Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Confession #1: No, I Didn't Bake Those Cupcakes

If you have a preschooler or elementary student, you've probably been asked to bring in baked goods to your child's class.  For me, it happens every few weeks: for a birthday, the annual baked goods charity drive, the holiday party, Teacher Appreciation Week, and the list goes on and on.  Multiply that by the number of children you have, and that's a lot of chocolate chip cookies.     

One of my fellow associates at the law firm was a mom with three children, and I remember her confessing that she routinely passed off store-bought cupcakes as homemade for her daughters' classes.  She would even go so far as deliberately messing up the frosting so they appeared to have come from her own kitchen.  It was shamelessly dishonest, she admitted, but she couldn't face her youngest daughter asking why someone else's mom had time to make chocolate eclairs from scratch when she couldn't manage a tray of cupcakes.   

Looking back, I have no idea why she felt she needed to keep up this ruse.  Here she was, running on the proverbial hamster wheel with us twentysomethings to make her billable hour requirement and raising three young women at the same time.  Shouldn't that have been enough?

But one thing all moms can understand is this: we always think we're not doing enough for our kids. 

It doesn't matter if you work in an office or stay at home.  I've done both, and the nagging feeling that I could be doing more for my boys has always been an inseparable part of motherhood for me, regardless of where I spend my day.

These days, I feel like I should have no excuse not to bake cookies that didn't come ready-made dough.  Isn't that what women who stay at home are supposed to be good at?  Never mind that I spent several years working late at a law firm and the only thing I ever made was reservations.  Now that I can no longer justify my lack of domestic skills in the kitchen as a tradeoff for climbing the corporate ladder, shouldn't I be doing so much more than putting refrigerated, pre-cut cookie dough in the oven?   

But somehow there never seem to be enough hours in a day, and I confess I've delivered many store-bought cupcakes to school this year.  As the adage goes, confession is good for the soul; and I might as well own up to the fact that I'm not the mom who mixes, bakes and frosts while her children are napping.  For now, I'll be content to admire women who arrive to parties with beautiful homemade pies or fondant-covered pastries; but when you see the tray of slightly burned brownies made from a ready-made mix, you can bet they're from me.

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