I am really excited about going live with you all and finally revealing our “new” blog! The part of this newness, though, that I’m most excited about is the category “The Swap.” Be sure to click on the right-hand sidebar to read “About the Swap.” I think that you’re all going to agree that this is an awesome idea–especially (but not exclusively, by any stretch of the imagination!, for working moms)!
Shalinee and I started The Swap (that’s just what we’ve come to call it) six months ago. I’ve often wanted to blog about it, but conscientiously didn’t. Honestly, it has been so good that I was afraid that I’d jinx it if I were to write about it. But I also wanted to be sure that it was a real-deal, set-in-stone, fully-functioning thing before I started going all goo-goo and ga-ga about it in the blogosphere. But, I’m here now to attest, folks, that this is the real-deal. Shalinee and I have been going strong with The Swap, every week, since March. And it has – literally – changed my life. For the better. This is the best thing that’s happened to our dual-career, never-a-dull-moment, fast-paced-but-good-food-loving family in a long, long time.
The pragmatics of this are brilliant and all I can think is, “How come we didn’t come up with this earlier?” and, “Did we really come up with this?!” (we’ve researched it and found that some other people are doing kind-of-sort-of-similar things, but nothing quite exactly like what we’re doing). But, I mean, really… if you’re going to take the time to make homemade salad dressing, why not make two batches instead of one? Right?
And really… the nights that you most need a home-cooked, lovingly-made, warm meal, ready-in-minutes are on those week-nights when life feels like pure chaos and you don’t even have 20 minutes to get dinner on the table. Those are, precisely, the nights when you are least likely to manage to pull off that good and lovely home-made meal. Unless… of course… you made it on Monday night in preparation for the long week ahead. And made double to swap with a friend. And when, on earth (on earth!!!), would you ever be able to make grilled shish-ka-bobs and revved up loaded-with-fruits-and-veggies couscous unless it were for something like The Swap?
Aside from all these positively practically-perfect pragmatics, though, perhaps the most awesome side-effect of The Swap has been that my family has had the privilege of being recipient to a whole other world of cuisine… food lovingly prepared, from scratch, and with care, by our really good friend. And we’ve been gifted this gift of being able to eat Shalinee’s home-made food. My kids are exposed to good-food-x-2… which just means that their palates are expanded exponentially. Which, like I said, is an awesome side-effect. (Photos below = J-M’s weeknight dinners 1st week of June… Indian food prepared by Shalinee one night and Cali-Mexi food prepared by Heather another night). Awesome times two. And… just for the record… never would have happened(not even close!) if it weren’t for The Swap.
In truth, however, what has turned out to be the #1 best part of the swap – by far – has been the fusing of the friendship of Shalinee and I. We have so much in common (don’t even get us started!!!!!), but this Swap thing has really cemented it for us. When you’re a working mom, with a big career to foster and maintain, and young kids who make your heart pitter-patter, the thing that often flies out the window first (in my and Shalinee’s experience, at least) is good close nearby friends. The Swap has pulled us as tight as tight can be. And that is great for us (great!!!!!). But, going even further, an unintended result has been that it has been great for our families as well. We are not “alone” in our dinner plight (or life plight) any longer. We are totally entwined with Shalinee and her family. And that, my blog-reader-friends, is very cool. K, O, and M see – every week – not just that Mommy has a really, really good friend (!), but they see, first hand, what it means to be a really, really good friend to — and with — another.
I love this picture (above), not because it is a good picture (it isn’t; it is a terrible picture!), but because it is so symbolic. There we are, Shalinee and I, sitting on the playground of our kids’ Waldorf School, discussing life in its entirety. I love that the contrasts are so clear—she’s wearing dark and light, I’m wearing light and dark; her hair’s black, my hair’s blond; she’s Indian, I’m Scandanavian. But we’re both ‘young’ tenured female professors at a top-tier research university; we’ve both got our kids at that crazy school; we’ve both got ridiculously over-achieving husbands; we’re both committed to trying to feed our families well; and we’ve both got our hair in ponytails. That picture was taken right at the end of Spring Semester 2010. We were both exhausted from an academic year that was full of challenge and joy times two. But there we were – talking about The Swap and everything else in our worlds.
I’m so excited to share The Swap with you. I hope you enjoy following along each week as much as I think you might. And I hope that you’ll find some inspiration in this so that there will be a ripple-effect-of-goodness from this thing. Just like some of the family meals that Shalinee and I have been making these past six months… The swap seems too good to not share it.
P.S. In anticipation of the “new” blog going live, Shalinee and I have been doing blog posts re: The Swap for the past three weeks. So, if you click on “The Swap” tab at the top of the blog, you’ll see three weeks worth of Swap already ready for reading!