful statements of "No, Mommy!" And I still didn't have time to prepare ingredients for more than one dish. A main course and sides? Forget it.
Until I did.
Suddenly last month I found that I could manage a soup and a side--grilled cheese or a cornbread casserole. And since it's winter and we've been fighting colds, soup has had a lot of appeal. So with a freezer full of stock (the slow-cooker is still in my arsenal), I can make a batch of soup, even on a weeknight. And while it's cooking, I can throw together something that makes it a little more hearty.
Two years ago, I couldn't figure out how we'd ever again host a holiday dinner. We're not there yet, but I can see that someday we will be. And maybe I'll even be able to develop those organizing systems used by the mom in my head.
Even if our house never has a mudroom.