My Parents Were Good at Everything. Now I Am, Too.

Mar 1 2013


When I was 8 years old, I made my mom a cake for her birthday, and I did it all by myself. I told her to stay out of the kitchen and not come in ’til it was done. STAY OUT, MOM. It was a surprise.

I worked on that cake for hours. Days. Or maybe 30 minutes. Time is wonky when you’re a kid. But it was a LONG TIME. And that was just the mixing. I sat there in the kitchen of our tiny ranch house with my mom 10 feet away — I SAID STAY OUT, MOM — and I meticulously sourced every ingredient.  One box of cake mix. One cup of water. Three eggs. And three cups of oil. One by one, I measured and dumped everything together.

Except the recipe didn’t call for 3 cups of oil, I realized after mixing. I was in 3rd grade, I was bad at fractions, and 3 looks an awful lot like 1/3, doesn’t it?

When I was 8 years old, I made my mom a cake for her birthday, and I did it all by myself. With her help. And a lot of crying. And some crying that looked like raging. And a bunch of extra flour and eggs and baking soda and stuff my mom dumped in the bowl. And the surprise was RUINED. And my life was RUINED. And the cake kind of sucked, too.

My mom loved that cake. And she hugged me and kissed me like it was awesome. Or like I was. Which made no sense to me because I knew better. And makes all the sense to me now because I’m a mom who’s eaten the worst best cakes in the world.

My parents were good at everything when I was growing up.

They were good at fixing cakes.

And fixing feelings.

And erecting tents.

And I wondered if I’d ever measure up.

Then I became a teenager, and I wondered even more.

Because my parents were good. Really good. At driving me insane.

I mean, my parents were just uniquely gifted at making me crazy, folks. So gifted, in fact, that I was positive, no matter what I did as a parent, I would never drive my kids as nuts as my parents drove me.

I imagined my poor kids sitting around the house in their teenage years, bored with nothing to complain about and no one at whom to direct their angst. They would be isolated. Mocked by their peers. All alone in their blissful experience of having such a wonderful mommy.

But I underestimated all my parents taught me.

“Don’t worry,” they said when we brought home our oldest.

“Some of parenting will come naturally,” they said. “The rest, you’ll learn.”

“And when the time comes for you to deliver, you’ll rise to the occasion,” they said.

And they were right.

My parents were good at everything. Now I am, too.

Bring on the cake.


P.S. Are you good at everything, too, Momrades? HOW good?

FYI, the proper format for answering this question is, “I’m so good that ____________.”

For example, I’m so good at driving my teenager insane that I requested he take a shower last night. Or, I’m so good at making my teenager nuts that I asked him to empty the dishwasher. Now, don’t worry if your answers aren’t as terrible as mine. I worked long and hard to come up with stuff that’s super, extra irritating. If you’re new at this game, it’s OK, friends. Baby steps. You’ll get there. 😉


P.P.S. My teenager approved this message.


“Birthday Cake” image credit digitalart at