What Baking Taught Me About Parenting

I have been baking a lot more than usual and that’s because economically and convenience-wise, it makes more sense for me to convert flour to bread than to have to leave the house often (especially in this circuit breaker period) to buy fresh bakes for my family (all bread lovers except for me, my desired choice of breakfast is and has always been nasi lemak and noodles 🤣)

My baking encounters taught me a bit about parenting and allow me to share some of these thoughts.

❤️ I learnt the hard way that I really cannot take any shortcuts while making bread. I cannot make adjustments in the ingredients (yeast or type of flour) or add some extra later on, thinking that the outcome would be similar to what I envisioned.

  • Likewise in parenting, “shortcuts” are a "no-no" to any situation. I need to be faithful in my parenting, be conscious and mindful that my every little decision to build good habits rather than solve an immediate situation will have a good outcome in the long run.

❤️ Yeast is one of the main things we need to prepare with extra care because this is the soul of any bread. While kneading, we need to distribute the yeast equally into the dough, and yeast mixed with flour and water will cause fermentation, the complete process which gives bread its flavour and character. Yeast not only helps bread to rise, it also strengthens the bread dough because gluten is produced (when yeast is mix with flour and water) and that’s how you give shape to your bread.

  • Similarly, in parenting we need to pass on some key ingredients of life to our children so that they grow up to become children with a strong moral compass and who are changemakers. Those ingredients are kindness, respect, honesty, compassion, faith and lots of love, in a hope that our kneading would bring out a masterpiece with a good character.

❤️ Baking reminds me that good things come to those who are patient enough to wait. A typical baking process is long and requires a lot of patience - weighing out all the ingredients, to mixing, fermenting, dividing out in portions, proofing, baking and cooling down the eventual product. Each specific stage has its specific waiting phase, some proofing can take as long as an hour or so.  But when we finally get to taste the warm fresh bakes that are on the cooling racks, I am proud that I have the determination to venture into something that I was unfamiliar with and I had the patience to wait for the right timing for things to turn out the way it should.

  • Just like in parenting, we may not see very much the fruits of our labour now. This includes all the positive parenting that we are trying out on our children and taking the time to have many meaningful conversations that we try to encourage in every teachable moment. We may not see immediate results of very strong bonds or sudden change of personality of our child to be an overtly kind or brave person. But I truly believe that there is growth and some input of our well-intended guidance. And that at the end of the tunnel, we will see good outcome in our children. That they will remember our every quality conversation that we have together, our beautiful memories of spending time with each other and they will turn out well.

Let’s walk alongside each other as we journey through parenthood together and build strong bonds with our children.