It seemed natural, in our society, to look forward to a role as a mother and wife. I can remember playing house with my friends as a child and pretending to be the mother, nagging my make believe husband and child, acting as if the pretend kitchen was “such a mess.” I remember myself as a pre-teen, doodling ‘Jonathan Taylor Thomas” in my notebook and playing MASH with my girlfriends to determine my future as a wife and mother (career was never part of the game). Above all, I can remember watching Nick@Nite re-runs where woman were idealized in their roles as mother and wife. It is these role models who I reflect on today in my endeavor to be a good stay at home mom and wife.
I grew up with a tv family full of women who were homemakers. Jane Jetson (The Jetsons, 1962-1988), was truly futuristic, with all the latest gadgets aiding her in her ability to maintain a spotless home – not even an ink smudge. Samantha Stephens (Bewitched, 1964-1972), was a clever woman who chose to be a homemaker and oh, happened to have magical powers to make life easier (yes, please). Carol Brady (The Brady Bunch, 1969-1974), was always incredibly put together (with the help of her full-time housekeeper, Alice) and seemed at ease with raising six children along with her loving husband, Mike. Edith Bunker (All In The Family, 1971-1979), was a sweet homemaker who was often the voice of reason for her husband, Arrrchie. Norma Arnold (The Wonder Years, 1988-1993), was the always supportive and loving mom. Harriette Winslow (Family Matters, 1989-1998), was a no nonsense mom who somehow managed to put up with their ridiculous neighbor, Steve Urkel, without completely losing her shit. Jill Taylor (Home Improvement, 1991-1999), was a mom/ homemaker who was sometimes a mess, driven a little crazy by her husband’s hair-brained schemes, but someone who was real, who was endearing, and who was totally relatable.
Even as I write this I am surprised at the number of television moms and housewives that easily come to mind.
I honestly didn’t think I would find myself staying home full time with my child. These women were patient, loving mothers and devoted wives. They were women who presented themselves and their homes as well organized and put together. I, on the other hand, could be descried as a hot mess at times and tend to be a little more all over the place. I see myself as more of a Roseanne Connor (1988-1997) than a sweet, patient Amy Matthews (Boy Meets World, 1993-2000). Like Roseanne, I am blunt, to the point, I get things done, and I do the best I can (take it or leave it). My house is not always spotless because there are other things I would rather be doing than being at home cleaning each day. I do not take the time each morning to really put myself together because I would rather just start my day than spend time preparing for the day. I do not always cook elaborate meals because pizza/ pasta is cheaper, tastes just as good, and takes half the time. But every now and again there are moments where I find myself rocking the stay home mom gig so well that I make even Carol Foster Lambert (Step By Step, 1991-1998) look lazy.
My sweet little baby turned 1 this weekend and this was definitely one of those moments! I knew I could have let the day pass unnoticed because, as many pointed out, my son wouldn’t know the difference. I knew I could have also made life easier by choosing a theme that is currently popular, such as the new digital Mickey Mouse, which is annoyingly plastered all over every piece of clothing, store, and accessory like Santa Claus in December. These options just didn’t feel right to me. I felt like he deserved more, and you know what, I felt like I deserved more after a full year of mommying. I have to say, now that the party and the stress is behind me, my son’s first birthday was a total success, Winnie The Pooh theme and all.
The birthday festivities began with a cake smash photo session. I actually made three cakes in preparation for the day. The first cake, promoted on Pinterest as a “Babies First Birthday Cake” recipe, was a disaster. It tasted like whole wheat bread with melted whipped cream! This cake just missed the point. A first birthday cake should assault his tastebuds with the pure joy that is sugar, but hopefully not send him into a full sugar coma. I ultimately decided to make some alterations to a delicious strawberry cake, using half the butter and sugar, while preserving the heavenly cake experience. The results were delicious and there was no question that my son fully enjoyed his first cake experience.Photo courtesy of Journey Photography
My husband and I searched long and hard to find Winnie The Pooh decor for my son’s birthday. It’s interesting how right now Mickey Mouse, Sesame Street, and Frozen have been deemed popular and therefore every store is carrying the same exact party decor for these three themes. It makes it difficult to choose anything else, but I was determined to not let the retail industry dictate our party theme. Ultimately, we ended up finding random Winnie The Pooh items at an antique store, on Amazon, and at Hallmark. The items we could not find, we made ourselves.
I went back and fourth on what to do for a cake. Initially I wanted to purchase a beautiful Winnie The Pooh cake I saw posted and reposted all over Pinterest. Can you believe, I got a quote from several bakeries, and it would have cost somewhere around $200-318 for 25 people!? For a baby’s birthday cake! I guess some people pay that. Ultimately, I ended up making the baby a healthy blueberry banana bread cupcake with cream cheese frosting and purchasing a fancier cake from the local grocery store. I’ve always thought sheet cakes look and taste like spray paint and sugar, so I went with one of the round flowery cakes for $15, stuck a few sugar bees on, and voila!
I’m not sure the photos taken on my phone can truly convey the way this party came together, but it was certainly a winning mom moment for me – a beautiful homemade birthday party, me drinking Piglet punch while wearing a matching dress and makeup, and my little boy in all his glory. It even provided a temporary distraction from my sweet little baby turning a year old! We wont talk about the fact that when it comes to my boy, I can be a bit of a Beverly Goldberg (The Goldbergs, 2013-)!