Down with domesticity!

I have complained about this before, but I am not super domestic. In my head I am this:

Makeup! Apron! Brushed hair! Spatula! Sass!

In reality I won this trophy last year:

Friday Night Pints Commitment Award of Excellence Winner, 2010

Every so often I get ambitious though and I am going to turn it all around. In my daydreams I plan parties and make magnificent cakes and everyone will be dressed in clean, ironed clothes every day.

This time I focused on the cakes. On a whim I signed up for a cake decorating course, convinced I was probably going to be asked to be the instructor. I was going to spend my nights practicing and making shit from scratch. It turned out to be  a mompetition over who could make the best pink icing. I hate pink, so I lost. I was the one squirreled away in the corner focusing on my piping technique, ladies. Anyone can achieve neon orange icing. Anyone.

I ended up making this.

Happy Campers! (

Cute right? Except I totally didn’t make it. I made this instead:

Avant garde camping cake. Rustic, even.

Yes, those are crumbs in the crappy, uneven icing. And the trees I made were heavily depredated by a unicorn.

Distinct branch breakage

Surveillance shot of unicorn fleeing the scene

I had to quit halfway through finishing the cake and skipped the class because we are going camping and I needed to pack and we have house guests and I was really tired and SO MANY EXCUSES. I really could go on forever, but the truth is that I didn’t want to hear the instructor congratulate all the other novice decorators for their gorgeous flowery cupcake designs and charming colour schemes while I was busy trying to make realistic rocks out of grey buttercream. It was so hot in there, you guys, I wanted to stab everything with my piping bag.

Anyway, I had a revelation as my boys devoured the cake. Maybe I am just trying to justify my laziness, but I really don’t think they care if I am a domestic genius. And I can raise them not to care. And their future wives will thank me for lowering their expectations. And I can train them to do domestic stuff for me, which their future wives will also thank me for. I just figured out how to be the best mother in law ever. Best mom went out the window some time ago.

I had a similar thought when my husband turned down boxes of nostalgia that his parents were throwing away. It never occurred to me that I could do the same. When my mother cleaned out her basement and dropped off every single piece of paper that I ever wrote on until the age of 18, I put it all in my basement in case I ever needed to remember how angsty I was when I was 13 (Hint: pretty angsty). It takes up space in my life. And every three years I have an argument with my husband about it. I don’t have to do this to my kids! I don’t have to scrapbook. I don’t have to finish those baby books. I probably will fill them out with the wrong information and crusty advice for them so they’ll have something to remember me by after they shove me in the cheapest nursing home. But I don’t have to; they won’t be upset if I don’t! I’ll show them my boxes full of depressive mournful teenage meanderings and they will thank me for not forcing the same on them. Then we’ll have a bonfire with all those heaps of paper and toast my parenting skills. Bring your marshmallows.

So fuck it. I was totally right to stay home and have dinner with my boys tonight instead of cake class. Beets are better for you than cake and sanctimonious crafters anyway.

You know, maybe I do need a hobby.


  1. Love this post – and think you are pretty cool too. Yes, fuck the sanctimonious crafters!

    I am a domestic failure. I don’t have children to let down, but there is a Husband who has never been cooked for. Oh, there was that one time… Seriously, I should be sacked. But hey I’m so fabulous in many other ways – well, that’s what I tell myself!


    1. For all of my domestic failings, I can cook and do; otherwise we’d have to fashion furniture from all the pizza boxes. But, I am not fabulous in any other ways… I totally decided to stay at home with the kids having June Cleaver in mind and ended up all crabby and bitter in sweatpants. Where did I go wrong?

  2. Wait…are we suppose to make baby books because then I screwed up. I think your cake is fantastic and the fact you made a cake is stupendous.

    I find if my child leaves the house with most of the appropriate clothing, I have succeeded. I have made peace with myself that he will never have a hand-sewn Halloween costume and his school projects will look like he made them with no help because I have no talent.

    1. It is a bit like that isn’t it? Something special just for you but even when you plan it out, it never quite syplas itself the same way on paper. That’s the surprise.

  3. Roller Giraffe,
    Wow! You’re on a posting frenzy…. Was that also part of your “down with domesticity” fervour?
    As for your cake… I’d send a picture to Lars Von Trier. He’ll use it in one of his very uplifting movies, I can assure you.
    Le Clown

    1. It is, I send the little urchins out to beg for scraps while I think of stupid things to write on the internet. So far they’ve lost 9 lbs but they’ll figure it out soon enough.

      1. RG,
        I believe in showing kids right off the bat how to be self-conscious about their physical appearance: binge eating, then purging…
        Le Clown

      1. On October 3, thirty high shcool students from Mount Si’s Key Club visited the homes of two elderly folks in North Bend. Armed with gloves, garden tools, and determination ..they set out to offer assistance to these homeowners where the labor had simply become too big an obstacle. The students split and stacked firewood, trimmed overgrown bushes and hedges, brought garden beds back to objects of beauty, raked leaves, and filled an enormous trailer with discarded and rotting lumber that was taken to the dump. The best part of this endeavor was the smiles and hugs given by the homeowners to these high shcool Key Clubbers. That so many showed up at their homes to Pay it Forward was overwhelming and one of the most heart-warming experiences I have seen. Way to go Mount Si Key Club!

  4. People who spend lots of time perfecting their cake decorating and whatnot need to get a life. Because the results of cake decorating efforts otherwise are so much better and funnier. The Pac Man cake is perfect. I’m pretty sure my husband would love that.

  5. Kids like cake. They don’t care what it looks like. As a kid I just liked to be fed! Some of the best food my mom made was the ugliest stuff, poor man’s stroganoff tastes way better than steamed spinach!

    1. That is true. My kids’ favourite meal is this taco concoction I make that looks like dog vomit, for real. My husband loves it too and they eat it faster than the speed of light can carry the vision to their eyes, so why bother with presentation?

  6. What? There’s something more nutritious than sanctimony? I need to tell our PTA! Where’s that phone tree list? OH MY GOD I LOST THE PHONE TREE! I’m going to get SUCH a smackdown when I have to email Jennifer S. to send me a new copy! Or is it Jennifer H. that I need to ask? Maybe I’ll try Jennifer T, it’s after 5 so she’s definitely drunk by now. Yeah, that’ll work.

      1. I only got on because Jennifer D. had to quit when she had her fourth baby. They said that since I clearly don’t spend time on my appearance, I must have time to be on the PTA.

  7. I am not a domestic goddess. I hate cooking. I loved this post because you made me feel normal. Thank you.. somedays I can feel like the biggest materal failure but then I look at how great my girls are — and realize just as you do– they just need us to love them and accept them, and to have very happy home. Your words symbolize this.. thanks for writing

    1. It’s kind of unfortunate that there is a cultural association between being a good mother with domesticity isn’t it? There’s way too many ways to feel like a failure as a mother, but the truth for most of us is that we’re damn good at it.

  8. Making things cute is overrated. It doesn’t make the cake taste better. And you realized this before the other moms. So, you know, you win.

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