You may have noticed a recent trend on social media was to post a photo collage of your family at their best, along with a word to define the coming year. You probably saw words like “Restore,” “Cultivate” and “Whole 30.”

 

I prefer a more grounded route, with words like “Cope” and “Lower Expectations,” but for 2019 I wanted to try something new. The old me was boring and needed to shower more. The 2019 me would cook more and dry my hair more.

 

Then the day of reckoning happened.

I woke up late to my 4-year-old using my phone to take pictures and videos of me – turns out, he’d disabled the alarm in the process. My babysitter was also late, because she “forgot.” When I arrived home after work, the children acted as if they hadn’t seen me in weeks. I hadn’t heard that much screaming since my husband watched “The Haunting of Hill House.”

 

But I knew I could still turn the day around. I opened my Joanna Gaines “Magnolia” cookbook, with its sleek white pages of deception. The 15-minute prep time only took 30 minutes, thanks to toddler tears and a dog tracking poop inside. Then, just five minutes after shoving the dish into the oven, smoke appeared. So much smoke, in fact, that my children cowered in fear, rubbing their eyes.

 

I’d overfilled my bakeware. Clouds of thick, noxious gas billowed through the kitchen and into the living room. (Upon reflection, I’m realizing we need new smoke detectors.) When all hope was lost and I was about to take the kids to Chick-fil-A, I remembered a trick a friend once told me: douse the smoky spots in your oven with baking soda.

 

One hour later, with a two-inch blanket of baking soda shielding the bottom of my oven, dinner was served.

 

I get it, universe. I’m fabulous as I am; I don’t need to try something new in 2019. I just need a personal chef.

 

Carrie Taylor is a freelance writer, editor and mother of two boys.

 

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