Per my son’s request, I planned to bring two dozen cupcakes to his class to celebrate his upcoming birthday. Since I’m not big on throwing parties, I was more than happy to accommodate his simple request. Months earlier, I brought some to my daughter’s class for her birthday, so it was only fair.
But for my daughter’s birthday, I paid Publix to create a Rapunzel princess cupcake cake. It was a big box and was awkward to wheel into her classroom balanced on top of the stroller I was pushing my other daughter in. I knew that I didn’t want to risk that balancing act again.
And I knew there was no way that I was going to buy a few containers of premade cupcakes for them to topple over and smear frosting all over the place during transport via stroller basket.
So, I decided to bake some instead, which I’ve done for his class in years before.
But I still felt a little bad.
My son had brought up a few weeks ago how one of his other classmates had Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cupcakes and I wondered if he would be disappointed that he wouldn’t get the same spectacular display (mom bubble burst #1: my cupcakes can’t compete with that).
And, honestly, his birthday sorta snuck up on me. Had I not waited until the last minute, I would have thought about picking up supplies while I was at Michaels the other day (mom bubble burst #2: mom guilt over not planning better).
Thankfully, he didn’t say a word about the wrappers I ended up grabbing from my limited selection: plain white.
It was either that, or hot pink.
Last night, while he helped me prep by placing one wrapper into each cupcake cup, I genuinely thanked him so much for being mature about the type of cupcakes I planned on bringing to his class. He smiled sheepishly (mom ego boost #1: my son cares more about my presence than he does about the appearance of the cupcakes).
This afternoon, in the hour before I had to go to his class with the finished product, I was standing in my kitchen, butter knife in hand, spreading store bought butter cream frosting on all twenty-four yellow cake cupcakes, and I was saying to myself how unprofessional the frosting looked and how I really should invest in tips so that next time I could just squeeze the frosting into a cool design.
I also wondered how my frosting spreading compared to cupcakes another parent might have brought to school for his class (mom bubble burst #3: my cupcakes won’t look pretty enough).
Isn’t that sad?
Regardless, I persisted because it was too late to change the plan and I had a son who was pretty excited about me showing up with cupcakes that were topped with raspberries.
While we were waiting for his teacher to pass them out, some of his classmates said they never tasted a raspberry before. I was a little shocked by that (mom ego boost #2: my cupcake decor would expand some of his classmates’ taste pallets).
Just as she was opening the cover from the pan, his teacher stated how I had been the first parent to bring homemade cupcakes and that all the other cupcakes that had been consumed before today were store bought. She then told the class that this meant that mine were more special because they had extra love (mom ego boost #3: my cupcakes were the first homemade ones).
No wonder stay-at-home moms feel pressured to bake. As young kids, we are exposed to hidden messages like more love comes from homemade stuff or that one parent loves their children more than another parent because one goes on field trips or watches all the child’s extracurricular activities while the other parent doesn’t.
Those are messages of judgment right there.
My cupcakes aren’t more perfect than the store’s.
Just like my love isn’t more perfect than the mom who choose to buy some from the store.
While it’s cute to say, and I’ve been guilty of telling my kids that the secret ingredient when I cook at home is love, love shouldn’t be a measure of more or less.
Love is love.
And, after today, I learned that anything homemade is going to be received with open arms, no matter how professional I think it looks.
Because God knows I’m not a professional parent. I’m just doing the best I can with the tools I’ve got.
And that just so happens to include cupcake pans and a mixer.