I Love My Kid Too Much to Get Her a Store-Bought Birthday Cake
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?