RHONJ’s Jackie Goldschneider says it’s okay to be a mom who doesn’t cook – Good Housekeeping | Directory Mayhem

On the top shelf of my kitchen pantry is a six liter reminder of my failings as a mother. A stainless reminder that I should do more for my kids, even as I dedicate my life to their happiness. A device that represents other people’s ideals about properly fulfilling my duties as a mother.

It’s my slow cooker and I hate it.

It was the worst Christmas present my husband has ever given me. I happened to mention that I might cook if I had a crock pot, which he lovingly took as a hint. By the way, I lied. It was months before either of us even opened the box and after excitedly using it a few times to prepare delicious meals that had my kids pinching their noses and asking how many more bites they had to eat, he gave up too .

i hate cooking I am not interested in cooking and I have no instincts or skills as a chef. Also, I don’t want to spend any part of my busy day near a stove. I have a lot of kids to feed and a morning commute to school, and when I have five minutes to choose between coffee and preparing ingredients for the slow cooker, I always choose coffee.

Why does society insist that mothers chop, fry, and slow cook for their children?

But many people will not accept that a mother does not cook for her children. They insist I just didn’t try her Recipe that only takes a few minutes (no, it doesn’t) and ends with the balsamic chicken falling off the bone or the short rib melting in your mouth. They are amazed that I don’t even try and that the one thing That is holy of holies – making sure my children thrive with fresh food and proper nutrition – is not a priority for me. (Your words, not mine.)

I’ve become a master sandwich maker, a ready meal guru, and a microwave queen, and that’s why people assume my kids eat junk.

But I know they are not. I know they eat nutritious meals, have tons of energy, and are a healthy weight, so why does society insist that mothers chop, fry, and slow cook for their children?

“The pressure for mothers to cook comes from a stereotypical parenting role, and despite these somewhat shifting roles, cooking is still viewed as a mother’s responsibility,” says Jennifer Politis, Ph.D., family psychologist and parenting specialist at New Jersey. “Being a good mother means taking care of your children and making sure their needs are met. If one of those needs is the provision of food and healthy meals, then the how shouldn’t matter.”

Jackie Goldschneider and children at the table


dr Politis believes the pressure to cook stems from the “supermom mentality,” where women have to do everything a certain way in order for it to be right. “But staying true to yourself and the things you like and don’t like is an important lesson to teach your children.” she says, adding that self-care is about spending your time in a way that makes you happy. “If you don’t like to cook, you shouldn’t feel compelled to cook,” she says. “Being a mom is so much about navigating what works best for your family.”

Julene Stassou, a Registered Dietitian and author of The Mediterranean Diet Weight Loss Solutionsees these pressures firsthand, as busy customers constantly worry about what — and how — to feed their kids. “With all the cooking shows, Instagram posts and Pinterest recipes, moms are way too stressed to cook a healthy meal every night.” She says and notes that society cares too much about what’s on the table and not enough about what’s happening around the table. “It’s really easy to put a healthy dinner on the table with very little effort and little to no cooking.”

First, Stassou recommends stocking your kitchen with staples. “Cooked proteins, whole grains, fresh dairy, and frozen fruits and vegetables can all be easily combined to create tons of healthy dishes,” she says. Among their many suggestions are:

  • Combine a low-sodium can of chicken vegetable soup with pasta or whole wheat crackers and a glass of milk.
  • Top a great piece of bread with avocado and a protein, like an egg or cheese.
  • Prepare a breakfast for dinner, e.g. B. Scrambled eggs with cheese, veggies and a side of whole wheat bread or frozen French toast with turkey bacon.
  • Bake a potato and let your kids add cheese, a cooked protein and their favorite vegetable or sauce.

And don’t feel bad about being a microwave queen, says Stassou. “Frozen fruit and veg is picked at the prime of life and snap frozen so that it contains maximum amounts of nutrients,” she explains, adding that not all prepared food on the supermarket counter is as fresh, “like a chef peeling garlic off the back.” .”

Ask questions to help you avoid highly processed foods, she advises. “Roast chicken is great because you know it’s fresh and it usually has a timestamp on it. You can make a sweet potato and heat up some frozen veggies and you have a complete meal. Toss the leftovers in the soup or salad the next day.”

Stassou says there’s no shame in turkey sandwiches with veggies and cheese, or a bowl of low-sugar, high-fiber granola with skim milk and a banana. She adds that almost every fast food restaurant and diner these days offers healthy options or customizes meals to suit your dietary preferences.

“The bottom line is that parents no longer have to toil over a hot stove to provide their family with a healthy meal,” she says. “We need to stop associating cooking with being a good parent because that notion is outdated and not true at all.”

It’s a fact, and I know it firsthand, because my home is filled with healthy, energetic kids, lots of happiness, and lots of love. But what it’s almost never filled with is the smell of my home cooking.

And I think we’re all better off for that.

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