It was my 25th birthday, six days before my baby would be six months old, “Happy Birthday, mama!” texts and Facebook posts dinged on my phone throughout the day. So sweet…
Except I was struggling to keep my head above water. My maternity leave was over and I wasn’t going back to work. Doing the same thing day in and day out, being a food source in a body I never knew before, and realizing that I will never be the same person I was before having a baby… The reality that my entire identity had shifted to being a mom finally hit me, and hit me HARD.
Don’t get me wrong, being a mom is awesome! Watching my husband’s tiny clone take in this big world is the closest thing to magic in my small world! Being a mom is also overwhelming, exhausting, and some days verges on soul-sucking.
As I was taking a shower, the only time I got (err…get) to myself most days, I finally lost it. Bawling my eyes out, I felt lost and didn’t know if I could find my way back this time.
I was desperate to find something I could do for me, something that I enjoyed.
Trying to stay awake through another midnight feeding session, I scrolled through Instagram reels and went down the rabbit hole of cake decorating videos, I found a chose a cookbook on Amazon and ordered it right then.
This was IT! I can bake, I mean how hard can it be, right?
My First Cake
My first cake was not great. I scraped off the buttercream to start over SEVEN times, my rosettes were not uniform, my cake layers were not level… But it was not a full blown disaster!
It didn’t actually matter how it turned out. For the first time in six months I did something for myself, beyond taking a shower!
Cake #1 spent a month in the freezer because I was scared that it would taste awful. Scared to feel like a failure. When I FINALLY thawed it out and cut slices to share with my family, the cake was somehow still rich and moist. With each bite I felt more empowered, more like myself, and in a silly way I suddenly felt like there could be more to me than “just being a mom” again.
The Next Cakes
My second cake was an aesthetic catastrophe. I don’t even want to show you, but I will.
Oreo buttercream sounded delightful and it was, until I decided to try and add some chunks to it. Unfortunately, this jammed up my piping tips and made decorating miserable. But, hey, learning is a key part of the journey!
By the time I finished decorating, I had started over about a dozen times. The buttercream wasn’t holding its shape, and I had no clue what to do with the ganache (hence, weird drizzle on top). Luckily, the taste came through and kept cake #2 from being a total loser!
Anytime an occasion comes up to make a cake I am all over it. Easter? Got it covered! Camping? Obviously need a cake to take up for that! Birthday? All over it!
With each cake or batch of cupcakes I make, I have gained more confidence and try to get a little more creative.
I’m still FAR from great at making and decorating cakes; those clean, crisp edges are hard, man! But each cake I make has me more excited to keep learning. I still have days (though, thankfully, not quite as many!) that the weight of mom-life feels a little crushing, but finding a hobby that brings me joy without the guilt of taking time away from family has helped me a ton, and BONUS I get to share fun baked goods with my family!
I love my family, I love being a mom, and I love the life I am so blessed to be living. I also love finding ways to take a little time for myself so that I can be a better mom and wife!
Maybe baking won’t be YOUR hobby, but if you’re having a hard time staying afloat after baby stay strong mama! Reach out for help if you need it and try to find something that brings you happiness just for you!
My next goal is to make an *aesthetically pleasing* smash cake for my son’s upcoming first birthday…I’ll keep you posted on how that goes!