I would consider myself to be a rather creative person. I have bold ideas, and storytelling is central to who I am. I guess the best way to describe me is that I THINK creatively. I bring my out-of-the-box, put a square peg in a round hole kind of thinking to everything I do in life, from my job to raising my kids. I’m the first to admit that I can’t do it all. But what I can do, well, I have some fun.
This past weekend we celebrated my daughter’s birthday. So, let me begin here by saying that in much of my life I’m not a big planner. I do love to plan family trips, and I have a solid grocery list going each week, but when it comes to family social activities I would give myself a failing grade. However, bring on one of my children’s birthdays, and I show up!
With the global pandemic my birthday parties had to go on hiatus, much to my daughter’s disappointment. But this year, the parties were back. And the planning began. Luckily for me, my husband David seems to wake up as well when our kids’ birthdays come along. He booked the bouncy castle for our backyard and I covered the invites, food and activities. Nothing too crazy. For me, it’s all about my child and her friends. And ya, some fun for me too!
At the centre of every one of my children’s birthdays, since my son turned one years ago, is the homemade birthday cake. Or what I like to call the Cakes by Mommy. I think about what is of interest to my child at that particular moment, and then I bake and decorate a cake on the theme. Some important notes on my Cakes by Mommy:
- They are 100% made from scratch in my kitchen.
- I decorate them all by myself, and no, my cakes don’t look like a professional ever laid eyes on them.
- Some people may wonder if the child possibly decorated the cake.
- My Cakes by Mommy taste great!
- My Cakes by Mommy look like they were made with love.
I’m posting photos of various cakes that I have made throughout this post. Each one is unique, and in each case I had a wonderful time baking and decorating. I will add that I also had a meltdown at some point in the process, because my buttercream icing melted or my layers fell apart or that the cake didn’t look at all like it did in my head hours before.
What I’m trying to say is that this past weekend, as I cleaned up my backyard, washed many dishes and went to bed exhausted, I realized how much I enjoyed putting together the birthday party, especially planning and making the cake. And for a moment I said to myself, did I miss an opportunity to start my own small business? Should I have changed my career years ago and opened my own business – Cakes by Mommy?
The thought quickly passed when I realized that what I love is making my OWN children’s parties and cakes, and that really, if I created a website that boasted party themes of “all you can bounce in a giant castle” or “tea party for 7-year-old girls” or “reptiles and furry things” that I would have a meltdown every week. I did have a second take on the cake idea though. Most people like to buy their child’s birthday cake. But imagine buying a cake from me and passing it off as your own? I mean really. My cakes really look homemade. You buy the $60 cake from me and tell all your family and friends that you slogged away in the kitchen all night and produced THIS. No one would ever know.
Joking aside, as I moved on from my Cakes by Mommy reverie, I started to think more deeply about the “what if.” I think we all experience it sometimes. No matter how much we like our job, or our career in general, our employer or the people we work with, everyone asks that question, should I be doing something else? Have I followed down the right career path? Is it too late to pivot now?
I think it’s healthy to think about this and explore opportunities, even if they’re crazy like hosting some stranger’s child’s birthday party as a business model. I don’t actually want to start a business doing parties or baking cakes, but I admit I sometimes ask myself if I should have ever left sports media, or is the corporate world the place for me? Is my job taking over my life, or is it, maybe, a great choice that I made and it’s what I should be doing with my life?
It’s kind of crazy that making a Barbie doll ballroom dress birthday cake made me think about the idea of Cakes by Mommy again. The idea for this business was gone as fast as it came into my head, but for sure it left a lasting impression with me. It opened my eyes to what I’m capable of. Even if I’m not the best at something, even if it’s a bit far-fetched to imagine starting my own small business, I do know I can probably do anything. No matter what I do, and what I will continue to do every day at work, is be creative.
Oh, and if anyone does want a homemade Cakes by Mommy, let me know. I promise, it will stay just between us!