Help With Maternity Leave - When To Go Back, Should I Take This Cake?

Business By sleepy20520 Updated 20 Feb 2013 , 2:22pm by jgifford

sleepy20520 Posted 19 Feb 2013 , 5:22am
post #1 of 15

So i own a cake business (full time) that i run from home.  We actually remodeled our finished basement to a commercial kitchen with its own doors, etc.  Anyways, ive been doing this for a couple years now and i am not expecting my first child.  Being my first I dont know anything about realistically how you will feel close to your due date and after.


So i have a pretty detailed treasure chest 3D wedding cake due Aug 3 


My due date is Aug 15


I have another small wedding cake (3 tier) due on Sept 7 


Now hypathetically in a perfect world, if i had the baby the week its due i could probably make both cakes but we all know thats never the case.


Should I cancel both cakes or what?

Besides the Sept 7 cake i have no other cakes until 6 weeks after my due date....  my only concern is we live in a small town and the only other cake decorator around here is also all booked up.. so i feel awful about letting them down, but life happens.


Any advice?

14 replies
Annabakescakes Posted 19 Feb 2013 , 8:27am
post #2 of 15

Congratulations! I have some pretty extreme birth stories, and most of what I went through will never happen to any 12 given women, but I hit the horrible pregnancy and childbirth jackpot! Just to give you some food for thought:


After being in and out of the hospital, from 20 weeks to 28 weeks, for dehydration caused from nausea and vomiting, then an early labor from a kidney infection, I had my twins at 31 weeks pregnant, after 8 days of bed rest, and had to be hospitalized another 4 days to recover, myself. Post Partum depression, with babies in the hospital for 6 weeks. I barely showered, let alone felt like making a cake!


I scheduled my daughter (repeat C-section) 2 weeks before the date she was due, but  was in labor and dilated 8 centimeters (but they wouldn't let me have a VBAC) when I went in for it! Her father left me a week later, and I wound up having to care for her and my 3 year old twins by myself, and didn't stop bleeding for 5 months, because I had to go back to work after he left, so I was weak as heck.


With my last son, I felt fine at 5 am then got sick as a dog, crying, and calling my DH at work to take me to the hospital, and my mom to take the kids to school, sick, by 7 am, at 36 weeks pregnant. (I hate being any trouble, and ate to ask my mom for anything because then I will owe her) I had an emergency C-section 2 hours later, and spent 6 days in the hospital after I refused the blood transfusion. And my son needed 5 days, to start eating and get rid of the jaundice. I had him Tuesday, and I had a tasting scheduled that weekend, that I had to cancel. And I wasn't to lift anything heavier than 5 pounds, which included my child, for 2 weeks.


We are all fine and healthy and happy now, but it was TOUGH! then, and there are never any guarantees. Babies come at their own time, sometimes early, sometimes late. Sometime naturally, and sometimes via C-section. Some ladies feel great and strap their infant to their breast and keep on gardening, or whatever, and sometimes they are flat on their back for 6 days. I wouldn't take any chances at all. an if (GOD FORBID) I got pregnant again, I would not schedule a cake for 4 months before, and 2 months after. But I know my body, and most women wouldn't have to do that.

cazza1 Posted 19 Feb 2013 , 8:51am
post #3 of 15

I think you are being extremely optimistic about both cakes.  As mentioned babies have a way of deciding their own schedule and quite often not as planned.  Also given that this is your first baby you have no idea of how tired you are going to be, both before and after the birth.  Even if your baby is an angel and everything else goes perfectly there is still going to be middle of the night feeds and a period of adjustment.  And believe me having a baby means big adjustments, not to mention that your hormones may be all over the place for both cakes.  Good luck.  Treasure you babies early years as they change so quickly.

VanillaSky Posted 19 Feb 2013 , 11:08am
post #4 of 15

If I were either bride, I'd want to know now that there is a strong possibility that you will be out of commission when it's time to make my cake. It's mid-February so I'd have some time to find a replacement or stick with you (assuming you don't want to cancel).  IMO, sticking with you should be the bride's informed choice and not the baker's unilateral choice.  


