role mother takes down roll model

January 18, 2013

marriage, raising hops into beers

I made this salad nine years ago. I remember because I was snowed in, with a boy sleeping over. Dulce was sleeping at another boy’s apartment in my same building. It felt like a tidy sitcom life, where your best friend lives two floors up and people rotate through your door and life, some making repeat special guest appearances. I assembled this salad, put the boy to work, removing bones from the chicken as I blended the Chinese mustard powder with the peanut oil. It was one of eight dishes I cooked that snowy weekend. I don’t remember what the others were, but I think sugar cookies were made from scratch. It was a proud food moment mostly because the boy was new to my world, and he complimented me so often that the compliments eventually turned into soft apologies, for complimenting me too often. He made me feel special.

Wolfgang Puck's Chinois Chicken Salad

“I just can’t get over it. This is incredible. You are amazing, Stephanie.” I don’t mean for this entry to take a sad turn—but how nice is that? Not just how complimentary we are at the beginning of things, no. But, how open we are to receiving and accepting compliments, letting them buoy us up. When love is worn, we hear it, but we don’t levitate.

The other day, even, I missed a call from Phil, and there was a text in its place, “I just called because I was thinking how lucky I am that you chose me. I love you. Have a great day!” I smiled and felt an awwww, that was sweet, but it’s never the same infatuation high, the hungry drug.

Intellectually I know that we are all these great adjectives, that people new to us see our shiny attributes most clearly, often because of how we make them feel about themselves. We are amazing and lovely, passionate people with interesting minds and adorable quirks. We commonly forget our charms when we’re not reminded by someone else, often someone new. It’s why when a mother tells her child for the forty-seventh time that her tenacity is remarkable—that what makes her so smart is trying, especially when it’s hard—it sometimes falls on deaf ears. Basically, we as mothers need to continue to say it, like worn lovers, but it’s also our job to live the self-love, to show our children that we don’t need the praise because we know how to give it to, and how to feel it for, ourselves.

Example: I don’t simply tell my daughter that she’s beautiful, that I could stare at her until I’ve memorized her every sigh and sideways glance. I look at myself in the mirror and in lieu of yanking on a roll of stomach pudding, I say aloud to my reflection, “You are beautiful just as you are.” Yes, we women can do it all, simultaneously be a roll model and role mother. On some level we all appreciate acceptance, validation, and praise, but we don’t have to be hungry for it, needy, when we learn to give it to ourselves. I believe that’s part of my job as a role mother.

Also, how does “role mother” or “rolemother” not exist as an actual term or word? I can’t believe it. For one, it rolls off the tongue, even smoother than role model. If it’s never been used, I claim role mother as my own here and now. Mine. Along with wasband, I claim it.

ENTRY CUTS: This post originally began here, but in writing, I realized where the meat began, so I clipped this bit out. I include it here to give a little insight into my editing process, and also because this bit is probably what I’d like to read most in someone else’s post. I like to know what cookbooks people read and to hear how they’re dealing with common life, including the rolls (included amazon affiliate links below)…

The Balthazar CookbookSlow Cooker RevolutionThe Wheat Belly CookbookPaleo Comfort FoodsRachael Ray My Year in MealsWeeliciousThe Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

Lopsided on my bed is a leaning tower of cookbooks (The Balthazar Cookbook, America’s Test Kitchen Slow Cooker Revolution, Wheat Belly Cookbook, Paleo Comfort Foods, Rachael Ray “My Year in Meals,Weelicious, The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook), and I’m tucked in with a grocery pad—blank checkboxes organized beneath headings like “produce” and “frozen.” With empty boxes for each day of the week, intended for scribbled dinner plans, I’m challenged to create a weekly menu. Now in a marriage with mostly traditional roles, with a husband who drives to work, while I load backpacks with snacks and later unload the homework, my morning thoughts are often consumed with what to make for dinner. I weed through books for temptations, a balance of time, energy, and what I think I might get away with (Cauliflower rice?). After an extraordinary list is culled, I strike X’s through half the weeknights, knowing well that I’m overambitious, that some nights will fall to leftovers or takeout.

Given that it’s Friday, I want all this planning out of the way, groceries purchased and stowed away, a line of wine bottles at the ready. So, today I head to the pharmacy to pick up hormones and to Costco to buy a roast chicken for the Wolfgang Puck Chinois Chicken Salad in our future. (see beginning)

11 Responses to “role mother takes down roll model”

  1. southpengirl Says:

    Can you post the recipe for that salad, it looks exactly like a salad I used to order for take out when I lived in the city.

    Have you read “How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It?”. I just finished reading it, per my therapist, and was wondering what your take on it might be. I liked your term ‘worn lovers’.

