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My Secret to a Happy Life: Pleasing Only One

alec vanderboom

As head cook, I'm in the process of reinventing our standard meal plan for the week. (Do More, With Less). I found this great, easy Quiche recipe. Now I can slip out of bed on Saturday morning, make a quick Quiche and coffee, and then crawl back into bed for cuddles and Morning Prayer.

I felt pretty excited. Easy French food for seven! Then all the complaints started rolling in. Mimi only likes it when I made it with straight eggs and cream-- no cheese. Alex hates the crust. Hannah prefers pancakes and eggs. I started to problem solve--"well, maybe I'll make two breakfast quiches, one with a crust and one without a crust, etc." Over all the din, my husband loudly proclaims--"I love it! Don't worry about the kids. You're cooking to please only me in this house. Cook it again and again, please!"

It sounded so shocking to hear this job description from my husband. "Cooking to please only him?" Surely part of my job as a Mom is to make healthy food that my kids will actually eat? We talked about it in depth  and I realized that the Holy Spirit (working through Jon) was handing me a ticket out of "crazyville".

I now have five kids. It is impossible to make them food that they will all like, all the time. I will drive myself crazy trying to cater to five distinct tastebuds every day. Moreover, they are kids! Totally fluid, moving targets. One day they hate asparagus, the next they announce it's their favorite food and why didn't I make more? In contrast, my husband "is pleaseable." He's a stable adult. It's possible for me to figure out what he likes at the dinner table and how to cheaply serve it on a regular basis.

Moreover, "pleasing only one" is more holy--because I'm not pleasing myself. For example, I'm lazy on a Saturday and I hate eating a big breakfast early in the morning. If it was up to me, I'd make only toast. However, by gently pushing myself a little bit--I can make up a yummy Quiche in 5 minutes--and then go back to bed while it cooks. (A doable task). But it's not as hard as poaching eggs or flipping pancakes for a hungry crew of seven--which pushes me so far out of my lazy Saturday morning comfort zone that I'm grumpy and irritable for breakfast. (A much harder task, that becomes almost impossible while breastfeeding or pregnant)

Finally, what do I want to model for my kids? Dinner means eating chicken fingers every night? A meal time that is catered only to them? Or do I continue to put delicious meals in front of them and trust that at some point they most likely will change their mind? (Of course, any kid who won't eat is able to go make themselves a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for dinner or brunch, easily.)

I love practicing so concretely in marriage (Pleasing only one, my husband) because it helps me to work on pleasing only one person in all things (Jesus). This Advent Season, that is a workable plan for me!