Progress, not Perfection: On Motherhood and BakingPC: Stephanie Sims

I am a recovering perfectionist.

If I can’t do something naturally, most likely I won’t try it at all. I can’t say that I know where exactly this came from, but I have been this way as long as I can remember. But last year, I was so intrigued by sourdough. I jumped in, not knowing a thing, and now baking is one of my favorite hobbies. I think it is a great thing to know how to do on this journey to self sufficiency. When I was younger, my father would regularly say that “necessity is the mother of invention”. This ended up being true in a sense. Even though I began baking out of curiosity, I never have to worry when I go to the store anymore and the bread aisle is bare. It motivates me to continue to learn how to do more things by myself. One thing at a time, one step at a time. I have to remind myself of that frequently.

I took a long break after getting “the rona” and the birth of our 5th child. This is the third loaf I have baked since getting back into it, and it is already looking better. Not perfect, but better. I am proud of it. Sourdough is not hard, but it is a lot of trial and error. Two loaves of bread will hardly ever look the same. Especially here in Kentucky, with the changing of the seasons, you really have to take temperature into account. Dough that would rise in 8 hours because of the warmth of summer nights sometimes takes closer to twelve hours in the depth of winter. There is a lot of trial and error, a process I am honestly not too fond of.

Sometimes I become overwhelmed when I spend so much time in the kitchen baking and it does not turn out well. Will my family even eat this? It looks awful. Or maybe it does look okay, but I definitely cannot post this on social media, I will embarrass myself. I recently attempted two loaves of sandwich bread for the first time. It tasted pretty good for the first try but I could use more practice with the appearance.

My 5-year-old son kept asking for more. “Mom, this is delicious. And relaxing! It’s so warm!” And in that moment I understood something. My kids don’t want me to be perfect. They don’t want Instagram worthy mom. They just want me. They were so proud that their mom made food for them from random ingredients in the pantry. I can admittedly get so caught up in doing for my family, that I can forget to just BE here, as myself. Their mom. My husband’s wife. Just as I am.

I am so glad I started baking. I am excited to expand my skills and create all types of treats for my family. Many people say you lose yourself when you get married and have children, and in some cases that may be true. But go with it, lean into it. You will discover so much more.