Tuesday, January 12, 2016


It was not my proudest moment.

The kids were helping me decorate cupcakes for a party. I had planned ahead and baked the cakes early in the day so they had time to cool and get frosted in plenty of time so we weren't rushed when it was time to leave the house.

You know what they say about the best laid plans.

I was running late. Of course. I had started my buttercream frosting mixing for the required 15 minutes and pulled out my decorator. Ugh, I forgot the lever is broken. I grabbed a tip and began filling a disposable pastry bag with the creamy frosting. The flimsy plastic bags aren't nearly as easy to fill as the metal tube, especially in a rush. I scooped out a glob of frosting and plopped it in. The sides of the bag stuck together. I pulled them apart and the process repeated. Ok, new tactic. I folded the top of the bag down and used my hand to scrape off the frosting through the plastic. Scoop, scrape, scoop, scrape. The bag was eventually full enough to begin. I squeezed swirls around the cupcake until the top was covered in orange. Or until I thought the top was covered anyway. My rushed technique would have made any professional cringe. Chocolate brown peeked through gaps. Cupcake #2 looked no better. I didn't even like the design. I unscrewed the end, removed the tip, and replaced it with a star tip. Better.

At this point, I was cranky. I was quickly losing time, the cupcakes looked sloppy, I hadn't even started getting myself ready . . . and there was constant talking from my little ones. Which one are you going to use? Can I decorate one? I'll put on the sprinkles! But Mom said I could do the sprinkles! Can I eat one now? I want to try! Hey, you're standing in my way! Look at me! Can I try now? It's my turn for the sprinkles. Mom, do you think we can eat one before we go? Mom. Mom? Mom? 

My tension was rising. I was frustrated with my less-than-perfect cakes and, in turn, became bothered by the dialogue between my kids. I know they like to help. I know they're always with me. But I just need 2 minutes of quiet! Please?

All the while, I was swirling sweet buttercream on each cake, becoming crankier with every finished treat. And all the while, my kids kept up their upbeat chatter while complimenting everything I did.  These are perfect! and You should go on Cupcake Wars! and You make the best cupcakes! They didn't see my imperfections. They were looking at my work through eyes of love. Even more amazing was the fact that they didn't see my bad attitude either. I felt guilty at hearing their praise, but was too rushed and too upset with myself to change my mood.

And then it happened.

I had given them the container I was taking the cupcakes in. As they were placing them inside, one cupcake fell upside down and landed on another, smearing the frosting on both into a messy glob.

She pushed me! No, he bumped into me! It was her fault! It was his fault! 

I yelled.

I was already out of time. I was already upset with the decorating. I was already cranky. And now I had to redo cupcakes? I snapped at them and sent them away.

My little ones walked out of the kitchen dejected. 

Did I really just lose my temper over a cupcake?


I finished placing the trivial desserts in the box with tears in my eyes. Oh, Lord, forgive me. Here I was more concerned with insignificant things than I was the hearts of my children. I crushed their spirits with my harsh words. That's something no mother wants to do, let alone admit it.

I walked into my daughter's room. She looked up at me wounded, like she was afraid I was going to yell again. I could see the pain in her eyes. I apologized. I explained that she did nothing wrong. I asked for her forgiveness. I gave her a hug.

I walked into my son's room and the situation repeated itself.

Both children were quick to forgive and the relationships were restored. They immediately began talking to me like it never happened. Their positive attitudes returned; their excitement was seen on their faces.

I try daily to do the best for my kids, to be the mother they need, to be the example they deserve. But I fail. Here are 3 ways in which I could have been prepared to handle this day better:

Proper Planning
I should have planned my day differently and ensured that the cupcakes were completed long before it was time to leave. I wouldn't have felt the pressure of the time restraint. I would have been less stressed and wouldn't have gotten upset about silly things.

Proper Priorities
Raising the children God has given me is my top priority. Yes, I made a commitment to bring a dessert to their party, but it was not a priority that they visually meet my expectations, at least not at the expense of my kids. Besides, the kids always tell me, "It doesn't matter how it looks. It only matters what it tastes like." Wise little ones, they are. 

Proper Perspective
I am a big advocate for allowing children to help in the kitchen. I believe there are many benefits of teaching them culinary skills. I have my littles helping me from the beginning--starting with a baby in the bouncer watching and listening to my explanations, to a toddler sitting on the counter dumping ingredients, to an older child preparing meals on his own. And I know what it's like to have multiple children helping, too. The noise, the chaos, the lack of space. Accidents happen. I use those moments for teaching experiences, but I forgot that that day. Truthfully, had I not been stressed, I probably would have thanked them for giving me the chance to redo the frosting to make it prettier. Perspective is so important.

No one is perfect. And even the most-prepared person is going to make mistakes. That's where forgiveness comes in. I want my children to understand the importance of it--both the asking and showing of it. I want them to admit their mistakes, to accept that they made poor choices, and act accordingly. Pity the person who never believes he needs to ask forgiveness of others. On the flip side, I also want them to be willing to show forgiveness to those who have wronged them, hurt them, and mistreated them. Refusing to forgive breeds bitterness within. May they always be willing to forgive and move on. 

I'm not sure if they remember this incidence, but even though it happened months ago, I recall it with clarity. I can hear the conversations. I can see the pain in their eyes. I remember my frustrations. I cringe at my attitude. But I also learned from my mistakes. I try to keep my planning, priorities, and perspective in place. And when I fail, I want my little ones to know that their mother is willing to admit she was wrong. This lesson on asking and showing forgiveness is worth learning, for all of us.

Pin It

No comments:

Post a Comment