I never really loved cooking. Perhaps it was because I have always been a career girl. A go-getter. If I couldn't master something then I wasn't interested in participating. So back when I was a new mom, the thought of baking and cooking were just not part of who I was or what I wanted to be. Perhaps it was the feminist in me who wanted to push back against that typical vision of what a good mother does. She cooks, she bakes, she stays home with her kids.
I rebelled against being that mom. I bought cupcakes instead of baked them. I worked harder and angled for promotions to prove I was still capable of doing my job and being a mom and not missing a beat. I shlepped my kids to team practices, ice skating lessons, fashion design sessions at FIT, magic lessons, whatever my kids wanted to pursue, I was all in. Meanwhile, I kind of lost sight of what I wanted for me as a career woman, a wife and as a mother.
And then the pandemic hit.
My work still continued and while I have been a successful business owner for more than 13 years now, I'm still very much unsettled. While I'm great at what I do, I don't really love it with all my heart. So when my family and I were forced to take shelter in our own home, in the words of Cheryl Sandberg, I decided to lean in. But it might not be the version, she'd expect for a die hard Working Girl like me.
I leaned into Motherhood.
I leaned into cooking.
I leaned into baking.
I leaned into mastering manly projects like cleaning and sanitizing a hot tub.
I leaned into Netflix and Hulu a lot.
And I leaned into doing what I love most by partnering with my husband on a brand new Facebook show called Keeping it Real with Beth and Darin.
I also had a lot of meaningful conversations with my children - one who just turned 21 and the other who will be graduating from high school this year and attending college in Chicago this fall.
Back when my kids were little, I thought life was all about pursuing what you love while raising a family. I still believe that today but what I've discovered is that sometimes, doing what you love doesn't necessarily have to be your lifelong career.
If you love to sing, join a choir or maybe try out for community theater.
If you're a lawyer but you love to bake and crochet, be like my friend Christine, who does both and blows me away with her creations!
If you've never cooked but want to finally master a few entrees and sides, then google can be your best friend. I have found more great recipes just by googling them and then added my flair along the way.
If you're a born storyteller, then write and voice those stories and start to share them now!
I don't know why it took hitting 50 to finally have that epiphany that you don't have to be the best at everything. It's also okay to embrace some of those traditional roles that women had that many of us rolled our eyes at when we were first coming of age as career women. I can't tell you how thrilled I am that my daughter can crochet and sew just like my grandmother did when I was a little girl. She's way more resourceful than I'll ever be while at the same time, she's a badass who advocates for herself as a young women on the verge of adulthood.
So while the quarantine has been hard at times and even emotional, I have realized that I don't need anyone but my family, my pets and our friends to make me happy. The work part, while it pays the bills, is not what life is all about. Life for me is about the ups, the downs, the recipe fails and the hot tub triumphs. Thankfully, I've got a whole lot of things that I am grateful for these days and I've decided to lean into motherhood during the pandemic just as my own kids get ready to leave the nest.