I remember when Elliott was a baby I found it very difficult to ask for help and cooking nutritious meals often fell by the wayside. What I do remember though is teaming up with my neighbour whose daughter was the same age and we made big batches of purees which made it so much easier and gave our babies lots more variety. MamaBake has taken this one step further and created a wonderful movement which I’m sure would help many mothers in easing their domestic load. Have a read and learn more about how MamaBake could help you. Thanks Michelle for sharing this guest blog.
The MamaBake concept was conceived of by Michelle Shearer, surfing Mama of two children on the North Coast of NSW, Australia.
The idea was inspired when Michelle’s long-lost-and-then-found, dear school friend and Mama to four, Bec Clark, baked a big lasagne for the Shearer clan one day giving Michelle a free afternoon to go surfing instead of making dinner.
Michelle immediately wanted to reciprocate and the idea of cooking together and sharing the meals so that everyone could get some time off made sense and so MamaBake was born.
The first MamaBake session was held with four Mamas who cooked up one big dish each, they shared it out and voila! Meals for four nights for each family. That afternoon the MamaBakers trotted off home with sushi, chicken stew, fresh bread rolls, cheese and spinach pie and chilli con carne.
From there the MamaBake concept has captured the imagination of Mamas across the world.
Easing the Domestic Load
One of the biggest shocks for mums when babies hit town is the sheer weight of domestic work that tends to fall to us. Often we find ourselves home alone with little one/s with no family or close friends nearby to call on for a wee bit of help every now and again.
Even if we do have kinfolk close by, sometimes it isn’t easy for us as mums to reach out and say “hey, could you come over and hold my baby while I have a shower?” or “Could I trouble you to come and do a couple of loads of washing for me? I haven’t slept for three weeks and there are no clean clothes in the house!”.
From the outside looking in it can appear that everyone else is cruising along with no difficulty and so it is essential that the keeping up of the ‘I’m cruising too with nothing to see here’ appearances is essential.
A way around that discomfort of asking for help is to work together. It’s not something we do much in this society outside of various forms of paid work. Generally, we don’t see groups of people in the local neighbourhood working together on something just because it needs doing – unless there has been a disaster.
MamaBake is a grass roots movement of mothers who come together to share the domestic load, namely the cooking.
Here is how it works:
- Mums get together in one mum’s home and cooks (or brings already prepared and cooked) one big batch meal each.
- At the end of the MamaBake session, each meal is shared out amongst each mum.
- The result is each mum goes home with a range of freshly made dinners for the week ahead.
What to Bring:
- All ingredients to cook your meal
- All kitchen utensils needed to cook your meal
- Take away containers for your booty!
Don’t overthink the costings of the food. It all works out just fine in the end. If you are concerned, you can come up with a list of possible meals (that all cost about the same each week) that each of you can cook for that session.
Talk about food values right at the outset e.g. vegetarian, mainly organic, on a budget etc.
You need only one other mum with whom to MamaBake to feel the full benefits of the concept.
Keep the size of the group relatively small – we found four was a great number.
Don’t worry if you have small kids – everyone pitches in to look after each others’ children.
Only have a small kitchen? Simply organise for some mums to bring their big batch meal already prepared and cooked. Also, some mums might not need the stove top at the exact same time so alternate. One might use the oven whilst the other the stove top. Maybe you don’t need the stove top at all – consider meals that don’t need cooking e.g. Vietnamese spring rolls etc.
Working outside of the home? Invite a couple of mums over in the evening with a big batch meal each already prepped and cooked. Have a glass of wine and divide up the batches later in the evening.
Why Mums across the world, MamaBake
Mum gets some time off making dinner every single night (at a time of day when she is absolutely cream cracked!) to do other things.
Mums form tight knit community and deep, meaningful friendships through cooking together. The groups can often morph into other forms of working bees e.g. when a family is moving house. There is nothing that breaks the ice more than rolling up your sleeves together and getting up to your neck in flour and eggs!
Children get to try out other people’s cooking and see the power of community in action. They become involved in food preparation and learn new skills.
More about MamaBake (mamabake.com)
Join the MamaBake movement for free (mamabake.com/join) for a free Get Started eBook with recipes, more tips and a poster you can print out to pin up across your town.
Also get monthly recipes.
If you are in to make-ahead bulk cooking, join MamaBake’s Premium Baking Club for access to hundreds of make-ahead family meals.