Why I don’t feel guilty about not cooking

I admit it. I don’t like to cook. At all. It’s partly discretionary time. As in I don’t have a lot of it. Since ‘free’ time is rare, I prefer not to spend those few precious minutes cooking. After working a full day. But honestly, I just don’t enjoy cooking. So, most often, this working mom doesn’t cook.

The Definition of Cooking

Let me clarify my definition of cook. We eat a lot of sandwiches at the Gibson house. I don’t consider putting bologna in between two pieces of bread cooking. I call that preparing a meal. So, I prepare a lot of meals that are quick, fairly nutritious, and easy.

Sample Working Mom’s Weeknight Meal

If you love to cook, don’t judge my typical during-the-work-week meal for my family:

  • Deli turkey with provolone on wheat
  • Organic, baked onion rings (I understand organic doesn’t make it healthy), macaroni and cheese, or some side we all agree on
  • Broccoli or some type of vegetable
  • Apple slices or a banana (or other type of fruit)

This meal gets the job done. My family is fed and proper food USDA-recommended food groups are consumed. Sometimes I go wild and fix grilled cheeses. Oftentimes, honestly, we get take out. But, all in all, I fulfill a need and no one starves in the Gibson house.

Working Mom Wisdom

I’m about to share wisdom with other working moms that has taken me several years to learn:

I don’t have to be awesome at everything.

Awesome at my career, yes. Awesome at being a mom, yes. Etc. But awesome at cooking? No. I just don’t care about accolades for cooking.

Working Mom Gene

I truly believe mothers, especially working moms, have a unique gene causing us to feel immense guilt that we are not Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman is a fictional character. A fashion-forward, kick-ass character, but still, not real. We are real women. And real women can do a lot of stuff, as in queens of multitasking. But just because we can do a lot of stuff doesn’t mean we should do a lot of stuff.

Logistically, I can work a full day, pick up my kids from preschool, start laundry, watch them, AND cook a gourmet meal before my husband gets home. But I shouldn’t. As my oldest would say, it’s just not a ‘smart choice.

I shouldn’t spread myself so thin and miss out on quality time with my kids. Or write, which I love, and sharpen my saw so I feel rejuvenated to take care of the rest of the family. While it would feel great if my husband bragged to everyone how perfectly clean the house was and how delicious all my meals were, I can live without that kind of praise.

Instead, I’d rather be a rock star professional who gets promoted so my kids can show off their cool career mom at career day at school. I’d rather be the mom who can teach my children real-world leadership skills so I can help prepare them for their future professional lives. Concepts they just won’t learn in school, at least not the way I would want or have experienced myself.

Erase Your Working Mom Guilt

The point is, it’s OK if you hate to cook or just don’t have time to make all the fancy dishes on Pinterest. Join the Working Mom’s Guilt Free Club where you can leave the burdens of perfection at the door. Fix your family Chef Boyardee. The lasagna has no preservatives, and it’s really tasty. Get a $10 pizza from Pizza Hut. Maybe not every night, but every now and then it’s OK. Keep the cooking simple, unless you just love to cook. I choose not to cook often because I don’t like to cook and prefer to spend that time with my family. Do what’s right for you and your family.

But, what I really want to know … am I the only working mom who doesn’t like to cook?

Mom life demands efficiency. Because while the amount of hours in the day are the same as before kids, now a sizable chunk of that time is spent caring for and loving on those little people. Compromises happen—and let's just be honest, the old beauty routine is one of the first things to get cut.

But, wait! You don't have to sacrifice putting on mascara or, worse, skipping the SPF. Instead, why not flip it, reverse it, and look at the bright side? Here's your opportunity to streamline your morning makeup routine. With some savvy skin care and beauty hacks, you can get your radiant glow on in record time.

Here are our tried-and-true hacks passed down from Motherly mamas:

1. Embrace multipurpose items

If the most pressing issue is limited time, consolidate multiple steps of your beauty routine with a multipurpose item. For example, instead of starting with a SPF moisturizer, followed by spot concealer and a blendable foundation, you can take care of all of that in one go with one of our favorites: Earth Mama's 3-in-one Lady Face™ Tinted Mineral Sunscreen. The beauty stick also allows you to easily fold SPF 40 into your routine, because Lady Face doubles as super-safe, clean sun protection. Even better? The sunscreen blocks blue light from those ever-present digital screens with a ray-scattering, non-nano formula.

2. Revive dried mascara

Especially after a sleepless night (#motherhood), mascara can make a major difference in how well rested you appear to be. If you realize your tube of mascara is dried out, don't write it off as a lost cause. Simply soak the sealed tube in warm water to loosen up the mascara — or add a drop of a multi-purpose saline solution into the tube. That should do the trick until you have time to buy a replacement. (But let's face it: You're a mom. It's okay if you're tired.)

3. Keep coconut oil handy

Coconut oil isn't just for the kitchen. From a DIY hair mask to an in-a-pinch lip balm or naturally removing makeup at the end of the day, coconut oil's cosmetic hack-list is long. For summer, we especially like adding a thin swipe of organic extra virgin coconut oil to the cheekbones at the end of the makeup routine for a bit of an extra glow.

4. Multitask while deep conditioning

If your hair needs a bit of TLC, consider applying a natural, paraben-free deep conditioner before doing chores around the house or even a short workout. By working up a bit of a sweat, the conditioner will set even better before you rinse off in the shower.

5. Start your hair care routine the night before

As you work to find your new normal morning routine, it can help to simply reschedule a task or two—like hair. If you shower the night before, get a jumpstart on your look by blowdrying, straightening or even braiding it for loose waves in the morning.

6. Even out your skin tone

Between multiple wake-ups during the night and wavering hormones, complexion issues can become a thing for most mamas. Thankfully, the hack for managing that is as simple as finding a great foundation that goes on smoothly and doesn't cake or crack through a morning of momming. Scope out the ingredient list for naturally nourishing components like coconut oil, shea butter or beeswax — and skip the stress (and the return process if the shade doesn't match) by going for something that easily blends with most skin tones.

7. Find brands your feel great about

As a mom, you might find yourself considering bigger life questions: Are my cosmetics safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding? Are they helping the world my children will grow up in? Can I trust the ingredients and mission? Pro tip: read the ingredients on all your personal care products, memorize the ones you want to avoid, and look for third-party certification to ensure the product is actually what it says it is. When you find a brand that walks the talk, you're going to want to be loyal.

8. When in doubt, go for a bold lip

With happy hours swapped for play dates, your daily routine may look a bit different than it used to. But who says you have to leave your personal style behind? If you've always been a fan of makeup and going a bit glam, keep going for it, mama! The extra 60 seconds it takes to apply lipstick or whatever else gives you a bit of pep in your step is well worth it.

This article was sponsored by Earth Mama Organics. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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