Because I said so: Mom’s the word

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because-i-said-so-923A few years ago, I returned home from the grocery store and tossed a bag of French fries into my freezer’s broken icemaker. The freezer in my side-by-side fridge is so narrow that I can’t even fit a box of chicken nuggets in it width-wise, so I thought I was pretty smart to utilize the otherwise useless space.

Later, my then 3-year-old son pressed the icemaker button and thought he was pretty smart when frozen French fries started flying out. Turns out my genius idea wasn’t so bright after all, and I’ve been short on freezer space ever since.

For years, I’ve secretly coveted my neighbor’s deep freezer — not a particular neighbor’s freezer, mind you, but anyone’s deep freezer. So when we finally finished our basement and rearranged the garage so we could fit in a deep freezer, I was quite pleased.

As I stood in my garage the day we brought it home, beaming at it like one would gaze at a newborn child, I had an ah-ha moment: I am officially a Mom. You’d think that realization would’ve come to me sooner, since I’ve been married for almost a decade and have three children. But, no, it took buying a deep freezer for it to really sink in. That utterly practical, unglamorous purchase was the sign that I’ve officially left my girlhood behind. I now get excited about things that my Mom gets excited about.

Things I once swore would never interest me, like trips to the hardware store and books on gardening and coupons for oil changes are no longer the most boring things ever. I can carry on a conversation about retirement plans and give insights into price-matching at Wal-Mart. I have opinions on strange things, like the right way to clean a mirror, the importance of sorting laundry by color and how to properly load a dishwasher — and don’t get me started on the things that shouldn’t go in a dishwasher.

I get excited anytime I purchase new bath towels, or any towels, for that matter. Towels are one of the most-used items in any household but because they can be pricey they typically aren’t replaced very often. So I admit I get a thrill placing pristine towels on the rack for the very first time.

New sheets are another anticipated (and even highly researched) purchase at my house. Good sheets aren’t cheap, and I firmly believe that the thread count makes a difference in my sleep. With a baby that still wakes up at night, even an incremental improvement in shut-eye matters to me.

I once thought the only necessary kitchen gadgets were a can opener and a wooden spoon. I’ve greatly expanded my knowledge of gadgets since then and count a microplane zester and lemon juicer among my most useful possessions. I own multiple mixing bowls, cheese graters, measuring cups and spoons, each with a distinct purpose. When the right mood hits, I rearrange my kitchen cabinets and drawers — you know, just for fun.

I put a ridiculous amount of thought into home decorating. I am constantly changing — or thinking about changing — things around our house. Painting walls, rotating throw pillows, switching up art. I dream about replacing our carpet and updating our kitchen appliances.

Sometimes, I lie awake at night thinking about the last time I updated our 72-hour kits and mentally taking inventory of our food storage. I want the peace of mind that comes from knowing I’ll be able to feed my family in an emergency, so stocking up on bags of wheat and cans of diced tomatoes at the annual case lot sale is an event I actually look forward to. Which brings me back to the deep freezer. Now that I’ve got enough room to stockpile, I’ve been assembling freezer meals and happily storing them in my deep freezer. And I know my mom would approve.

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Natalie Hollingshead is a former magazine editor turned freelance writer and editor. She writes regularly about home, family, food and travel for a handful of publications, and is co-author of the book "Happy Homemaking” (Cedar Fort, 2012) with Elyssa Andrus. A native of Alberta, Canada, Natalie lives in Orem with her husband and their three children.

2 Comments

  1. the mean mama Reply

    I didn’t feel like a mom or even an adult until I had to make the decision to put down our dog (she’d been hit by a truck)…Interesting the things that trigger transitions in life. Now to get myself a freezer, because even my broken ice maker (non-dispensing) is full of meatballs and pot-stickers.

    1. Natalie Hollingshead Post author Reply

      I am so sorry to hear about your dog — that would’ve made me feel like an adult, too. Much more so than a silly freezer.
      It’s too bad your broken icemaker is non-dispending … kids find an automatic French fry dispenser pretty entertaining. Thanks for commenting!

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