Do All Moms Have to be Good Cooks?

Or let me reframe that. Do you have to be a good cook to be a good mom? A part of you wants to protest and say of course not in defence but remaining side of you knows that this is so true. We still are embedded in a society where women are ranked on the basis of how well they nourish their kids and husbands with food. A member of my family I remember would yell & belittle her kids in front of everyone on a regular basis. But she still considered herself to be a good mom enough to give unsolicited advice to the rest of us because she overstuffed her kids with fresh homemade chapatis instead of biscuits.That is our unfortunate mental set up. Physical health or rather weight is more important than the emotional soundness of our kids.Till date how much ever modernism we may boast of, the boy’s family still inquires about the culinary capabilities of his prospective bride. Cooking and homemaking skills are still the safe margins for marriage. This was the first question I was asked by my mother in law to be. ‘Have you learnt any cooking or have you wasted time only studying? Huh! Well. Can’t blame her though can we? She was a by- product of an era where compatibility, adaptability, congeniality and knowledge played second fiddle to culinary and laundry skills. And if I didn’t know how to cook how would I ever be able to take care of my kids and the big kid too.(if that was the only thing that was required)cookingmoms2A couple of years down the line I found myself sitting day after day totally lost amongst a certain group of mothers who would only converse about healthy recipes for their kids. It seemed like an unofficial competition to prove their prowess in that field as if it was the only one sanctioned by the society and I was always the last runner to come in. Whenever I would be visited by a friend or relative, apart from so many other interesting things to discuss about children, she would keenly lean over to me and only ask ‘Hey share some good recipes with me na’. So much so that mothers who pursued careers were deemed conceited whereas the mother indias at home who toiled away their lives in the kitchen were looked upon as selfless deities. They were the providers! Wow! That’s indeed a lot of onus on good food and cooking. Now let’s shift focus. Here are a set of circumstances most kids also face apart from hunger.cookingmom4The kid has difficulty in doing homework and needs help, he/she has issues with friends and is going through a rough patch, he needs moral support, she needs someone to understand her and guide her. If a mother can provide all this nourishment to her kids is she not a good mother? If she works hard so that she can assist her husband to be able to give more to her kids in terms of education and experiences, is she not a good mother? Is she yet not a good mother if she hires someone to do the cooking and makes sure that person prepares food hygienically and in compliance with what her kids need? Is she not a lovable mother when she goes out of her way to make that dish her kids love once in a while taking great pains? There can be a substitute for cooking but there really can’t be an alternative for the pillar of support she is for her kids can there? That role is more crucial and irreplaceable. And yet I know of so many mothers who use up all their energies and resources in cooking, landing up so tired by the time they finish, that they only shout at their kids in frustration. Where is that taking their relationship? What about the bonding?