On a snowy day in January, the afternoon came with a bit of fraying around the edges. We were deep in the throes of a blizzard, and the white stuff was piling up fast outside. Inside, the kids were amusing themselves however they could. Toys had been played with, video games mastered, lunches eaten. The kids had moved onto board games, and were happily playing. But while the kids off from school for a snow day, my job — one that doesn’t stop just because the snow comes — went on. I felt bad that I couldn’t play too. I felt bad that I didn’t have anything planned for them to do, and couldn’t supervise playing outside (though, given the blizzard, I didn’t really want to go out anyway).
There is a difficult balance that comes with being a mom with a demanding full time job who is the primary parent to her two school age children. There are responsibilities to the kids, to my job, to myself … Work can’t fall to the side simply because it snows. And while my kids are old enough to entertain themselves, I can’t just shirk parenting responsibilities because of deadlines. So in that afternoon moment, when I felt a little stretched, I turned to something that reminds me of my childhood: enjoying Pepperidge Farm® Milano® cookies.
It sounds odd, but growing up there was a Pepperidge Farm store not far from my house. My grandmother and I would sometimes stop in and pick up cookies — always Milano cookies. They are a favorite because of the flavor, but also because they remind me of when I was little. But, like many things, I share moments like these with my kids.
I told them why I love the cookies (always Milk Chocolate for me), and let them choose their own flavors — Raspberry Milano cookies for Will and Mint Milano cookies for Paige. And we all shared our flavors too, which was fun. It was the perfect little pause in our day. A moment to step out of everything else, and just take a good breath — and bite. A week later, on another snowy Monday, when we were exhausted from the disruption to our schedule, we indulged in a little moment again and it brightened an otherwise gray afternoon. Funny how something so little can make a big difference.
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Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of several cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to two kids in middle school, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.