I finally understand why my Mother loves feeding me. She does seem to like cooking, baking, and keeping busy in the kitchen; that much is true. She makes muffins and casseroles and a mean soup from scratch. I love my Mother’s cooking, as many people do. I miss it, especially when she sends me a playful text message to brag she’s eating one of my favourites, like her mac n’ cheese.

I love eating in general and I am enthusiastic about it, especially when I haven’t done the cooking myself. My Mom talks about not being a very good cook, and how she relies on recipes as if that is a weakness. I thought that was the reason she worked so hard at making things I’ll enjoy, and checked in with me once I’d eaten it to see if it was as good as she intended.

But becoming a Mother myself has given me new perspective on cooking for others. Feeding kids is a huge element of caring for them. It can’t be understated how much work it can be to keep two little ravenous mouths filled with healthy, homemade food. I find myself bleary-eyed from long days at work, peeling carrots or sweet potatoes for roasting, when I’d rather be playing with the twins. I spend an hour on a Sunday afternoon making baked oatmeal for the week when I could be taking them out for a walk.

It’s really frustrating when you give up the quality time you could be spending playing with your kid to make roasted vegetables for them, and they methodically throw those vegetables on the floor.

I think the love you have for your kids shines brightest in the kitchen. It is in leaving hot sauce out of Mexican food so they can enjoy it. It is in learning to make French toast just a bit healthier with the addition of banana. It’s in doing the dishes, sweeping cereal off the floor, and keeping granola bars in your purse.

When it comes to cooking for your kids, it is an act of love you perform multiple times per day. And when it gives them joy, it is as if they are celebrating the effort you’ve put in. You can’t help but feel a sense of pride, as if you’re a master chef pleasing the harshest of critics.

This pride is why my Mom loves feeding me and seems happiest when I am filled to the brim with her cooking. This is a pattern I sense myself repeating with the twins. It’s likely no coincidence that my twins love mac n’ cheese just as I do. I just hope I learn to make it as tasty as my Mother does.