I hate baking with my kids. There I said it. I also hate doing craft with my kids. Two strikes on the ‘bad mummy’ list for me, I guess. But it’s true, whether by nature or by nurture, such activities strike the greatest amount of internal (and sometimes external) groaning on my behalf.
But despite this, I see the value in these activities for my boys so I ‘woman up’ and do them anyway. In doing so, I find that just as they encourage skill building in my boys, they allow me to practise skills that I’m trying to hone like patience, calm and deep breathing! And let’s face it I need a lot of help in those areas. The things we dread often have a lot to teach us.
For the last week I’ve been home with Jarvis while he’s had the chicken pox, it wasn’t a bad dose thankfully but the isolation was starting to drive us both a bit batty. One of the days I was also working from home, J proclaimed that he wanted to make a cake.
After a day where my focus had to be on work as well as him, I thought the least I could do was dedicate some time to do something he really wanted. It was getting towards dinner time, but I thought we could quickly make a cake and get it in the oven at the same time.
I made a cake I hadn’t made before and halfway through I was really struggling. Jarvis was being a little too ‘enthusiastic’ with his taste testing and I was trying not to say ‘don’t do that’ all the time. The butter wouldn’t cream properly and when we navigated past that issue, the mix almost overflowed the bowl. It turned out I wasn’t the only one struggling to cope, as my cheap hand-held beater stifled a mechanical moan, buried deep into the thick chocolate sludge. I talked myself through it until Jarvis sat on the bench, happily chocolate smeared as his tongue stuck through the holes in the beaters. It may sound silly to say such a thing felt intensely stressful to me, but it did. And in those moments, it’s not just my baking skills I call into question but my mothering skills in general. And that’s what’s really silly.
Because you know what, despite my struggle over that cake and the fact that it almost overflowed its tin in the oven and that I had to hastily cut the almost burning top off so that the inside would cook, when it was finished it tasted pretty darn good. We slopped some icing over the top and some dinosaur sprinkles and from the outside no-one would know of the struggle that made that cake.
And I could have left it that way, but sometimes the struggle is worth sharing to let others know that they’re not alone in feeling a certain way. That it’s okay to hate craft and baking and to secretly wish for some time for yourself as a mother. It’s okay to do something just for you and to hell with what motherhood is supposed to look like. Standing in your truth feels kind of powerful, so I invite you to do the same! What aspects of motherhood do you kind of suck at but you do anyway?
If you can relate to this post, I invite you to share! I’d love us to all embrace our imperfections together.