Quite a few years ago, my mother-in-law gave me a great little vintage book full of fancy homemade cake inspiration. It is one of Pinterest’s early ancestors.
The book, from what I gather, was an elaborate advertisement from General Foods Corporation, in the guise of a fancy cake cookbook.
The copyright on this book is 1973. So it was brought into the world six years before I was.
I was flipping through this book today, just for fun. Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and I thought I’d see what sort of turkey-shaped cakes might be in there.
I’m laughing at how primitive some of these cakes look. I catch myself thinking, “The pictures in this book are like the Pinterest cake fails that you see on Buzzfeed.”
This is when I realize that I’m being a snot.
And this explains why my mother’s generation was probably a lot more relaxed than mine is.
This book shows a much different standard than what we see today.
Once upon a time, in the 70s and 80s, when we had birthday parties, our cakes were baked with love in a square pan, a rectangular pan, or a circular pan. If you wanted a fancy cake, you had to do some fancy cutting. (Or hire Margie Chaisson to bake the cake for you. At least in Rollo Bay.)
I remember Mom making heart-shaped cakes on Valentine’s day using two circular cakes (one cut in half!) and a square one. I know we had the odd bunny at Easter, and I think there may have been a kitty cat or a teddy bear at some point. Oh! And when my uncle was going off to school, he got a good luck horseshoe shaped cake. (Mom actually might have had this same book.)
Anyway, I don’t feel like I had a lesser childhood because I didn’t have fondant-draped confections made to look like my favourite TV character on my birthdays. I just remember that I got a special cake. It wouldn’t have mattered to me what it looked like.
Am I the only one who feels like parents are putting way too much pressure on themselves in this age of social media?
Yesterday was the first day back to school, and there were hundreds of photos of sweet little children in their new outfits on my Facebook/Twitter/Instagram feeds. Some had posters stating their grade, and some even had elaborate chalkboard signs stating the child’s name, grade level, future ambitions, etc. I loved seeing these photos, even though I chose not to post a back to school photo of my own kids on Facebook.
But last night, I started seeing posts from other Facebook friends, saying they are horrible mothers because they didn’t take an obligatory first day back to school photo and post it on social media.
Ok. Stop the bus. (Pun intended.) This is nuts. I’m not a bad Mom because I didn’t Facebook a photo of my kids.
We need to step way way WAY back from our “smart”phones for a minute and have a little reality check.
We are all okay.
Whether you’re able to orchestrate a chalkboard back to school photoshoot (hats off to you guys, by the way), or not. Whether you can pull off the perfect Hungry Caterpillar inspired birthday party, or not.
Please quit judging yourself based on what you see on your Facebook feed because that’s just silly.
I love social media. Don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing if it weren’t for social media. But, I do think we all need to take a step back and remember that just because it’s become trendy to take monthly photo shots of one’s baby with outfits colour coordinated with the giant number of the child’s age in the corner of the photograph, that doesn’t make us bad moms because we didn’t/don’t do the same.
It’s easy to see how these sorts of social pressures can affect our kids, because it’s affecting us. And we’re all grown up. (Supposedly. The jury’s still out.)
Anyway, I can’t wait until Thanksgiving to make this ridiculous perky turkey cake with my girls. It will be about the memory of creating and sharing a funny looking cake together. It doesn’t have to be Pinterest perfect. And I probably won’t even share it on Facebook. It will be just for us. There’s no rule saying we have to publicly share every single thing we do. But in case you’re curious, this is what it’s going to look like.
For comparison, here is a turkey cake I found on Pinterest…
Now, I know that back when my mom was my age, women were comparing themselves against other women too. I am not naive. But the difference was, it was only a comparison against the people who they physically came in contact with. Or professionally laid out shoots in magazines.
Now we see inside the real lives (staged or not) of hundreds of people we barely know, on a daily basis. It’s a lot to take in. And it’s easy to feel lesser than.
How about you? Do you feel pressure to compete with what you see in social media?
Great post that brings back some memories. I’m a few years older so the cake cookbooks I remember pre-date 1973 but I do remember it being a treat to pull out a book like this to choose my special birthday cake. If it had tinted coconut, regardless of the end shape, it was a winner. My personal favorite was the coconut covered rabbit face.
I agree that too many put pressure on themselves to have the perfect occasions so they can share the photos on social media. I detest when I see someone pull their phone out to check messages in the middle of a conversation or while in a restaurant. It’s evolved into a status symbol. It’s sad. Memories are sacrificed for the photo ops and Like accolades hoped to be gained.
While I do see it around parenting and being a wife, I also see it around operating an online business. Running a brick and mortar business is so much easier in comparison. While one may have an ear open for what the competition is doing it is less in your face. I chuckle to myself at the proclamations of being real and authentic and a glance at any of their social media feeds contains only staged photo shoots and pristine plates of perfectly arranged food. My dinner plates are well received with seconds being requested and I can’t think of one time I’ve ever shared a meal photo…unless it was family around the Thanksgiving table. Those types of photos are in the photo album.