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We Gave Up Our Microwave, But It's Not For the Reason You Think

Photograph by Twenty20

I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say microwaves are one of the seven wonders of motherhood. They're fast, they're convenient, and they're perfect for busy moms and their troop of kids who are begging for their lunchtime nuggets.

Our family microwave, fixed above the stovetop, warms morning oatmeal, my coffee, lunchtime meals, ingredients I forgot to defrost, dinnertime leftovers, and my “Hallelujah, the kids are in bed!” cocoa or chai. Basically, I couldn't live without it.

Until I could.

We recently moved and discovered that our new range was without a microwave. Instead of freaking out, I told my husband that I didn’t want to run out an buy a countertop microwave. I wanted to attempt life without a microwave. At least for a season.

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I know, I know. I just sang the microwave praise song! But for years I’ve read about microwaves not being the best for our health (some of which is true, some to still be explored, and some a total myth) and now seemed as good a time as any to experiment with a microwave-less life.

The crux of my decision wasn’t based on the question “Are microwaves healthy or not?”, it was on the hope of slowing down and saying no to speedy food. After all, I'm not Mama McDonald's. I don’t have a ton of pre-prepped food at my disposal. I grate my own cheese and slice my own apples. I rarely take orders and require my diners to take their plates to the kitchen when they’re through.

I went into hyper mode trying to fix this and that while my children beckoned from the table and whined about their hunger. Giving up our microwave cut all that.

My husband and I both felt it was time to emphasize a slower pace when it came to meal time—for our kids' sake and ours too. With a focus on patience, we’re finding that life without a microwave means we’re more inclined to prepare meals together, and then, sit and enjoy our food together as a family.

And it all started with saying goodbye to the convenience of our microwave. The end result? The trade off was totally worth it.

Now, my daughter is learning to think through the day and remind me to thaw meat in the morning.

My son, who is the definition of picky, is excited to meal plan with me. He's now pretty proficient with his kid-safe knife when it comes to food prep.

Rather than waking up from our afternoon nap and asking for a movie, my kids head to the kitchen and we listen to an audiobook or music together. The kitchen has recently brought calm and conversation whereas before, it was a place I resented.

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Formerly, there were demands and crying. I went into hyper mode trying to fix this and that while my children beckoned from the table and whined about their hunger. Giving up our microwave cut all that. Or at least became the catalyst for change in how food works for our family.

Now my crew understands that food doesn’t happen at lightning speed by their favorite chef. Instead, everyone shares the burden of cooking. Sometimes, I even get served!

Around the kitchen island, we share about our days, make plans for the future, and embrace learning opportunities from things like reminding the baby that the oven is hot to practicing math when reading a recipe. Our collaborative efforts have combined into a beautiful thing—a meal we all had a hand in.

And it all started with saying goodbye to something we loved.

Microwave, I loved you, but I don't think we're ever going back.

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