Today my baby turned three years old! During my first year as a mom, my coworkers would say, "I don't know how you do it." But they don't say that anymore. These days I'm juggling the final weeks of a high risk pregnancy plus an extremely full workload and home life. I share this because it's reality and because you might be like me, a working mom barely holding it together and still searching Pinterest for "monster truck birthday cakes."
#1 Get Help
I sent a picture of this cake to my talented (and professionally trained) friend, also known as "Canvas Bakery." She immediately offered to help because she knew I was clueless about what I was getting myself into. Five hours later...yikes...we had a crumb coated cake and one layer of frosting. We both dislike fondant icing so we did the entire cake, accents and all, with buttercream frosting. I had no idea how much work goes into specialty cake baking, especially when you take a detour from the tutorials.
#2 Let Go
I enlisted my husband to make a cake stand. My strategic mind knew exactly what I wanted him to do. But he made up his own plan. Guess what? It still worked.
#3 Be Prepared Or Use What Works
It was a bit hard to be prepared because we are in the process of packing up our home. And of course, my cake baking supplies were in the boxes under all the other boxes stacked to the garage ceiling. But we found the essentials and we supplemented the rest. Ziplock bags became piping bags. And butter knives functioned as spatulas. I scrapped plans to make these tires and substituted them with the last four chocolate donuts from Krogers. Whatever gets the job done, gets the job done.
#4 Embrace Your Limits
By the end of the big day, I'd blown past my reasonable limits. Overall, the monster truck cake took roughly 8-10 hours worth of work. Halfway through the process, my friend said she'd never made a shaped cake before because it was such an extravagant task. Now, that was a revelation. My friend, with both talent and skill as a baker didn't feel the need to be "that mom" who made "that cake." Not that there's anything wrong with the moms who can. Rather, it's about embracing your limits.
So I'm thinking that I'm not "that mom" and that's okay.
I had a great experience in cake baking. I learned the secret to frosting a cake! While I might not tackle a shaped cake again, that secret will help me in baking those plain old round or square cakes.
#5 Be Thankful
And above all, I was blessed by my friends generosity. She is my dearest friend, my sister in Jesus, and my eternal neighbor. She helped me make Jaden's third birthday a sweet one — even standing up to the test of terrible three tantrums. And I'm also thankful for the love and support that we receive from our friends and family all year around. Wihtout them, I wouldn't be learning how to be a good mommy, much less able to be a working mom.
The birthday party ended in a rowdy monster truck rally in our living room. It was a huge hit (sadly I accidently deleted our entire family photo).
#6 Next Time, Do Something Different
Before our cake making adventure, my husband encouraged me to ask someone to do the cake for me. It would have been easier. But I wanted to do it simply because I'm a working mom making many sacrifices. I didn't want to sacrifice our little man's day. It wasn't about the glory — there's no glory when it comes to being a mom. I guess it was about being present, covered in blue icing and all.
The search was fun, the execution a challenge and the lessons worth learning (and sharing). So, whatever being present looks like to you, give it a try. But then give yourself the freedom to move on and do something different. That's the best way to be a mom.