The other night I skipped a workout to make cupcakes with my son (9). I’ve been trying to stay accountable with getting my daily tasks done– wake up early, workout, read for 30 minutes, clean something, etc. on top of working full time, chasing the baby, and helping him through his virtual school day. Not only was this a great idea, making cupcakes in the middle of the week before bed, but it gave us a chance to spend time together.
I got the mixer out, grabbed the Funfetti, and did a quick Pinterest search for how to make box cake taste homemade. I started to melt the butter and poured the cake mix in the bowl. I could feel the words about to come out of his mouth, “Can I do it?”
I smiled and agreed, but in my head I had that thought that most moms have when baking with kids. You know the one that’s like, “Lord, bless this inevitable mess.”
I took the melted butter out of the microwave and handed it over to him. “Pour in the center of the bowl.” Mind you, the mixer is lifted and the attachment isn’t on yet, it’s an open bowl at this point. Most of the butter got into the bowl, the rest dripped down the side.
Next the eggs, but because Pinterest said to add one more than the box recommends we went from three chances of getting shells in the batter to four. One by one I watched him tap the egg on the side of the metal bowl a few times until there were several cracks resulting in several tiny fragments waiting to jump into the batter. Each egg he pierced the crack with his thumb and a perfect yolk fell into the bowl. Wow, okay, this wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be but let’s continue.
Up next is milk. “Mom, I’ll do it!” He grabbed the half gallon from the refrigerator and I grabbed the measuring cup. He insisted on pouring the milk into the cup. I stood there thinking “This is it, this is the moment I throw every dish towel down and cry over spilled milk,” because I was honestly so tired and ready to just eat the cupcakes. All the while I mulled over my thoughts he had poured the milk into the cup and then from the cup into the mixer.
I lowered the mixer and turned it on. Pinterest said add vanilla extract. He grabbed it from the cabinet and picked up a tablespoon. An uneventful add to the mixture. We mixed, prepped the cupcake pan and got them in the oven. Minimal mess, no issues.
But then as we waited he turned up. It was like he held in a week’s worth of energy and it was coming out all at once. The kid was wired without sugar. My worriedness about a mess, changed to pride about how easy baking was this time with him, and then changed to lack of patience all so fast. I had to send him upstairs for his shower while the cupcakes baked to restore some calmness. When he came back down he was a brand new kid. Relaxed and ready for his cupcake and I was more relaxed and ready to finish sharing a fun moment with him.
After he went to bed I felt so much guilt. Guilt for losing my patience. Guilt for not doing things like this with him more often. Guilt for realizing that he’s growing up and can do basic kitchen things without the major mess. How can we be home everyday together and I not notice?
I let cupcakes become a catalyst to mom guilt.
Like many other moms I’m making the impossible possible. Day in and day out we’re working, running businesses, wiping faces, butts, and countertops, repeating grade school alongside our elementary aged kids, debating if we should keep those appointments for routine dental cleanings and check-ups at the risk of bringing home the virus, doing laundry even though we wear the same sweats over and over, running on 3 hours of sleep because either our own anxiety keeps us up or the resident mob boss, I mean toddler, suddenly hates sleep, and keeping everyone alive. But I didn’t notice how much he’s grown among all of this, that his voice has gotten deeper, that he grew taller, that he truly is more responsible.
I had to remind myself it’s normal to feel this way but to not be so hard on myself. I’m proud of the changes he has made. I’m also proud of being able to do what I can to contribute to my family and keep things going even if I lose my patience in the process.
If you’re reading this and can relate to being punched in the face by your guilt out of nowhere, I see you. Take that guilt, feel it for a moment but don’t dwell in it. You’re doing amazing, sweetie!