Once Upon A Cupcake

Ah, the pursuit of people-pleasing. Is it just me, or is this a mama's slippery slope? Lately, I've gotten a little obsessed with making cupcakes in an unhealthy, trying-to-prove-myself kinda way. I find the desire to try to be Martha Stewart rears its ugly head every year right around Christmas, when I start making homemade soap (2001) or kahlua (2004) or body scrubs (2003) or truffles (2008) in an attempt to show everyone how crafty and creative and granola I am. Which usually ends up with me feeling tired and frazzled and not even enjoying the process.

For my son's 3rd birthday, I decided to make homemade cupcakes instead of buying the storebought ones. And then my sister pointed out a cupcake blog to me by someone who actually has the time and energy to perfect this craft. And I decided that my first cupcake foray must be, has to be, an amazing creation that will look just as good. I go to five different stores, buy cupcakes stands, and start practicing. I fantacized about the gushing reverance these cupcakes would produce from both mom and child alike at the party. These cupcakes would PROVE what a GOOD and NOBLE mom I am!!!

Can you guess how this story ends? Like these insane moments usually end: with me baking and decorating into the wee hours, totally bombing my kitchen, spending gobs of money and wondering why I didn't just pick up the 20 pack at Costco for $10. Not to mention being too tired for words at the party, and my glib husband reminding me that he TOLD me to just buy the damn cupcakes.

It seems like I don't notice these perfectionistic tendencies until it's much too late, and I'm feeling drained and frazzled and (gasp) unappreciated. How about you? Are there any areas of your life as a mom where you find yourself trying to prove yourself only after you've gone a little crazy?



  1. Definitely birthday parties as well.

  2. Not yet, but my only is only 9 months old. I'm all for costco cupcakes though - mmm mmm good!

  3. I can't bring myself to buy a store bought cake or cupcakes. I do use a box mix though, so it's not from complete scratch. I love adding my personal touch to the party with the way I decorate the cake. But I do get neurotic planning games and crafts for parties. I just want it to be such a special day for my kids.

  4. ha! I was seriously planning on making cupcakes for my son's 1st birthday party...hmmmmm...maybe I should rethink that :)

  5. My issue is not so much cup cakes, as committing to make cup cakes, casseroles, jello jigglers or whatever is requested. Yes, I can't say no!!!! The thing is, other women (who also can't say no) don't understand when you try to change this detrimental pattern. I've said I couldn't commit to 2 separate events recently, and the women who asked me simply would not accept "no" for an answer. They only left me alone after I pulled the husband card (I'll have to discuss it with my husband). Sheesh, it is really hard to get out of the people pleasing circus!

  6. I remember those cupcakes and they were yummy! I also remember the soap, kahlua, body scrubs and truffles. I loved them all and they made me wish I was "crafty" like you.

    Isn't that funny...and so typical.

  7. I wonder if this urge to prove oneself "worthy" and "crafty" rears its ugly head for mothers in particular because we are trying to mark this beautiful occasion that is also a moment of such profound transformation in a woman's life. After all you gave birth to this little child. As birthdays progress, people conveniently forget about a mother laboring somewhere to push that human out. I must say it's refreshing to read about your cupcake confession. I feel like I get online and everyone is so incredibly crafty, cool, and are ready to boast about it at a moment's notice. Thank you.

  8. nodding my head. yes yes and yes.

    I did this with my garden this year. I did NOT spend money on dirt, seedlings, gloves for the kids etc. only to be frustrated with my weeds and harvest that works out to be $12 a pound.

    the rest of it, I'm up until 2am doing things that nobody but me cares about.

  9. You know when you are skiing and there are signs that say, "Know your limits and ski within them." I try to do that as a mom. I love doing the little things. Detail are my thing. I don't even attempt to do some mom kind of things.
    That is the lesson I want to teach my kids. Be great, or don't even try!

  10. For me, it's the birthday party invitations. I'm obsessed with creating one-of-a-kind birthday party invitations for my kids' parties. I spend way too much money and then get freaky when they want to help because they won't be able to do it perfectly >eyeroll<

    I made a resolution to never make the cake/cupcakes if I'm cooking for the party. Usually I buy the cupcakes and then have fun decorating them. That's the fun part anyways!


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