When my children ask if they can help me cook, I immediately tense. It’s usually dinner, when I’m running low on energy and on time, when I’m hungry, and when I’m trudging into that final draining push towards bedtime. Usually, I flat-out tell them no. But sometimes guilt corners me into letting them pull up a chair and get into it.
Commence mother freak-out.
I like to think of myself as an experienced mother, able to handle at least a moderate amount of disorder and chaos without losing it. But there’s something about cooking that sends me right over the edge. 
I talked with a friend about it today, and decided that it’s the element of danger. Sharp knives, red-hot stoves, boiling water, roasting ovens… these things can cause serious harm.
My Little Boy is magnetized by danger. And messy things. So dangerous messy things? The absolute ultimate delight in his book.
Hence, his love of cooking dinner.

(This photo is of Little Boy with his Mamaw, who was next-to-serene letting him
cook breakfast sausages at her house. She is a gifted lady. I managed
to emerge from my straight-jacket long enough to snap a few photos.)

Today, as I talked with my friend, she encouraged me to embrace my children’s love of helping. Cast away my expectations of having things just so, at just the right time, with minimal mess. Encourage their curiosity and teach them new and important life skills. To look ahead past the hard work to the days when they’ll be able to cook dinner for me. (That will happen, right?)

So I’m going to embrace the inherent danger of cooking with kids. I’m going to relax and enjoy their company in the kitchen (as much as I can with sharp edges and high temperatures around)! I’ve decided to let them each choose one meal a week to make with me. Planning ahead will help me on so many levels — I’ll start early enough, I’ll have accepted the mess, and I will feel less guilty on other nights that I reserve to cook alone.

This post is part of Tuesdays Unwrapped at Chatting at the Sky. Please visit her site to read more treasures on a Tuesday.