I remember my contractions kicking up for the first time nearly 6 months ago… My mind was racing.. But not with your average baby birthing contemplations. Nooo….Internally I was going “Wait baby! Stay in there, I have one last video to edit for my new website launch! You’re meant to come on Monday!!”
Little did I know, that in about 24 hours, my life and everything I did as an entrepreneur & cake decorator would be completely flipped on its head. (SIDE NOTE: baby did decide to stay in for another 24 hours and I DID manage to finish that video edit…WAHOO* but that’s a story for another day).
Running a cake decorating gig requires the wearing of many, many hats. Baker, maker, sculptor, administrator, manager, entrepreneur, cleaner… you name it, it’s in the job description. Throw in mommahood and you’ve got yourself a circus of a job that never lets up.
Being a new mom, I got hit in the face (metaphorically and in some cases, literally) with the sleep deprivation, chores, poop, crying, exhaustion and everything else that it came along with it. And with that, I’ve had to rethink how I operated as a cake entrepreneur to keep the wheels of both my business & family life turning steadily.
Oh man, yes I can now empathise that the struggle is REAL. And I know it’s a daily battle for sooo many of you mummas out there with 2,3,4 and however many little people in their tribe, to pursue their passion of a cake career. So I’ve picked the brains of some incredible caker moms and invited them to share how they not only survive, but thrive in both caking and motherhood. If you’re feeling like you’re drowning under the weight of ganache, laundry, buttercream & emails, then I hope the following tips & words of encouragement from these contributors help put the buzz back into your biz and bring the harmony back to your hive. Cause you SHOULD the queen of the castle!
“Things I wish I knew before, learn the art of saying no without damaging your business or your family. Balance is key, and remember to take some time for yourself else the entire delicate frame of home life will collapse. Be organised. Have a board or a fabulous diary. Outsource what you can. Network as much as possible. Run your own race, don’t worry about what other people are doing! It’s nice to know but they don’t live your life so don’t compare it.”
Monica Cavallaro, Moreish Cakes
“If you are time poor, do things that matter first, things that will bring you business. For example, prioritise sharing your weekly photos on your social media over sharing them in a cake group. Before spending time on Facebook, scrolling, posting and commenting,
ask yourself : Will my business benefit from it?”
“There’s no such thing as perfect balance. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. My favourite part (of being a caker mom) is that I can say yes to lunch or coffee when the kids are at school because I can catch up at night or the following day. This can sometimes work against me too though!!”
Lena Mck, Savvy Cakes
“Working from home can be difficult for kids to understand. ‘Mum’s here but can’t play with me right now’.
So I keep my fondant leftovers in different colours so when I have to sit down to do modelling work I can set the kids up with their own fondant to work on.
It turns ‘mum has to work’ time into fun time.”
Nerissa Galloway, Dotty’s Kitchen
“Don’t book cakes in school holiday with three young kids at home! I say this every term but i never listen to my own advice ”
Alexis Schnitger, Eat Sweet Handmade Cakes
“Be kind to yourself. Being a single mum, running my own business and kids and household can sometimes be so very overwhelming. If something (say clean laundry for me ) can’t be dealt with right away, it’s ok.”
Pearl Toh, Pearl’s Creations
“I have given up on the concept of balance, the scales are never and can never be equal with everything that needs to be done. I accept now that I tilt to what needs the attention at that moment, it allows me to get things done and not feel guilty about the other side of the scales. It has also helped me acknowledge my weaknesses (mostly not being able to say no!) and keep my focus on why I do what I do, my daughter and my family. The scales don’t balance but they swing and that’s a work/life balance in itself”.
Zoe Byres, Sugar Art by Zoe Byres
“I am a mum with 3 little kids, a husband, working part time for another cake company plus running my own cake business at home. My best advice is:
– Schedule/plan your time not just for work but also for your family (for me Sunday is only locked in for my family time) and most of all “my free time” giving yourself a break. It’s so important
– Learn how to say “no” it’s hard but once u can say it, life will be easier. (I have done that now, yay)
– At the moment of stress, just walk away and take a break. It really helps.
– My last advice is your health is the most important then anything else in this world. Don’t end up putting yourself into depression. Your family needs you”.
Nnhiti Chang, NC Sweet Zone
If there’s anything I’ve learnt from the past six months, it’s that supermoms still have limits. It’s IMPERATIVE to know how far you can push yourself without burning yourself to a cookie crisp. So ladies, give yourself permission to step back and get help whenever you can (babysitter, childcare, a freelance baker, email assistant, cake topper maker etc). Try and create pockets of time where you are FULLY present – this includes having a handful of hours throughout the week of uninterrupted work, and similarly, carving out a work-free day where your beautiful kidlets have your undivided attention.
As highlighted by so many above, balance looks a whole lot different for the caker mom. It’s so NOT about perfect order, but more about going with the ebb and flow of each day’s needs, flexing and stretching according to demand and somehow being able to confidently smash out those cakes whilst keeping your family’s love tank full.
Truth be told, some days we’ll come out tops whilst some days, will just be a big slippy puddle of melted frosting. Just know this, you are NOT ALONE; and when you give your heart to both throwing sprinkles into the world and spreading sweetness into your family, THAT at its very core, is what makes YOU an incredible and praiseworthy Caker Mom.