Why Having (More) Kids is Like Cooking Without A Recipe

While I’m slowly stirring broccoli, carrots, zucchinis and onions in a butter-y heated pan, in an attempt to create a revolutionised mac-and-cheese-with-vegetables dish, I’m trying to guess what the order of adding all this stuff would actually look like in a regular recipe. I’m nowhere near one, and I don’t think I wanna be. I’m just adding things as I go (or stir), mixing flavours and colours, and hoping to make everything taste as delish as it (hopefully) looks. I assume it would probably have started with the onions, followed by the veggies and maybe the chicken at the end? Or would the chicken come before the veggies? And when should I add the cheese? And the sauce. Wait, anyway, I figured it out. Oh, it looks okay-ish, but should I add more parmesan now? I guess so.

I’m adding the macaroni in the melange of flavours and mixing it with all the vitamin-infused vegetables I was able to find in the fridge and make my son eat. Damn, I forgot to add the asparagus. Nevermind. So I’ve been thinking about this tendency of mine to constantly ignore the chronological steps found in regular recipes, and about why I find it so hard to stick to a strict order and list of ingredients and spices and quantities and grams and and and. Like, I get recipes, I love to read them and remember them and then recreate whatever I feel like that night. But somehow, they seem so…limited.

And then I figured there’s two types of people in this world: bakers and chefs. A baker’s duties include measuring and weighing, setting oven temperatures, kneading, rolling, cutting and shaping, observing colours and textures, and basically waiting long hours (and days – in the case of croissants) for the simplest produces to be done. Usually bread, pastries and other baked goods that taste and smell like heaven. They are meticulous, sensitive, planned, patient, and attentive to every detail. And then on the opposite side there are the cooks, or chefs. These trained professional cooks and usually the head of a kitchen. Take Jamie Oliver for instance, and the way he plays with ingredients, improvises, throws stuff in, brings the pan on fire with a drop of alcohol, adds salt, squeezes lemon, throws the pasta in the air, just to add some extra pepper at the end for an extra flame of savour. They are spontaneous, they play with colour and taste, and don’t think twice before going crazy.

So while the topic of having another kid is becoming quite regular in our home lately, and while I was cooking dinner for my son, I couldn’t help but compare my feelings about another baby to a chef’s duties. Whereas the first time around I was basically living on Cloud 9, and just did it, without thinking and overthinking and making pro- and con- lists, and talking to friends or family and asking for advice, this time around I’m considering whether or not I should change the strategy and adapt it to my new state, new age, new everything. What if this time around I should do as everyone else does? Is there such thing as a common way to decide on having kids? Is there a manual all these moms around me are secretly reading, that I don’t know about? So I try to make an attempt. And I start weighing pros and cons, I try and picture what duties and responsibilities I will have to add to our home, about the new dynamic that will follow, about my me-time being reduced to almost zero (again!), about the lack of sleep, and lack of help, and worries, and logistics. And then I debate the topic it with my best friend, who is definitely going to “wait a couple more years so that she can get her career straight and maybe get a bigger home and and and”, and I’m literally hearing my “brain” angel talk. Right after that, I look around me and my “gut/feeling/emotional” angel from the other shoulder sees all these Dutch moms around handling two or more kids, being so happy and joyful and making everything seem full of love and fun.

I mean, there is no wonder I get this foggy cloud over my head, and my thoughts start running around wild, and I start disagreeing with myself every 5 minutes.

And then I stop thinking about it.

Until 5 hours later, when I go like “I want this. I don’t wanna keep thinking about it and whether it is or not the right thing to do”. But then again, I feel it’s too early, I feel I’m not yet accomplished on many other “departments” of my life, I feel I have so much more to do before adding a new kid to our already full house, I feel like I need more time to have fun, to enjoy my smokin’ hot body (just kidding*), to have sex, to travel, to grow, to learn, to to to. To just be ME, as long as I can still be that, without having my heart run around in not one, but two bodies.

Is this what bakers do before starting their macarons recipe? Is this how future moms are deciding whether they want kids or not? Is this how normal people do it? I frankly have no clue. I guess I never was an over-thinker or a planner, and that was sometimes good, and sometimes stupid, but when it comes to kids… How much thinking and how much feeling should we balance in our little heads and hearts? What’s the proportion we should take for granted when it comes to being both rational and emotional? Wouldn’t it be easier if it just happened so that I had to figure it out when it’s already done? Or would that just throw us into the unknown, without a safety belt, and without an emergency phone number of an au-pair?

How much extra spices should I add to my dinner without exaggerating, and how much should I listen to the recipe book? What will it be, recipe or no recipe?

Not sure I’ll ever find the right answer to this.

I guess we’ll just keep not trying to not have babies until then.

Your sincerely,

MP

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