    Reply

    • Stephanie Klein Says:

      I haven’t read it… or talked about it, but I’m intrigued. What’s the number one takeaway you gained from reading it?

      Salad recipe from one of two places: Food Network uses raw egg in dressing. Or directly from Wolfgang Puck’s site. Personally, I buy a roasted chicken and just shred it, cut the lettuces, cabbage, etc. and focus on the vinaigrette. Makes life easy.

      Reply

      • southpengirl Says:

        Thanks so much, I’m going to make it this weekend!

        I think the book is by the same author who did Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, so I was really skeptical, some of that stuff just sounds corny as hell. However, it explains how men withdraw/argue in a relationship when they feel shamed and women withdraw/pout/argue when they feel fear/anxiety in a relationship. It also breaks down and gives examples of how men feel connected in a relationship and how women feel connected in a relationship, totally different! I got a lot out of it. My husband and I are pretty compatible, don’t argue much, but can go for long periods of time without feeling that closeness we had before kids. I think this book gives some good info on how to remedy that. Its not always about having to talk things out.

        Reply

  2. Molly Says:

    I have been reading Dinner: A Love Story cookbook. Cute with lots of convenient/good meals. Chinese chicken salad looks amazing, and I will make it soon. Reminds me of the one at China Grill (but better). In thinking about those early days, I totally agree with you about now lack of infatuation high. But, I try and remember how thing are better now than they were, more richness, more gratefulness, kids. Etc. When we look at our (now one kid), we cant remember what we did before with our time, and the amount of emotional wealth we now carry.

    Reply

  3. SusanC Says:

    We are trying to go relatively vegan in our house (to be both LESS of a “roll mother” and MORE of a “role mother”…LOVE those terms!) So, my current cookbooks of choice are: “Veganomicon“, “Crazy Sexy Kitchen“, “Happy Herbivore“, “Everyday Happy Herbivore” and “Happy Herbivore Abroad“… I realize those might not be up your alley what with being vegan and being very pedestrian for a time-strapped mama, but you asked!

    To also be more of a “role mother”, my bedside stack (which I posted on FB 9 hours before the new year, saying, “I have exactly 9 hours to read my 2012 Book List and become the BEST PARENT EH-VAH!”) is not cookbooks, but parenting books: “Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason”, “Playful Parenting“, “Kids, Parents, and Power Struggles: Winning for a Lifetime”,”How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk“, “Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child“. (And, yes, I know that you’re supposed to underline books, not put them in quotes, but you can’t do that in comments!)

    In one last genre, my therapist recommended one other book for me regarding relationships that you might be interested in called “The Relationship Handbook” by George Pransky. It’s still in my stack to read, but it’s VERY thin and she said it even helped her HEALTHY, 30-year marriage. She said it has tools and tips that she’d never heard of before when she first read it last year. In any case, thought I’d send it over since I know you’re a devourer (is that a word?) of information!

    Love to hear the sweet text from Phil, too! Sending good thoughts about his surgery (isn’t it coming up soon?). XOXO

    Reply

  4. 3 teens' mom Says:

    People keep asking when I’m getting remarried. Never. Don’t believe in it. With the lovah – it is always new, always fun, never snarky or boring or tedious…15 months and counting.

    It’s easier to make a list of words than make sentences: anticipation, butterflies, excitement, joy, laughing, touching, planning, text messages, e-mails, love notes in the mail, life-altering sex, cuddling, hot baths, champagne for no reason, hot oil massages, warm towels, hotel rooms…I could go on.

    Here’s the list of what I don’t want. Expectations, disappointments, heavy sighs, eye-rolling, sarcastic tones, financial conversations, becoming used to him, taking him for granted, not wanting to delight each other, loss of independence.

    We have the best time and then we go back to our separate houses where we can indulge in our own stuff and be still and refill, and the anticipation of the next time starts building again.

    That’s what I’m role mothering (fabulous!) for my daughters. Marriage is not the prize…learning to love yourself, and then loving someone else without crushing them is.

    Reply

  5. Jane Says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    I guess I am finished buying cookbooks. I have a decent selection but find that I spend far too much time reading food blogs, and that’s where I get a lot of recipes (I know a lot of people do). The blog ‘Stacey snacks’ is a good one. There are so many good ones for super healthy to less healthy but delish. The library down the street from me has a great selection of cookbooks, & always gets the new ones, so I still get to browse without spending or filling up my space. Good luck to Phil (the romantic!)

    Reply

  6. RzDrms Says:

    I’ve been reading blogs for looong time, and I’ve yet to see a commentor that I’ve liked half as much as I like southpengirl above. Her comments just seem so…nice. And intelligent. And calm. And helpful! And not in a butt-kissy way. Rather in a genuinely nice way instead. Don’t get to much of that in the anon interweb world.

    Reply

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