I always loved the idea of a homemade birthday cake. I wanted to be the mom who always made the most perfect birthday cakes for my children, shaped in whatever character they wanted, in their favorite flavor. My mom always worked outside the home, which was amazing considering she always kept a clean home and she cooked our meals everyday, so for my birthdays, it was always store bought cake. Which is delicious, but it just wasn't homemade. I attempted to become this "perfect cake baking" version of a mother when my son Oliver, turned one. We had a dinosaur theme, and I purchased a pan in the shape of an adorable dinosaur. I bought green, yellow, and black piping frosting, and got a recipe from Pinterest for vanilla cake. My in-laws and mother were in town for the birthday weekend, and I had decided to make a "trial" cake, thinking that it was really a waste of time because I was gonna make the most beautiful dinosaur cake in the world, but juuuuuuuust in case, a trial run would help me iron out any issues.
It was a disaster.
The cake resembled a pile of dirt covered in multicolored frosting, more than a dinosaur. I was so upset. I went into the bathroom and cried. This mother crying in the bathroom, covered in cake crumbs and frosting, was NOT the mother that I thought I would be. My husband and hero, bought a cake from Costco that year.
This year, for Emilio's first birthday we had a cowboy theme. Complete with cowboy hats, sheriff badges, and mustaches for all the kids. The party was going to be short, because it is still VERY hot in Arizona this time of year and the party was going to be primarily outside, and also because the boys needed to nap. I literally plan our lives around their naps. Anyway, my husband Walther got a call RIGHT as the party was starting. He told me that our bank called, stating that they had my wallet in one of their offices and that I needed to go get it right away. I was stunned. I did not even realize that my wallet had been missing. Apparently I had dropped it at a restaurant a couple days before and the manager who found it had no way of contacting me and looked at my debit card and took it to the closest bank for them to call me.
I left Emilio's party as the first guests started to arrive. The bank would be a 40 minute round trip. I was going to miss half of Emilio's first birthday for a very stupid reason. About halfway to the bank, I burst into tears. This mother, crying in the car, driving to a random bank to get my stupid wallet during my baby's FIRST BIRTHDAY, was not the mother I thought I would be.
I texted my best friend in California and told her what was happening. I explained how much I hated myself in that moment for being so absent minded and missing Emilio's birthday. She said something that I think I will get crocheted on a pillow, "You have NO reason to hate yourself. Absent mindedness if a part of Motherhood...You are demanding too much of yourself." Something in me clicked the moment I read those words. The real reason I was crying, the deep rooted reason, was that I felt like I did not have this motherhood stuff under control. I WAS demanding too much of myself. I am allowed to make mistakes, change my mind, and buy Costco cake. I lavish love on my children on a daily basis, we read and play together, I nurse them back to health, make sure they are learning and experiencing new things, and I am trying so hard to show them how much God loves them. I am allowed to not have things under control.
Suddenly things like where their birthday cake comes from, or if things don't turn out as l planned, are not that big of a deal. Life happens. I was back at the party in no time, my husband held down the fort in my short absence, and Emilio was halfway through a slice of cheese pizza and had not even realized I was gone.
Sometimes we imagine what types of mothers we are going to be, and what we imagine rarely matches who we become. That is ok. In fact, that is better, because we are being our authentic selves, and not who we THINK we SHOULD be. The best person to raise my children is me. Diana. As I am. Not some fake version of me who stresses out about how I will be perceived.
Now I am the mom who buys Costco cakes for birthdays. And to be honest, I am way more relaxed, and I know the cake is going to be perfect because honestly? Costco cake is so delicious and I sort of love that there are always leftovers. See? Win win.
Copyright 2018 Diana Cantu. All Rights Reserved.
Image Credit: Copyright 2018 Diana Cantu. All Right Reserved.