I am having a love-hate relationship with stay at home motherhood and I am finding it hard to write about that. It seems so cliched, such a first world problem, to complain about the trials of being a full-time parent; “Today I wanted to run away and hide from my house and children.” No shit, don’t we all feel that way sometimes? On the other hand it seems rude to write of the deep, relaxed, happiness I sometimes feel; the freedom of spending the morning walking around town and going out to lunch with my lovely daughter. I know I am incredibly privileged for being able to to such things. But I am a stay-at-home mother right now. And I do love it. And I do hate it. So I suppose if I am going to write, I am going to have to stop worrying about what anyone else might think and just write.
One of my biggest struggles of stay-at-home parenthood is the monotony. I’m not bored, per se, but the unending repetitiveness of nearly everything I do wears me down. Housework and school runs, as you might expect, are chief among my complaints, but I will admit that sometimes I tire of the “special” moments too. I sometimes physically cringe when I put Baby down to sleep and the older two call out from their beds, “You forgot our hugs and kisses.” I recoil from the thought of doing the same thing we do every night, again. I just want to be done with them. Then, naturally, I feel like a complete asshole and walk over and give them their hugs and kisses, saying a silent prayer that they have no more last minute bedtime requests for anything.
The thing about working outside the home, bored as I often was, is that it was never exactly the same from day to day. Here, at home, one day blends into the next and sometimes it is a real challenge to figure out what day of the week it even is. At work, when I did a good job on something, that something lasted; a report was published, a change in policy was made. At home, at the end of the day, no matter how stellar of a job I’ve done; made healthy meals and snacks that everyone enjoyed, washed the laundry, cleaned the kitchen, supervised homework, it never lasts. I have to do it all again the next day. I now understand why there is a legion of stay at home mothers (and a few fathers) that blog and Pin and Instagram every accomplishment. How switching out the throw pillow covers or devising a new slow-cooker recipe breaks up the monotony and feels productive in a way that just parenting does not. If I was to be a stay-at-home mother indefinitely, I have a feeling I would become one of those moms, but I don’t think it would ever satisfy my drive to accomplish.
A couple of days ago I noticed, once again, the handful of sad, wilted apples in the fruit basket. They had been sitting there for a couple of weeks, past the point where the kids would accept them, but not yet gone bad. They stared accusingly at me (well, as accusingly as an inanimate object without eyes can stare). I hate wasting food, but I couldn’t think of what to do with them. If it was winter I would have chopped them up and thrown them into a stuffing or a soup, but it’s been too hot for such things. If there had been more of them I would have made applesauce. That morning, Older ate the last muffin in the freezer. This is a first world problem if ever there was one, but it is sort of a problem in our house. We go through a couple of dozen muffins a week and the lack of them meant that Older would want me to actually make him a breakfast rather than simply being able to heat up a frozen muffin himself. I took out the muffin pans and grabbed the apples. Baby giggled as I peeled the apples. “That thingy for carrots”, she declared about the vegetable peeler. We grated up the apples and I started to compose a recipe in my head. The end result was thirty golden brown muffins. Baby and I demolished three of them straight out of the oven. I think Older has already had half a dozen of them. They really are great. And although the muffins themselves are clearly not going to last long, this recipe is definitely a keeper.
Cinnamon Apple Muffins
- 8 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup apple juice
- 1/2 cup milk or cream
- 2 large eggs
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup almond meal
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 cups peeled apples, grated
- Preheat oven to 350 °F.
- Melt butter.
- Combine melted butter, apple juice, milk, eggs, and vanilla in a bowl.
- Combine flours, sugars, spices, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and apples in separate bowl.
- Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. As with all muffins, the less mixing the better. The batter should all be moist, but it will be lumpy and small flecks of the dry ingredients will remain.
- Portion batter into greased or paper lined muffin cups (fill the cups about 3/4 full). In my antique, slightly smaller than average, muffins tins this recipe made 30 muffins.
- Bake for approximately 16 minutes. Muffin tops should be golden brown and should spring back when touched when done.
Note: Muffins freeze beautifully. I freeze them by the dozen in Ziploc bags. Microwave each muffin on 70% power for 25 seconds or so to thaw.