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Fess Up Friday: I Confess, I’m A Fake-N-Bake Mom

I have a confession to make and I don’t even feel guilty about it anymore.

I am a fake and baker.

That’s right, I buy cakes, cupcakes and other tasty confections and then pass it off as my own homemade creation with all the right touches.

I sometimes pop the store bought cookies into the microwave for a softer touch. Once they are soft, I can make them look less, well, perfect and more freeform.

I sometimes order plain cupcakes, add the frosting myself and then take credit for the whole cupcake. Doesn’t frosting count???

And I always put “my” creations on a doily, aluminum foil, my own Pyrex or anything else that screams—I made this myself! Oh, and carrying your items with your oven mitts, is always a nice touch.

And in the old days, I wasn’t above dusting a little flour on my jeans or in my hair for that, “Phew, I just finished baking this” effect.

It’s not my fault. I first learned of this life saving tactic (long before my kids were school age) from the opening scene of Allison Pearson’s 2002 hilarious, chick-lit novel, I Don’t Know How She Does It. I love that book.

But I really blame those super competitive stay-at-home uber moms. You see, my life as a fake and baker began when I was a senior editor at Essence. And I wasn't just a working mom—I was a working mom with an hour and a half commute each way, frequent business travel, late nights and the kind of job that comes home with you every night. Trying to keep up the appearance of the working mom with Donna Reed-like instincts, at my daughter’s ritzy private school was more than I could handle.

When I volunteered to bake cupcakes for a school event, I had every initial and earnest intention of actually baking said cupcakes. But somehow, my work schedule, two children and ensuing inability to keep my eyes open for a minute longer after I got home, inevitably got in the way.

Oh, and I totally and completely blame the media for all of those unrealistic images of maternal perfection. Why do they do that? 

In retrospect, I see where I went wrong. I should have never buckled to the peer pressure and agreed to actually “bake” the cupcakes. But who had time to develop that kind of emotional maturity with my schedule? I mean, I could have agreed to “bring” the cupcakes, which we all know is code language for a Costco run.

I remember once offering at a PTA meeting to pick up a cake for an upcoming event, and the laser-like glares I got from the other moms were as if I suggested we sacrifice a small child. Another mom, who wore a pleated skirt and heels every day, offered to bake a cake before the words “pick up” finished leaving my mouth.

Sheesh.

So, I succumbed to the peer pressure of all the other moms talking about their signature dishes, their secret ingredients and techniques, their baking triumphs and the time it took to pull it all off.

I knew I could never really compete. But back then I was too ashamed to say that I didn’t have that kind of time to give to cupcakes, cookies, brownies or even my husband for that matter.

That was then. My children don’t attend that school anymore. It just wasn’t a good fit for any of us. Since my initial foray in the world of fake and baking, I left that hectic job to freelance and start my own business, and guess what? I still don’t have time to give that level of detailed attention to cookies and cupcakes.And I'm not sure if I want to.

But now I do have the gusto and pride to speak up at the PTA meeting and say, “Look here ladies, I don’t have time for that. But I will drop by Costco and pick up whatever they have.” And that’s just fine.

Every now and then, just for a laugh (and the ego rush) I still pull off a spectacular (and guilt-free) fake and bake maneuver. What can I say, I love the accolades.

And let's face it, sometimes a healthy self acceptance is really overrated.

Have you ever "faked" it due to pressure from other moms? How do you deal with unrealistic mom expectations from friends, family and other moms?

(And check out some of the comments to this post over at Momformation.)

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