Crack an egg into a bowl. Whisk with salt and pepper. Melt a pat of butter in a skillet and pour in the egg. It doesn’t take long for the pan full of egg to go from sloshy to solid, soft and yellow. As quickly as it turns, flip it just in time to put half a slice of American cheese on it. Then, carefully slide it onto a blue plate, folding one half over the other making a half moon shape.
I would repeat this same process 5 times (if not more) making “one egg omelettes” for the kids each morning around 10:00.
I made one egg omelettes for days, weeks at a time when the pandemic started.
Deep down, I think I was trying to schedule something routine in our home where there was suddenly none. And, I think I was trying to fill their mouths so they couldn’t ask me questions because I had no answers.
I was trying to love them through the global shutdown one omelette at a time.
While their tummies were being fed, this momma was becoming exhausted. You can guess how that ended – Me screaming one morning, “I don’t want to make these anymore! Make your own food! Don’t you know how to make your own food? You’re all old enough!” Nice.
I, myself, had created that scheduled need for MEEEE for the kids. And now I was yelling about it.
Late summer of 2020, our oldest moved out to start college. I wrote about Launching Lauren and loving her and wondering what else I needed to teach her before she headed out into the world.
As it turns out, I needed a combination of the global pandemic and Lauren’s launch to learn to love in a different way.
Making one egg omelettes, while delicious and nutritious, were not preparing my crew for the world. You might be thinking, “Seriously Andrea. Does there have to be a lesson in the omelettes?” Buuuuuuut, yes, there does, there is! I’m learning that teaching them HOW to make omelettes is more powerful than simply serving them over and over.
Hear me out.
Early pandemic, I was at least one thing they could count on. I was the helper, the fixer, the distraction. My kids were fed. And I was serving them a daily portion of enabling and controlling on a blue plate, one egg omelette at a time.
Good intentions. Not so good out outcomes.
So, this week we started something new. Daily Lunch service provided by (drumroll) the kids. Each kid takes a day of the week to make lunches for mom and siblings. It’s up to the kid in charge to decide the menu and prepare it during their lunch break to make sure there’s enough for everyone.
Joseph has a salad bar in mind. Lily loves cream cheese and raspberry jelly sandwiches with a side of carrots and hummus. Luci will probably make one of those Tik Tok Tortilla wrap hack things [like this https://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/cooking-tips-techniques/quesadilla-cooking-hack-tiktok ] And John? No clue. But that’s not my problem.
The planning, the time, the effort to prepare a meal for their brothers and sisters and me is on them – not me. They become the one in charge. They will take turns learning what it takes to think of others. They will hear criticism and praise (hopefully kindly) and learn to accept it.
While the world spins and cable news channels spin ‘supposed’ facts even faster; the kids will learn the value of independent choices and how they affect others. Don’t you think?
The goal is for them to learn stuff like responsibility and accountability rather than munch down a blue plate of enabling with a side of controlling.
This being a mom thing is exhausting. I need a nap. Now, there’s an opportunity to be an example in self-care, but, I’m still learning that one too.
[Any tips on simple lunch ideas or handling global anxiety questions for 7-18 year olds or scheduling mommy care welcome in comments.]