On having my pie and eating it

Something came to me the other day while baking a pie.

Baking a pie? you cry. Who has time these days to bake pies?? With work, kids, a home to run and a million other things that need doing, what on earth was I doing baking a pie?

Here’s my secret: when the world gets too much and I feel like I’m never going to have time to indulge in those status symbols of domestic bliss (like, I don’t know, baking a pie), I drop everything else and do just that.

Some people think I’m nuts. They ask me why on earth I would put that added pressure on myself. When there are emails waiting, laundry piles growing, dishes congealing, grubby children needing baths and bottles and projects lying half-finished like festering monuments to shoddy time management – what’s wrong with peanut butter on toast?

The answer: absolutely nothing. In fact, I am a huge fan of PBT. But sometimes it’s nice to remind yourself that you CAN bake a pie from scratch and lay it on the table with a modest sigh, wiping an only-slightly-sweaty strand of hair from your forehead and basking in the grateful oohs and aahs from your family and friends (even if they did have to be prompted).

It makes me feel accomplished and domesticated. It reminds me that – as important as work is for my self-esteem and my bank account – I am needed and appreciated more by the people around this table, who would love me and nurture me even if I missed a deadline or lost a big job.

There’s something about food that is sustaining – not just physically, but spiritually. A good meal, cooked with love, nurtutes my soul and gives me the energy to get to all those other bothersome things like work, running after children and running a home.

But here’s the big message: as I was losing myself in the process of pie-making, I realized that we can learnt a lot from pies about time management. Allow me to explain. We all know that there are only 24 hours in a day, and that most of us rule out great chunks of those to sleep, work and other non-negotiable commitments. To speak in scientific terms, there is only so much pie which we can cut up.

We then have to divide what’s left over between the other priorities we create in our lives. The key word here? Anyone spot it? Well done: priorities.

Sometimes we all need a reminder to revisit our priorities. My Priority Pie (as it shall henceforth be known) did just that. And just HOW do we evaluate these competing priorities? For me, the key is keeping it interesting. I wouldn’t want to give up any slice of the pie (hell, seriously, who would really want to give up a slice of pie??). But I’m sure you know the feeling when you have too big a slice of pie: the bloated, overstretched, guilty discomfit that pangs of slow penance. Well, that goes for metaphorical pies too, you see.

If any one slice of our pie gets too big, we take strain. We therefore aim to keep our time neatly balanced between the tidy portions of our lives. (Har har.) Sure, watching what we eat is important – and watch this space for the soon-to-posted AMAZING dietary achievements in the Veggietot household – but I’d hate to live in a world of mental weight watchers where our scheduled priorities were measured out daily, gram for metaphorical gram.

I love that I can cut my pie any way I want. I am holding the knife, so to speak. Some days I cut a nice wedge of work and a sliver of housework to see me through the week; others I carve out a hefty portion of quality time with the kids and leave a nice serving of sleep to be enjoyed afterwards. Some days I gorge a chunk of me-time with my bare teeth, gluttonously licking my chops and bearing said teeth if anyone should so much as eye the rest of my pie.

When I get too bogged down in any one (blessed) aspect of my life, I need to be reminded to change focus. And to blog more often. So you see? If I hadn’t made time to make the pie, I wouldn’t have learnt its life lessons.

Disclaimer: Veggietot Mom is not a dietician. Please consult your healthcare practitioner before making any major dietary changes, whether they involve pie or not!

PS Watch this space for the recipe!