The Cauliflower Incident

So—off the path of seriousness, I will share what it’s like to live with anxiety and the expectation that perfection is attainable.

Through my personal experiences, I have learned a lot about how my thoughts create the most ridiculous cycles. I’m not poking fun at any who suffer from anxiety…I’m laughing at myself, because that is how I cope. It’s how I’m finding a way to break the cycle.

Having the dream of being a perfect mom, included being the best cook. Eating out, or in the car after a drive-through, was not what I had planned for my family. For the most part, I was successful. I accomplished it through serious planning and a ton of anxiety.

When my kids were young, I avoided feeding them sugar. I didn’t want them to know the taste of that wicked sweetness. I didn’t want them eating a crappy cheeseburger which could create unhealthy eating habits. And, we avoided it–until they caught wind that McDonald’s had toys in their Happy Meals. The good toys–hypnotizing their little minds into believing they must have one.

Before their constant whining, and my giving in to their puppy-dog looks of starvation, I exposed them to most vegetables. They actually liked the veggies I served them, and they received sweetness through fruit.

I had to cook vegetables to perfection. Dinner always had to be perfect.

One time, I overcooked the cauliflower. While trying to serve it, I found that it was all mushy and I couldn’t pick any up with a fork. That released the mommy monster of perfection failure. I started flicking cauliflower all over the place. It landed in our hair, on the table, the floor.

My husband looked at me, almost ready to laugh out loud, then thought better of it. Our son was too young to have memories of this incident, and I can’t remember if I was pregnant with our daughter, or she had just been born–so I’m blaming hormones for this extravaganza.

Ha! We laugh today, but it wasn’t funny then. However, flicking the cauliflower was very therapeutic.

Every holiday, I expected to have the best dinner. A big one. I would cook it all by myself–I didn’t want help because I expected a certain level of perfection that only I could achieve. (eye roll) The table would be perfect with cloth napkins instead of paper. I mostly achieved it, with a ton of planning and a lot of anxiety.

Today, we use mismatched dinnerware, and if we’re out of paper napkins, we use paper towels–or our sleeves. Ha! I gave up on the perfectionist expectations, but my anxiety remained high.

We have become very flexible over the years. Our kids have significant others that are attached to families, and our daughter is here when she is able, so we have family dinners–the big holiday kind–when we can all get together. The dinner doesn’t have to fall on the exact holiday date. The “big feast” isn’t what most holidays are for anyway.

To my shock and sense of accomplishment, I survived yesterday. The day before Easter. The day we decided to have our holiday dinner.

My planning sucked…

……and the power went out just short of dinner being ready.

Did I panic? NO!!!!

Did I care? NO!!!!

I have a big smile, and I’m patting myself on the back today. Yesterday, I didn’t have to practice heavy breathing to pull myself together. No alcohol was involved, and the Xanax stayed in the bottle. I pretended like we were fancy schmanzy people, and we simply had our meal in “courses”.

…………….and there wasn’t any cauliflower flying through the air.




About April

I'll come back to this when I find out who I really am. I've been through some extremely rough patches but they have made me a better person. I blog if my brain is functioning first thing in the morning.
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14 Responses to The Cauliflower Incident

  1. meANXIETYme says:

    So awesome to hear! I’m sure you and your family had a great day because you were together and there was lots of love! Way to go!

  2. Cauliflower flicking! I love this! I might have to try that just for fun. 🙂

  3. suzjones says:

    Good for you.
    I’m one of those who wants to be the perfect mother/partner/housewife right now and it is really dragging me down that I have to go to work each day and when I come home there are a thousand other things to do.
    Yesterday my dad and his lady came around. She has never been here before so we had to show her through the house. Every time we visit their home there is never a speck of dust or anything out of place. I cringed as I showed her through the rest of the house (the dining/kitchen/lounge area looked fantastic) and asked for forgiveness for the clutter and the dust. I really felt horrid about it.
    So I know just how you feel dear.

    • April says:

      I used to feel like my house had to be spotless. I ran myself into exhaustion. Then I realized that the dust and clutter was part of me. If my visitor is coming to see my mess, then they are satisfied, but I always hope they are coming to see me. I know this is easy to say, because we all have the things we worry about….but relax. I’m sure they were there to see you and your family. 🙂

  4. aviets says:

    Hooray for you! I’m glad it was a good time. -Amy

  5. Serve cauliflower mashed “potatoes”. It’s not too bad. The only sin is the added butter.

    • April says:

      I have actually substituted cauliflower for potatoes. Didn’t go over well with the emerging picky eaters. It’s funny how they grew to dislike most veggies after being lured in my McDonalds.

      • All is not lost. Just go once a week. You’ve laid the foundation for healthy eating eat so kudos. So many parents haven’t don’t that. Or tell then at McD they have to choose one healthy option. They have apple slices there now for example. I like the oatmeal even without the brown sugar. I think you’re doing great.

        • April says:

          🙂 My kids are all adults now. I’m waiting for the battle they are going to experience with their own children. I’m not sure, but I’m wondering if our denial of all the awful foods have made them rebel as adults, because they can eat what they want–unless they eat at home.

  6. Gallivanta says:

    Splendid! Your cauliflower story made me giggle. I made a cake the other day and it was not up to my expectations…I really really wanted to take the cake and throw it out the window…but I managed to calm down enough to keep it. And it is edible (with lots of icecream 🙂 )

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