Life is messy … especially when baking is involved.
My daughter’s birthday was quickly approaching—as it seems to do every year—and I only had a week to plan her party. Oops. (I guess in all reality I had a whole year.) After scrolling through Pinterest for ideas, I began to feel like an inadequate mother. I knew I wouldn’t be able to make an ice sculpture for a Frozen themed birthday, like Martha Stewart on crack, so I decided to at least make her that rainbow cake she had been talking about … the one she saw at her friend’s birthday party because some other mom’s got skills.
I generally stick to buying cakes from the local bakery. However, this time I was feeling all “inspired,” so I ventured out of my comfort zone and decided to bake. I began to imagine the approval of my daughter and other family members, as they would surely rave over my masterpiece. They would label me an “amazing mother: talented in so many ways.” Who knows, my cake could even go viral on Pinterest…
Now, when I say I will make a cake from scratch, what I really mean is that I will make it from a box. (This is about as homemade as it gets for me, so don’t judge.) From my experience, you can’t go wrong with a Duncan Hines box cake. Everything is practically spelled out.
My sister and I baked the eight colorful layers a day before the party (which I considered to be a brilliant time saver). However, the day of the party, my Martha Stewart dreams quickly crumbled into pieces, literally. When I tried to place the second layer of cake on top of the first, I created an avalanche. I tried to salvage the cake by reconstructing it piece by piece, pasting it together with icing … but alas, it was of no avail. The cake was a total disaster.
They would label me an “amazing mother: talented in so many ways.” Who knows, my cake could even go viral on Pinterest…
Surprisingly, my daughter loved the Picasso-inspired cake and thought it tasted amazing! But my expectations were far from met. I wanted to cry, but the only thing I could do was laugh (and send my husband to buy a cake from the bakery one hour before the party)!
All of this allowed me to realize how unrealistic expectations in parenting and other relationships can easily set us up for failure, discouragement, and depression. Why? Because disappointments are really just unmet expectations. Can you think of a time when you were looking forward to something and it just didn’t quite live up to your expectations? Maybe it was a concert, vacation, or a date night. Or maybe you can relate to my most recent “let down”—a colossal failure in baking that was supposed to be an award-winning birthday cake.
Life is not always a piece of cake. It’s messy, and disappointments are sure to come. If you can’t recreate a Pinterest cake, give yourself a break! But if you have mad baking skills, by all means, get to work! (And maybe bake us all a cake!)
Feel the pressure to measure up in your mothering? You’ll like The Plight of the Perfect Mama, Don’t Judge Me—Freedom from Guilt in Motherhood, Let Me Entertain You—the Mom Myth, and Parenting Means Saying You’re Sorry too!