First things first. If you – or anyone you know – would benefit from having dinner delivered to you in the middle of this madness, sign up here. Done? Cool. With that out of the way…
I don’t know about you mamas, but three weeks ago I was feeling helpless amidst the coronavirus craziness. Completely, totally helpless. Everyone has a different coping mechanism for helplessness, and I’ve been through my fair share of them since the beginning of the pandemic. Let’s take a look, shall we?
- Friday: Ate ice cream, drank wine, and binge-watched Grace and Frankie until midnight.
- Tuesday: Googled ‘coronavirus update’ sixteen different times throughout the day.
- Sunday: Wore cleaning gloves to wipe down all our incoming groceries with alcohol. Sanitized my hands six times afterward.
- Blursday: picked a fight with my other half over dinner choices because, um, I’m bored?
While sometimes those things felt good in the moment, I’m not sure any of them are particularly helpful (with the exception, perhaps, of disinfecting my groceries). Further, I’ve got a three-year-old who definitely knows something is up, and I’ve realized I’m unintentionally teaching her my coping mechanisms. For example: The other day she started spraying the windows inside our house with hand sanitizer “in case somebody touched it”. Then she told me her brother’s ball rolled past the gate and could I go get it, “but you need gloves, mama, because c’ronavirus.” She’s eaten more cookies in the last two weeks than she had in her entire lifetime and knows every character in Dora the Explorer, whereas a month ago she didn’t know Dora existed.
So: rather than simply coping I got to thinking: what actually makes me happy? What fills my cup? And, can I show my three-year-old daughter how to handle these new emotions in a healthier way?
It just kind of came to me in a moment of clarity. Two things make me really, really happy: cooking, and helping people. Those two things also happen to make my three-year-old really happy. What if I put it all together?
So, Cimorene and I started cooking together. And instead of just cooking for ourselves, we made extra. A LOT extra. We asked neighbors. Our Instacart delivery driver. Did anyone maybe want a lasagna? It felt so good to finally be useful! As we ran out of neighbors we started posting to moms’ groups on Facebook, trying to find mamas that needed a little extra love so we could deliver them a home-cooked meal. Lost income. Lost childcare. Heck, lost sanity! The reason didn’t matter. We were hooked. We had turned helplessness into helpfulness.
Now, when we’re in the kitchen together, I ask Cimorene what she’s doing. She tells me “We’re cooking”. Why? “Because mamas and niños are sad, and so we bring them dinner!” I like this a whole lot better than her sanitizing the windows.
This is not to say that ice cream and cookies and Grace and Frankie and Dora the Explorer don’t have their place. They do! And I will continue to love on Ben and Jerry’s and Netflix – every once in a while – because these are unusual times. But I’m going to balance that out with as much contribution as I can, not only because it’s good for our community and the world, but because selfishly it’s good for me. And because when my daughter is grown up and faces something unthinkable, I want her instinct not to be how can she hide, but how can she help.
Seriously, mamas. If you want a lasagna, we want to make one for you!
Or, do you know another mama who needs a little lasagna in their life? Sign up for them, and we’ll deliver it with love from you.
About our Guest Contributor
Rhiannon Menn is a mama, chef, designer, and adventurer. She loves decaf coffee, traveling, and super fuzzy sweaters. She’s never met a bread pudding she didn’t like! In 2019 after the birth of her second child she had an epiphany: when she took good care of herself, she was way better at taking care of those around her. Her site, Good to Mama, was born. As she writes to change the narrative about what it means to be a mom, she also shares funny stories, recipes, and pictures of her two favorite toddlers. You can find her at www.begoodtomama.com, or on Instagram @rhiannonmenn.