Yes, I am here today to fully disclose that I, am in fact, THAT mom. I am the mom that you admittedly love to hate. I am the mom that the other moms whisper about behind my back.
Who am I?
I am the mom who refuses to buy my child a store-made birthday cake.
Ok, so maybe it’s not as bad as I make it out to be, but believe me, I’ve had my share of comments and remarks. And let me start out first and foremost by saying that I have NOTHING against store bought cakes or cupcakes or even a box or two of Little Debbie snacks. I do not judge you for not making your child’s birthday cake, nor will I ever. But for me, it’s not something I have ANY desire to do.
It All Started Rather Innocently
When my oldest son turned one, I had no intention of starting the cycle of extreme cake making that I now fully embrace. I actually had a friend make an Elmo cake, that was not only decorated adorably, but tasted delicious! But, I also wanted to be the mom who had a small “smash cake” that was all the rage at the time (this was almost 10 years ago now). So, I set out to TRY and make something small, and cute, and hopefully somewhat resembling Elmo.
I improvised majorly since this was a last minute effort. But I figured, “Hey, he’s only one, he won’t notice!” Well, this was my first foray into becoming the crazy cake mom!
The Planning Stages
Ever since then, I have made my sons’ birthday cakes. Over time, I have increased my skill level and have watched videos and read articles about different techniques. I now start planning well in advance, usually around 4-6 weeks prior to their birthdays. We talk about themes or characters that they want and what flavor of cake they would like.
When it comes time to make their cakes, it can take anywhere from 6 – 18 hours to complete and could span 2-3 days of baking and decorating. I make everything from scratch, including the cake, [usually] the frosting, and the fondant and various other decorations.
Lady, You’re Crazy!
Yes, I know. This isn’t the first time nor will it be the last time that I hear that. I am told repeatedly that the boys won’t care that much about the cake. That they’ll be just as happy with a store-bought cake as they would the cake I make for them. Which, in all honesty, is probably true. But that’s not the point of this seemingly crazy fiasco! And while it can absolutely be a stressful time making them, to me, being “that” mom means so much more than the time consuming cakes I make.
Giving My Kids More Than Toys
The major reason why I’ve become “that” mom has nothing to do with trying to impress my kids (or others). I’m not trying to become the next Cake Boss or launch my own business. That couldn’t be further from the truth!
The main reason that I make these cakes for my boys is to give them something they will always remember. I am not able to give my children much in the realm of toys or electronics. I can’t promise them a huge birthday bash with fun games and bouncy houses or pony rides. But this – my time, my talent, my energy – I can give them. I can give them memories that will last a lifetime. I will give them a birthday that they will remember, even if it isn’t at the circus!
Now as my youngest son’s birthday approaches in a few weeks, I’ve been carefully planning out his cake since the beginning of December. We have a theme and set of characters and the overall design of the cake is in my mind, and now I can begin the prep work.
These cakes are, without a doubt, a labor of love. Of course, being “that” mom comes with much scrutiny and various comments. But when it all comes down to it, nothing else matters to me more than the memories that I make with my children, celebrating another year of them being the greatest gifts that I have ever received.
*Instead of water-based food coloring, I always use the gel since it makes it a much more vibrant color!