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A cake solution to working mum angst

Nothing says working mum conflict like a child’s birthday

It brings to a head those insecurities which don’t really matter in day to day life and seems to create a complete inability to think like a rational adult, or may that is just me

Past birthdays have seen me getting home from work at midnight and setting to to make birthday cake and birthday treats

Rationally I know that I can buy a perfectly lovely cake but instead I find myself driven to make something myself – a bought cake would undoubtedly be prettier and easier and even avoids the difficult social eggshells of potentially offending a friend who makes beautiful cakes and would be delighted to create a gorgeous creation for my child but no for me the birthday cake is One Of Those Things

When I went back to work after Bigger was born one of the best pieces of advice I was given was to work out what things I considered absolutely critical in terms of feeling myself to be her mother – focus on those and just let the rest slip or you risk losing your sanity and your ability to make this thing work

At that stage it was about needing to keep on breastfeeding, about being home for bedtime at least a couple of times a week – what she wore was less important (although looking back at some of the photos I’m not sure this was necessarily one of the right things to decide to not be worried about)

As time moved on it became apparent that I would manage with not being there for the first days at nursery and school but that I would have to, need to make her birthday cake and treats.  This was a line in the sand that I just couldn’t cross for some unknown, deep seated reason

It defies logic – I’m not a particularly great cook and I certainly am not very good at icing cakes but each time a birthday rolls around the compulsion kicks in and I find myself sucked into the culinary vortex.  Fortunately I have a foolproof sponge cake and a few sneaky tricks up my sleeve (PLEASE let the pink marble cake idea work this year….) and hundreds and thousands can hide a multitude of mistakes

So here we are – a birthday is looming for a special small girl and I’ve cake mix under my fingernails and a burn on my thumb but deep down I feel satisfied, secure that yet again I have managed to make this cake.  There’s no way that she knows how important making that cake is for me but it is made and once again I can relax knowing that I have done it.  She won’t realise what it means to me but that cake is my way of balancing things out, of coping with the things that I miss and the regrets I may have

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2 comments to A cake solution to working mum angst

  • Aw. This brought a tear to my eye. It seemed to me that baking that cake is like you’re putting all your motherly love into it. There’s nothing like a homemade cake from your mum. And while she may not realise the significance now, she will look back on those homemade birthday cake memories of her childhood and know how much she is loved.

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