• Monday, May 27, 2024
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BusinessDay

Let them eat with you

Let them eat with you

The melt in the mouth of mashed potatoes, creamy as I like it and smooth like butter, had gotten the better of my daughter. She was giddy and fell into heaps of laughter at the slightest comment. The little fish was giving. Sumptuous and swathed in the finest grade, stir-fry vegetables of sweet peppers, carrots, and white onion. A sight for sore eyes in presentation. The taste is for a different day of conversation. All the juices of the food are delivered to your palate in the most delicious way, heavenly and truly divine.

This is the state in which we found ourselves when our tongues loosened. Good food. Good company. Good gist. Parenting is hard for everyone. Our first parenting job is with our first child, so we generally learn on the job. But as we go along, the task becomes harder by the day, different from child to child. As they become adults, their personalities keep evolving, and we must keep a keen eye on them all, as different and precious as they all are. We have gone from a child who did not think she was pretty enough to another who believes I don’t love them as much as I love their siblings. This is insane because all my kids are good-looking, and I love them all to bits. Then we went into the department of Mom. “Why are you looking at me like that?” even when I am not looking, or “Stop judging me, mom.” We look back now and laugh hard. All of them—my friends, my confidants, and my pride.

Food remains the glue that binds families and communities together. Food is community.

I have learned the art of eating with my people, no matter how busy I get. Being a working mother is a hard nut to crack when it comes to work-life balance. You must be intentional. Once in a while, eat out with everyone; other times, eat out with individuals. This way, you get to bond and observe other things going on, that you may have missed. These days, we are cultivating cooking together. Something we did ten years ago. Now we are all grown women together in the kitchen. The vibe and ambience are different from when they were 10 or 13 years old. Our conversations are more friendly, and they are now willing to get the get the gist. We are at ease with each other, and we share notes. When I cook, my kids can tell. The house is filled with good aromas and healthy, delicious meals passed down from my mother and my mother-in-law and from my grandmother, my mother’s mother. It’s amazing how food can give us permission to open doors hitherto closed, how it can lead us down a path unknown, and how it also cements love and community.

It is important that families make time to eat together. Children and parents, cousins and uncles, aunties and grandparents. I have discovered that the younger generation is so different from us. Technology is driving them away from the community. They do not have resilience. They cannot cope with crises, heartbreak, traffic, a change at work, with their bosses, with their siblings, with climate change, and lately with their spouses. Today the pressures are much but we also had our pressures. We are more resilient. We managed our crisis better, and we managed our forebears better. All of this can be better for our children if we eat together. They learn valuable lessons from us, and we steady the boat for them, support them, and be there for them. Food can make it all happen.

As Workers’ Day just took place early this week, the issue of work-life balance is critical in these difficult times. While we wish all working parents well, we also wish working children well. More importantly, let’s eat together. No matter how busy we are, Food is always community. Happy belated Workers’ Day!