Chia Seed Fail

I was so excited last night making chia-seed pudding, thinking, yes, finally, I'll have a healthy, Pinterest/Instragram-worthy breakfast to set out tomorrow. 

 Of course it's not Pinterest-worthy because I didn't have any placemats in reach or fresh flowers or the right lighting or pretty bowls, but anyway, was still almost giddy when the kids came in to the kitchen. 

Wally (8) took a single bite and said "It's kind of like gr —" then paused. 

Petra (3) said, "Gross?" They both laughed. 

"I was gonna say 'Grown-up tasting,'" Wally said, setting the spoon down gently on the table. 

 I took a bite. It was a bit of a hard sell. I used unsweetened almond milk. Maybe I should have mixed in more maple syrup. 

The whole thing was a fail. They didn't eat breakfast. I am still going by the rule that you don't provide a substitute if the kid doesn't want what you offer. But it tugs at me to send them off without eating anything. 

I can't quite get Wally to school on time if I drop Petra first, so I still put him on the bus this morning even though I then raced downtown to Family Friday (on Thursday). I was sort of annoyed when I walked in the school. They expect so much from parents! They email and text us constantly. Alex cannot go to anything ever - Family Friday or Thursday or parent-teacher conference or field trips or Halloween party. So even though I've always worked, and the first year had Petra full-time (while working) and the second year part-time (while working and in grad school full time), it always falls to me to go to all these things. 

 But, once I got into the school and sat on the floor with Wally in the corner while he read Encyclopedia Brown and listed suspects and tried to figure out the mystery, it actually felt kind of cozy and great. When else would I just sit for an hour anymore, side-by-side with Wally, reading together. With Petra's loud-singing and book-grabbing and general chaos, we almost never can. Plus she's up later than him in the evening because she naps, so it's really hard to have time one on one with him. 

 Now I'm home. Ready to start my work, five hours into the day, the bowls of chia-seed pudding on the table untouched. "All the more for me, I guess," I said, along with well-meaning parents everywhere.


  1. I bet your porridge was great! I love chia seed pudding.
    I was having s conversation with a friend of mine last week- she is quitting her career (partner in a law firm) to stay home with her three kids. She feels like she isn't doing anything well and trying to do it all so this is what she's decided. I was really really excited for her- and told her that the mother is always the default parent so I find it unfair when moms work full time and are the ones who manage the household and make it to all the school events and make the doctor appointments and usually grocery shop and cook dinner, etc...she was offended by what I said, assuming it was sexist? Disagreeing that the mom is the fault parent...My point was that the work home life balance is a total myth for women because they are expected to do it all. So there is no balance. Just a lot of weight on the woman...And to me it is a feminist issue. I wonder if this can change? (I will add that my husband and a lot of dads I know in our generation do a ton more at home than the generation before us...even those 10 years older)

  2. Hah - thanks Holly. Chia seed pudding (I don't know why I was hyphenating it) is really amazing!

    I've had similar experiences, where friends have said that moms aren't the default. I suppose there must be rare examples like this, but man, it seems like in every couple I know it is the mom reading the emails from school, emptying the backpack, even just the one knowing that there's a doctor appointment or field trip or whatever. I agree that the work/life balance is a myth. I've had every combination over the past 8.5 years, from working full-time with Alex home to being home full-time with so many different setups, sometimes kids home full-time, sometimes part-time daycare or whatever. Basically every single possibility and no matter what I'M THE DEFAULT PARENT. Okay that just turned into rant. And I feel the same - my partner does a lot- cooks many meals, "helps" out with all kinds of things...hehee Thanks for your response and letting me know you get it. This is the year of the woman--so maybe it will finally start to change.

  3. I love chia seed pudding too, especially when it's made with coconut milk and cinnamon. And I totally feel that default parent thing, though I have a supportive and involved partner. I don't know how people juggle the school obligations while working full time. All of it is such a juggle, and balance is a myth. That peaceful hour reading with Wally sounded so lovely.

  4. Yeah, i think chia seeds are better in theory than reality :-)

  5. Oh I should try cinnamon and coconut. Balance is a myth - yes! I wonder sometimes if we have to choose something to cut out - like you can work, take care of kids and have writing but that's it. Not exercise. Not volunteering. Not a social life. KWIM? I know there are those who totally streamline and to be honest it's always been a sort of turn off to me, but more and more I'm seeing the value.

  6. Okay, maybe exercise always is (or should be) in the mix.

  7. My housemates and I love this chia seed pudding from Minimalist Baker: I realize it might be exactly the recipe you are using :-) I made it without cocoa once, too, adding some pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice, and that was yummy, too.

    I used to tell myself, and my kids, that "You can't do everything all the time," e.g., you can't be on the basketball team if their practices are at the same time as the wrestling team. If I am driving my daughter to school at 6 a.m. I can't take a walk then. Maybe next year when she has learned to drive I can walk. I can make a beautiful dinner with several courses and set the table elegantly, but not every night.. and so it goes. I have always had 3x more ideas for things I want to do than time to do them. Even after the children left the nest, and now as well, when I am widowed. Limits are not bad, but they are realities to be grappled with - we all have them!

  8. Balance is such a myth and an exhausting pursuit. I also feel the default parent thing, but I also wonder if I'd actually want to give that up. Or if I could give it up. Maybe I need to be the backpack cleaner, school event attender, homework helper because...I don't know, I maybe need to be in control? Is it just me?

  9. Thank you Gretchen Joanna for your thoughts - and for your chocolate chia see recipe! Will try that one soon. Bearette - have you tried any of these recipes? They really are good.

    GretchenJoanna - It's amazing how I keep needing to re-learn that lesson about balance and accepting limits. I think I'm at a tipping point now, where I realize you have to pro-actively protect time, turn down more things than you think you even need to, I guess really plan *for* open time and downtime. Otherwise, it doesn't happen. I'm glad to hear even with the kids having fled the nest you are still overflowing with ideas without enough time to implement all. Sounds like a full life!

    Amie - Absolutely it is an exhausting pursuit. And thanks for reminding me that I may not want to give it up...Alex today told me (when I vented to him during an ill-timed phone call that it was too much to get the kids ready with their costumes and their treats for Halloween parties for me to go down to W's school for the concert and party and couldn't he - Alex - go??? For once?) that I shouldn't go to all these things. We don't have to go. It's true. So maybe I should admit to (mostly) wanting to. Hah! Gosh that was long-winded and poorly expressed...


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