by Jeanne Sager
I have spent weeks. No days. OK, OK, weeks, combing Pinterest for the perfect idea for cupcakes for my daughter's upcoming birthday party. She wants pandas, and she's going to get pandas if I have to stay up until 3 a.m. crafting cute little black and white bear cubs until my fingers bleed.
Yes, I am one of those moms, the moms Good Morning America called out for being cakezillas who intimidate other moms with their push for perfection this week. A store-bought birthday cake just isn't good enough for my baby.
It sounds nuts, doesn't it?
I know it does. I know I'm trying too hard.
Every year after the party is over and the kids have gone home, I sit down on my couch and vow to lay off next year, to give myself a break. I'll hire someone to bake the cake! I'll go store-bought! I'll bite off something I can actually chew!
And then spring hits, and my daughter's June birthday looms, and there I am, furiously searching for an idea to blow my kid away. Because I just.
It's a sickness that I'm not quite sure how to explain, but I'll give it my best shot: I feel like making my kid's birthday awesome is part of getting her childhood "right," and that means doing things myself. I just can't bring myself to accept the "help" of an outside baker. The very idea fills me up with dread. Last year I was sick as a dog before my daughter's birthday, and even letting my husband make her "bring to school" cupcakes made me cry.
Call it being a cakezilla. Call it peer pressure. Call it extreme parenting. Or just call it crazy.
But I have a feeling I'm not alone, and not just because of the GMA story on us birthday cake nuts. As a mom there is always something you feel you need to do yourself, that you just won't accept help on.
For me it's the birthday cake.
Maybe for you it was the baby book.
Maybe it's bath time.
Or bed time.
Or being the mom who HAS to volunteer to chaperone the kids' field trips because you just feel compelled to spend a day on a bus full of screaming 8-year-olds.
We all have something we feel like we need to do for our kids and do all by ourselves, if only to prove that we can. Whether our kids will even notice is hard to tell. Every year she thanks me for her cake. But will she remember them in 10 years? In 20? Will she remember that Mommy was up into the wee hours on a muggy June night making a second cake because the first one stuck to the pan?
Maybe she will. Maybe she won't.
But doing this for my kid isn't about judging other mothers (I could give a fig if you go store-bought). It's about me showing my kid I love her in a way that works for me (and my neuroses).
So don't be intimidated by my homemade birthday cake, and I won't be intimidated by your picture-perfect nursery.
We all show love in different ways.
Have you fallen prey to the "must make the perfect cake" monster?
Or is it something else you just can't delegate?
What is your "I MUST DO MYSELF" thing?
My mother-in-law makes cakes, I mean she makes the most awesome, beautiful, awe-inspiring cakes. But I will not allow her to make cakes for my kids' birthdays because I make their cakes. Mine are not nearly as nice as the cakes that she could make for them, but I want to do it. However, if it became a chore, something that I crash afterward and complain about I would certainly have her pick up the job. For me, making the birthday cake is something I "get to" do. We mom's have so many things we "have to" do... clean up poop, try desperately to comfort a sick child, lose sleep for the first 3 years of their lives (at least).... that I LOVE LOVE LOVE the get to's. To see their faces when the cake comes out, that is my "get to!" Am I a cake-zilla? No, I don't think so. My kids pick out what they want and I try my hardest to deliver.
i love making birthday cakes. the kids have so much fun deciding on how they want their cake to look and then i get to do the fun part -- making & decorating it. some of the cakes are completely hideous, some are adorable....either way, it's part of the fun of celebrating birthdays. i couldn't imagine buying a cake and skipping that process.
There are so many other ways kids need their Moms to be better & it is not in the best cake baker category.
I have a cousin that is like this Mom all that trivial stuff like cakes, party decorating & throwing a great party are more impotent to her in the idea that it makes her this great Mom in the eyes of her daughter. BUT on any other day she is screaming & cussing & degrading her daughter (who is 5 by the way). My Mother has told me stories that her sister (my cousins Mother) has told her about my cousin arguing with her daughter & talking trash to her daughter because the child wanted to talk to her Grandmother on the phone. Yet my cousin thinks that if her daughter has the perfect party & cake & so on that she will remember her childhood fondly, never realizing that what will stick with her the most is the terrible treatment her mother put her through!
I love to bake so I do make their cakes. . .though last year I accidently messed up my daughter's cake. She wanted a rainbow dash cake so I made rainbow color cakes. ..forgot to grease the pans so they all got stuck . *sigh*. This year I'm attempting a Monster Jam truck for her *crosses fingers*
I make cakes as a business. So yes, I make my children's birthday cakes generally. I have only been doing cakes for about 3 years though so they have had plenty of store bought cakes in their lifetime. In fact, this last birthday a few months ago my child decided he wanted an Oreo icecream cake, which was bought from the store.
I don't see what the big deal is if parents want to buy a cake from the store or if parents want to make a cake. It doesn't mean the store bought cake parent is lazy or doesn't love thier kid and it doesn't mean the parent who makes the cake is a Iambetterthanyou jerk. What does it matter?