I will admit that I feed my girls drive-thru easily once a week. Dry cereal in a Mardi Gras cup for breakfast? Check. We are go-go-go. That is likely no surprise for any busy mom. I’m living out the “hustle doesn’t sleep” business owner life, burning the midnight oil pushing out new content, writing proposals, redesigning a program … Yet, I also bake from scratch regularly.
I leisurely leaf through multiple cookbooks, spending time reading the recipes, my finger running down the ingredient list soundlessly wording out each one. I bake because it takes time. It makes me stop and pay attention.
So often, I feel like a short order cook in an endless cycle of fast moving pans and microwave doors flying open and shut while eyeing multiple burners. It feels that eating is less of an event and more of “that thing we do before and after the next activity.”
Over the years, I’ve incorporated baking as the actual activity. It is always baking; cooking does not have the same feeling for me. In baking, we are often not against the clock for the next step. There is something so grounding about feeling the resistance of the flour in the measuring cup while I scoop through the enormous bag. You have to slow down to level off that perfect 1/4 tsp of baking powder.
Now my two girls are getting in on the baking fun. And it’s fun for them, likely not a stress relieving activity. It is wonderful to show them the different ingredients, learning new techniques such as breaking an egg or grating a nutmeg. They, too, are focused and centered on the activity, anxiously waiting for their turn from their sister to measure and pour the vanilla. These fine motor skill activities remind me of stacking blocks with them as a child, giving all my attention to what their little hands are doing. And when I’m baking, I am giving all my attention to myself. And it centers me. It’s pleasant and peaceful, a necessary shift to keep me happy and sane.
Baking leaves me more thoughtful. While the delicious treats are baking in the oven, I feel a sense of calm settle in. If you haven’t baked for the shear enjoyment of baking, I encourage you to find a recipe and take the stress relief break as well!