That’s right. I’m one of those lazy mothers who would rather open a jar of ready-made food than cook a wholesome meal for my daughter. That’s what I was convinced other people thought while I was stacking the ’12 for £6′ jars into my ASDA basket, before scurrying off to the checkout.
It’s taken months, but I’ve finally stopped being so concerned about what others think. I’m not lazy, I’m just not a ‘supermum’, and I’m okay with that. My partner and I both work full time, and never (unless annual leave has been arranged) get a day off together. On the days that we’re both working and the little one is at nursery, by the time we’ve all returned home there’s just about enough time for the bath and bed routine, which leaves us both ready to crawl into bed ourselves in an attempt to squeeze in a couple of hours sleep before the little one inevitably stirs.
So my choice to buy jars is not out of laziness, or an inability to cook. It’s the result of busy and exhausting weeks where there’s barely time for the grown-ups to eat a warm meal, never mind cooking something baby friendly. I started weaning our daughter with great intentions; there was always a pan of sweet potato or carrots ready to blend (I even got a copy of Anabel Karmel’s ‘Baby and Toddler Meal Planner’), but the thought of having to plan and prepare anything beyond basic veg filled me with stress and anxiety. Sorry, but I’m not prepared to cook specifically for a now ten month old, who doesn’t care where it comes from as long as it’s followed by a yoghurt or fruit pot (she accidentally ate the corner of the Aldi catalogue the other day proving she’s really not fussy). Opening a jar might be the easy option, but I can be safe in the knowledge that my daughter is getting a nutritious meal suitable for her age, and heck, getting to experience a much wider range of dishes than my repertoire would offer her.
I wish I’d realised this sooner than I did, but the honest truth is, when you’re a new mum you just have to do what you find easiest and what fits in with your life, regardless of what your sister-in-law, the woman down the road, or that netmums post may say you should do. Yes, there’ll always be parents whose children get beautiful meals cooked from scratch, and when my daughter is a bit older I’m sure she will too. But at the moment, the priority is that my daughter gets fed, and not how long it took to prepare. It’s easy to forget that it’s important to not only do what’s best for baby, but what’s best from Mum and Dad as well. If the grown-ups don’t look after themselves then there’s a high chance the whole family will go into meltdown (as we have several times over the last ten months).
Let’s face it, there’s just not enough hours in the day to worry about what everyone else is doing when it comes to parenting choices, we all just have to get on with it the best we can without going insane.