How Having a Baby Changed My Relationship With Cooking


Cooking Became the Last Thing on my Mind

I stopped cooking when my son was born. Overnight I went from making chicken tikka masala from scratch to not having the energy to heat up leftover pizza. In some ways, it was a time thing, the rinsing, and chopping and sautéing not likely to fit in perfectly between naps. In more ways, it was a mental thing, just one more thing to fit in a brain that was already filled with breastfeeding struggles, worries about SIDS, and dreams of the next time I’d get to sleep.

I was starting to feel human around the time I went back to work, but even though I was showering regularly any additional time I had around the house I wanted to spend with the baby. My husband and I would haphazardly order frozen vegetables and pre-made soup from Whole Foods and then he’d stress while I barked a recipe at him from the baby’s play mat. In fairness to him, he was an extremely quick study as long as there weren’t more than two things on the stove at once.

A Change in Me

I knew having a baby would change my life – what I didn’t expect was how much it would change me. The job I’d loved was a place where I now went to worry about the baby and cry. Reading a magazine or novel felt like wasted time. Sometimes my husband felt like a stranger. I had no idea what to say to my friends without kids and like a burden to my friends who appeared to have parenthood all figured out. I didn’t know what to make of my life now, what goals and dreams remained after the earthquake of motherhood rocked everything.

When my husband went out of town for work, instead of making macaroni and cheese like I had so many times before, I ordered a family-size meal from Pizza Hut all for myself.

Weeks passed. On a Sunday night, I’d feel motivated to write a grocery list, and then on Monday, I wouldn’t want to eat anything I’d planned on making. My husband mastered lemon-pepper salmon and it started making me gag. The weekends were a parade of restaurants and bouncing the baby on our laps while trying to eat a salad over his head.

Five Months In

Then it was his fifth month. Nothing changed, not really. I read a book one weekend. My best friend from college and I texted about a guy she was seeing. I liked my job on most days. I helped my husband with cooking tacos one Thursday night after the baby was asleep and the familiar chop chop chopping of the cilantro was cathartic in a way I couldn’t understand. I was a glorified sous chef. Why did it make me feel so good?

That weekend I searched for two Crockpot meals, figuring I could prep while the baby was sleeping and we’d have plenty left to eat all week. A beef ragu with polenta on Sunday and chili verde on Tuesday. Two things that were easy enough and sounded truly delicious.

cooking with kids

My life isn’t anything like it was before baby – too much has changed. The elaborate cooking with Blue Apron recipes on a weeknight. Staying late at work to ensure everything is perfect before a presentation the next day. Going to multiple grocery stores in a weekend. Going on a spontaneous date night with my husband just because. That’s all over now but the way things are now isn’t bad – it’s just different. I’m more efficient at work. I anticipate adult dinners out all week.


I’ll be making all our meals in the slow cooker for the foreseeable future. So far, they’ve been just as good as anything I used to spend all night preparing.

The best part? Next month our baby will old enough to enjoy a home-cooked meal! So in the end, change isn’t always a bad thing.

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Sarah Kaechele
Sarah is a new mom to 6-month-old Henry. Originally from the Chicago suburbs, she graduated from the University of Illinois in 2013 and moved to Columbus to pursue a career in retail. She currently works at the Victoria’s Secret PINK Home Office. She lives in Clintonville with her husband, son, and dog who very much misses his days as an only child. Outside of work and family she enjoys reserving books at the library and then forgetting to pick them up (but somehow still reads a few books a month), exploring Clintonville by foot and bike, and oversharing on Instagram stories (add her at @Sarah_Kaechele). She enjoyed traveling prior to becoming a mom and is hoping to get the hang of it again sometime in the next five years.