On grass-fed flan and unrealistic expectations for motherhood

Tonight, I had what could loosely be described as an out-of-body experience. I'd just finished Avery's bath and handed her off to Mark for some bedtime books, and was standing in the kitchen, rolling the second half of my gluten-free cookie dough into balls in preparation for baking. Why was I baking GF cookies, you ask? Because tomorrow, Avery's daycare/preschool is having the Fall Parent Potluck, and I signed up to bake cookies. And because our daycare is allergen-sensitive, I agreed to remove gluten and nuts from my cookies. I even selected a GF flour that didn't include any nut flour. Seriously.

So I'm standing there in the kitchen, plucking ping pong ball-sized mounds of dough out of my KitchenAid stand mixer mixing bowl, calculating how many cookies I need to bring to the potluck and how many I can bring into the office tomorrow (because I can't feed the excess to my toddler and eating them myself isn't a good option), when suddenly I felt as though I was out of my body, staring down at my own absurdity.

If the notion of standing in one's kitchen, baking cookies for a bunch of strangers and their snotty, allergic children, doesn't strike you as patently absurd, fine. Let me add context.

This morning, I woke up at 6AM. I worked out for an hour. Then I showered and applied make-up and put on actually clean, non-wrinkled clothes and tossed in a load of laundry. Oh, and then I took the dog for a walk and dropped off the dry cleaning. And then I went to work for nine hours.

At 5pm, I raced out of the office to pick Avery up from daycare before the 10 hour window she's legally allowed to spend in daycare expired. Then I stopped at the grocery store to pick up some things for dinner. Then I came home and held my 25 pound toddler on my hip while I browned butter for cookies (thank you, Cooks' Illustrated for making chocolate chip cookies difficult) and tried to make myself feel like a less terrible parent by allowing her to dump pre-measured cups of gluten-free flour into a mixing bowl... because HELPING!!! Oh, did I mention that I was doing this while I was cooking dinner?

And so post-bathtime, standing in my kitchen, baking allergen-friendly cookies for a bunch of strangers, I experienced what can only be described as a total WTF moment.

Don't get me wrong. This is not "WTF" in the resentful sense. It's really more "WTF" in the sense of "how did I become this woman?"

On the one hand, I'm too tired to be that woman. Really. I have a full-time job and a toddler. I'm tired. For reals, I actually fell asleep at 7:30PM last night. I'm tired.

On the other hand, it makes me realize that I really, really, need to remain gainfully employed outside the home otherwise I will absolutely become the woman who brings flan to the bake sale. Flan. Made with milk sourced directly from grass-fed, pasture-raised cows in Spain. And eco-friendly sugar from wherever the fuck you get that now. And artisanal vanilla.

At the risk of bringing the wrath of the internet down on me, I'm going to tell the truth. I want to be the mommy that can do it all. I want to have it all. Not just the job and the family. I want the career and the family and the perfect homemade chocolate chip cookies and the clean house. And abs. I want abs.

I do really, really want that. And I also recognize that it is completely insane. Like, off the rails, full-bananas crazy insane. I'm competing against a standard that exists only in the most sadistic of fictional accounts of motherhood. I'm like that dewey, skinny, blonde woman who breastfed her four-year-old on the cover of Newsweek or TIME (or whatever publication). Only instead of skinny jeans and breasts that should not be that perky after feeding a child for four years, I'm wearing cropped slacks and a blazer, holding a platter of gluten-free chocolate chip cookies and organic, grass-fed flan while standing next to my adorable child who is presumably attempting to lunge out of the frame even as I snap my fingers and attempt to coax a smile. In a cute way, of course.

As I finished that sentence, my darling husband looked over and asked what I'd been doing while he watched a South Park episode that, ironically and perfectly, took aim at the culture of shamelessness in America. I said I'd been blogging, to which he replied, "oh, it's been a while since you've done that... haha, I wonder why."

Because I have a full-time job. And a toddler. And for some absolutely, utterly absurd and inexplicable reason, I agree to bake gluten-free chocolate chip cookies for strangers.

Who will consume them at an event that requires me to duck out of work early even while I'm insanely busy.

The duration of which event I will spend thinking about how soon I can grab my kid and bail.

I just keep telling myself, it's better than bringing flan to the bake sale.


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