When it comes to being a mom, we face so many challenges from the word go, that I sometimes wonder how my mom (sort of) survived six kids. First it’s morning sickness, then labour. Then childbirth. Then breastfeeding, teething, and no sleep for 15 years…
And everything about being a parent is so trying, really, it’s little wonder it’s so hard to decide on a most difficult stage – especially since as the years go by and the kids get older, it only gets harder, not easier.
For me though, it’s a toss up between pretending to be the tooth mouse and having to learn how to bake. But I think I am going to go with baking (or at least not being able to bake). Because apart from hosting kids’ parties and hot dog duty (which, so far, I’ve found harder to pull off than all three of my c-sections put together) baking has been my greatest parenting challenge. And I take my oven gloves off to anyone who can do it. I really do!
It all started when I had to bake a cake for my son’s preschool raffle back in 2012. It happened every Friday, he was inexplicably excited for his turn, and so yes, I spent days researching what to do on the internet, weeks perfecting my master plan... I think I even asked my sister to come over for the morning to help me. Because yes, this was going to be far harder than that nasty bout of Mastitis I had when my one baby was 17 months old and the other one had just been born. Much harder!
But when the day finally arrived for me to present the cake to the school, I was stumped by the response. The teacher absolutely loved the cake, but not for the reasons I was hoping for. It was one of her best cakes yet because… because she thought my son had actually baked it.
Apparently, I was the first parent to ever actually let their three year old make the cake which, “Was the whole point of the exercise, and what we encourage here”. Um. Okay? Well done, Mom. I think?
Fast forward 10 years and I still can’t bake. I have tried, and tried again. And after a few years of trying really hard, I got so confident, I even sent a photo of my son’s 8th birthday cake to his best friend’s mom one Friday night when I was on an icing sugar high, and considering entering MasterChef SA.
“Tori! I love it! But how could you make Daniel bake his own birthday cake?” was the response.
What the Facebook!
Also read: Need a dose of ashamed-mother relief?
After that it was a tough call for me to make. Almost tougher than Grade 4 homework. Do I continue to bake cakes for my kids to show them how much I love them? Or should I stop baking cakes for my kids to show them how much I love them?
Thankfully, Thomas solved the problem when, on his birthday this year, he suggested I buy cupcakes from Woolies for the class rather than bake them myself. “We have to give one to the teacher, Mom. And sometimes even the librarian,” he said.
“We know you can’t really bake, and we don’t mind. We know you are much better at other stuff, like keeping score at cricket.”
What’s been the most challenging expectation for you when it comes to being a so-called perfect parent? Tell us your story and we may publish it.