[This is a departure from my typical tutorial, but as I was writing this for my own personal blog I thought my fellow online bakers might benefit from it too.]
Maybe you’re a perfectly balanced person that can multitask a long to-do list while simultaneously being a strong candidate for a parent-of-the-year award. Simply put, I am not. I know this about myself. And I’ve noticed that other decorative bakers and hobby enthusiasts are in the same boat. My tunnel vision means that while I get obsessed with perfecting a hobby, my children learn to hate it.
While settling into a life that included baking/decorating wedding cakes, I realized that it was overtaking much of my time and I was frequently shouting “don’t touch that!” At home, where I would experiment with recipes or bake for friends, the kitchen turned into a place that was off limits; understandably so, since edible things have a way of being eaten by little mouths (even delicate gumpaste wedding cake toppers the morning of a wedding… true story). It was something that kept nagging at me. I could just hear my future grown up children in the psychologist’s office blaming all their problems on cake, or writing an autobiography titled “How Fondant Ruined My Life.” Hobbies can be more time consuming than we realize!
I had to find a balance… and it took time. Obviously, as parents we need our alone time and hobbies can provide that outlet. Nobody expects you to include your child every time you engage in the process. I’m not about to invite my kids to help me make their Uncle’s wedding cake. But you might be surprised by how little it takes to prevent your children from feeling like they play second fiddle to your hobbies.
Occasionally, I bring my kids into the kitchen with all the tools they usually see laying around for cake decorating and provide a blank fondant canvas for them to have at it! We play in the kitchen together. I let them call the shots. So what if the frosting flowers look like your cake has the measles. It’s a time where you can ditch the “Don’t touch that” and say “Look what this does!”
I notice that when I implement this practice, my children are much more forgiving of the times when I do need them to steer clear of the kitchen. Not only that, but they grow up looking for things that they can pursue that bring them joy. I occasionally hear my oldest pretending to do tutorials while making paper airplanes, and it makes me smile. Hobbies are a good thing for anyone, at any age. The act of creating something is a powerful thing. And its exciting to watch these little creations of your own begin creating things themselves. Finding a balance will keep them from having a bad taste in their mouth when it comes to hobbies.
So, every now and then, let the cupcakes be lopsided. Let the piped lines be crooked. When a child knows that you are willing to hand over the reins, they won’t feel second best to your hobbies.