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This post is written in collaboration with Cotton Babies, an online retailer specializing in natural parenting products like cloth diapers, baby carriers, breastfeeding supplies, and more. They sent me a Tula Baby Carrier to try, and I wrote this post in my head as I carried her around the kitchen while cooking. They paid me for my opinions, yes, but who can resist getting paid for their opinions?

It is with a bit of shame that I write this post.

But I want it to be written. I want to warn the others who think life will not change much after a baby. A letter to my former self, if you will.

So, here it goes.

Before I gave birth to a tiny dictator, I was squad leader in the kitchen. Your kitchen goals were my everyday. Not to brag, but let me have the floor.

Before baby:

1. I made bread from scratch. So much bread. And I wasn’t even limited to that—I made crackers, pitas (and leftovers were promptly turned into pita chips), tortillas (flour AND corn), naan. Should I keep going?

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2. I never bought beans in a can. I always said I love beans far too much to not soak them over night, sprout them for a few days, and then gently cook them with onion and fresh bay leaves.

Oh, what I wouldn’t give to have enough time to cook beans from scratch these days! Right now, I have a dirty kitchen, a baby that could wake up from a nap at any second, and 3 loads of laundry to do. And a can of black beans in my pantry just waiting for me.

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For some reason, I can cook with a 25-pound child tied to me, but I cannot cook beans from scratch anymore. But, I can open a can of beans while wearing a tiny dictator, thanks to my Tula carrier. I’m calling it a win.

3. Similarly, I used to scoff when I saw jarred pasta sauce at the grocery store. Like, seriously, how hard is it to doctor up a can of crushed tomatoes into tomato sauce? Everyone has heard of Marcella Hazan’s 3-ingredient tomato sauce, right? It’s not hard.

But it is. So very hard.

My current favorite is Trader Joe’s 3-cheese pasta sauce. I think it’s like $3? I’d pay $13 for it if I had to.

4. I never bought snacks. I made everything from scratch–granola, frites, you better believe there was homemade potato chips in my previous kitchen. (I haven’t had a batch of turnip chips sprinkled heavily with smoked paprika in ages). Now? There are so many snacks in shiny packages lining my pantry shelves. Now that I think about it, there are way too many snacks for a household that no longer has a breastfeeding mother in it.

There are plantain chips, pea pod chips, crackers, pita chips, blue corn tortilla chips (my fave!), Lara bars, and ice cream not destined for blog recipes. I used to need lots of ways to get those extra 500 calories with breastfeeding. But now? Not so much.

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5. My freezer used to be pristine. And I’ve sunk so very low. Right now, there are frozen chicken pot pies from Trader Joe’s in my freezer. I don’t even like chicken pot pie. But my husband does. And I just know that the next time he comes home from work and I LITERALLY CAN’T EVEN WITH DINNER will be, like in 4 hours.

I’ll have wine for dinner while I heat up his chicken pot pie.

Who am I kidding? He’ll have to heat it up himself.

6. Cloth napkins. What are those? Another load of laundry, that’s what! Are you kidding me? Get away from me, Judas! Give me the axe, I’ll cut my own trees down for paper towels!

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7. Dinner used to be a fun experiment. A joyous occasion. Now, I meal plan like crazy. I have literally taken all the joy out of cooking for myself. Something else not giving me joy? The amount of time I’m forced to use my slow cooker to make dinner. I hate the slow cooker. Hate.it.

But, there is one thing I will never give up:  Grating my own cheese. Because the shredded cheese in bags is coated in weird shit. And I will not have it.

You may think I’m whining (and you are so right). My kid is healthy, happy and ridiculously cute, so why should I complain about having to make a few life changes for her?

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She’s SO happy to be out of her carrier. She loves to be in Tula Carrier when I’m walking around in public, showing her tons of exciting things. But stirring risotto for 20 minutes while standing in the same place? Give.her.freedom!

But dinner was my love. I express my love through cooking. I tell my husband I love him by making delicious dinners.

And now? Well, I asked my husband if he’d rather come home to a delicious dinner or a clean house the other night, and he said ‘a clean house.’ And that, my friends, is how low I’ve sank.

Send help.

And a casserole.

Christina

PS My friend Spencer of Whiskey and Soba took these photos. And I love him for it.