I keep mentioning the ages of my family members. I keep doing that because it really feels like my brother (age 30) and my dad (age 57) never got a chance to grow up in some aspects. My dad has no idea how to do laundry. Both of them have never cooked food before. And the list goes on and on. My boyfriend knows these things very well – I vent to him all the time in order to stay sane!

My mom has thrown in the white towel – or she is fighting back passive-aggressively. I’m not sure which…but either way, she’s just not going to do it anymore. And by “it” I mean doing household duties for them: cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc. She has cooked a meal for almost every day of the week (besides vacation or abundant leftovers, etc) for as long as I can remember. Very recently was her last straw, I suppose.

Why now, and not 20 years ago? In the last year, my dad went into unemployment and it put my family in a really difficult position. My brother remains unemployed as well. What is the progress of things? Well, nothing has changed. They both remain unemployed, and my dad expects my mother – working as a hairstylist with minimal and sporadic pay – to pay the bills. And yet, it was still expected for her to cook and clean every day. Something is just not right, don’t you think?

At first my mom felt bad for my dad’s loss of a job & just let him do whatever he wanted as a mini-vacation and to get out of his mourning period (mourning for the loss of his job). He even started doing the dishes every day – something he never did in his life. But then month after month, he continued to stay at home playing around and relaxing. He didn’t even bother fixing little household things that would have been great since he has the time now. And eventually he even stopped doing his own dishes – he would leave them in a big pile on the table and then maybe after two days put them in the sink for someone else to wash. I don’t know what’s wrong with him. He’s home all day with absolutely no intention to get a job, so I don’t get why he can’t help out around here.

In fact, my dad has gotten really strange in the head lately. I get that he wants to be healthier (he had high blood pressure :/ ), but he took it overboard. He rejected my mom’s cooking – which is very Asian & healthy compared to eating out in the first place – despite how hard she works and wanted to eat “better” food. So she stopped cooking for him entirely. He cooks for himself now…which is basically just some boiled vegetables with brown rice, and blended vegetable/fruit smoothies. He’s been meditating and going to meditation/”Oriental medicine” classes. It sounds dandy and all, until you look at the fact that we’re not in the best financial situation right now but he’s spending money on drinking up only fresh vegetables (he says you should never drink water, just drink vegetables) and doing weird shit. And yet, he also eats out with his friends often & comes home to “detox” with vegetables again. *sigh* Honestly, nobody would care what he does if he had a JOB. The fact that he’s at home all day doing nothing and then demanding for expensive things my mom has to pay for just really puts me in over the edge.

As I mentioned, my mom went on vacation for a week. In the meantime, I took care of all the cleaning and food – it drove me insane how dirty & unappreciative my brother and dad can be. When my mom came back, I told her my new policy: do not do anything for them and they will realize they have to do it themselves, no matter how long it takes. She actually listened to me, and stopped completely. In the past, I would tell her the same thing, but she would respond with, “If I don’t do it, nobody will.” But maybe now is the last straw and my words actually meant something to her. I feel like I was responsible for my mom’s “strike” but in the end, if it makes her life easier & happier, I don’t think I did a bad thing. I might even have set her free… and I might even have forced my dad and brother to be more independent.

I’ve been cooking for myself and my brother, but after much frustration, my mom & boyfriend have helped me come to terms with the fact that I should NOT feel responsible for my brother. He is extremely overweight and when I cook he eats 4 portions more than the average person. It’s frustrating for me because when I cook something and tell him to portion it out, it’s all immediately gone in his belly. But if I don’t cook, he will go out to eat fast food because he refuses to learn to cook. However, I’ve come to terms with the fact that it’s not my responsibility to take care of him (my brother even said that himself). I can cook when I feel like it, but if my brother goes hungry, then he has to fend for himself.

It can go two ways – he will get even unhealthier and more obese with regular fast food all the time, or he will finally learn to cook for himself. I’ve tried my best for like 10 years to motivate him to lose the weight and I’ve given him all kinds of suggestions but they always fall to deaf ears. The only person who can help him is himself. I do care for him, but this is probably the best way for him to grow as a person – he’s been babied for too long. I only hope that this will lead to good results.

Bad news and venting aside…at least I am excited for my own adventure in cooking. I’ve made some good dishes in the last 2 weeks to put under the “winner dinner” list, and I’ve got around 100 other recipes saved to try in the coming days. Once I get through them all, I can just cycle through the good recipes and make them in larger batches for more meals. I’m thinking typed & printed recipes in a note-binder. Then maybe I can convince my brother to try one of the recipes himself and realize cooking for yourself is definitely a life skill worth having & necessary. Feel free to send any of your favorite recipes my way ^_^