Otherwise, what is your back-up plan if you keep the orders and have your baby 2 weeks early or 2 weeks later?  Who can finish an order for you if you can not?  If the other baker in town is booked, as a bride, I'd rather know this six months before my wedding then two weeks before my wedding. 


I know you agreed to make the cakes, and you probably feel like you are reneging, but you are not.   Circumstances have changed, so don't feel bad.  

hieperdepiep Posted 19 Feb 2013 , 11:36am
post #5 of 15

I only had happy births and happy babies, but no way their was one moment in the first month after their birth I longed to make a cake. I was tired because of broken nigths, hormones and these little ones have their ways to keep you very busy!

The first month I was glad I actually made it to the supermarket and could prepare some simple dinner for my family.

The next three months I still felt blessed I could take a big maturnaty leave.


You know; you can make a cake every other day the next coming year, but you will never get that moment back when your small baby smiles at you or just wants to be with you.  

I have never met a parent when looking back on his/her live that tells you he/ she wanted to have worked more, but every single parent will tell she would have wanted to spend more time with her children, specially when they were that small. The 'they grow so fast' actually means; stay mindfull. Don't give your time away to things that don't mean that much.

I hope your financial situation gives you this time with your little baby!

kikiandkyle Posted 19 Feb 2013 , 1:32pm
post #6 of 15

With my first I could have done both cakes no problem, I was carrying furniture home from Ikea on the train the day before she was born and she was 10 days late, and home within hours of her birth (Europe). But with my second - complications from the minute the egg got invaded. By 32 weeks I was on bed rest, and I eventually had a scheduled c-section which kept me on very limited duty for a good couple of weeks. Plus he was born with a condition that meant I spent the first 6 months of his life taking him to doctors appointments, and had to eventually quit my job. 


If you had a definite backup you could turn to, then I'd say go for it with the bakery being in your home, you're so bored in those last couple of weeks and then by the time the baby is a few weeks old you're glad for a little break here and there. But as you said you don't have any kind of backup, with there only being one other decorator who's already booked, I think it's too much of a risk, or at least you should be leaving the decision on whether to take that risk to the clients. 

sleepy20520 Posted 19 Feb 2013 , 5:59pm
post #7 of 15

THanks for all your input.  I definitely am telling both brides as I would also want to know and be able to decide for myself and not leave it up to chance.  I think the Sept 7 Bride (3 weeks after my due date) i am going to just tell her i can't do it.  I just dont think its going to be worth me trying to bring myself to do a cake 3 weeks after the birth.  esp if im late at all, that makes that time even less.


the bride thats 2 weeks before, i am going to tell them its completely up to them and let them decide.  the only reason im doing this on theirs is because its a very detailed 3D cake and like i said theres only one place around here that does 3D theyd have to go out of town for it.  again i know its not nec something i planned and i would never have any intention of cancelling but it happens.  


Now my question to you all, if anyones ever cancelled a cake (like i said, i havent).... how do i word this! lol  


if i had these 2 cakes out of the way, i have one cake booked 6 weeks after my due date ( i was hoping to wait 8 weeks) but its for a good friends wedding that i am also going to so i agreed to it... hopefully 6 weeks is enough time.  

before my due date i have one cake 4 weeks before ... i tried to make some leway both before and after.  hopefully 4 weeks before and 6 weeks after (the actual due date) is enough.... *fingers crossed*

Sassyzan Posted 19 Feb 2013 , 6:38pm
post #8 of 15

AI'd cancel both. I had my first at 33 weeks, 16 day nicu stay. #2 was totally uncomplicated pregnancy, born at 38 weeks. Cord issues, 2 month nicu stay, surgery, yuck. In neither case did I have the energy to give a crap about anyone else's wonderful happy life events. And even if I had uneventful lovely births, I'd want to be baby-mooning in my pajamas, not meeting some bridezilla's deadline.

jason_kraft Posted 19 Feb 2013 , 6:55pm
post #9 of 15

AWe blacked out 3 months before and 3 months after my wife's due date (she did all the baking and decorating). There were no issues with the pregnancy and our daughter was healthy but I'm still glad we had that downtime before and after.

cakesbycathy Posted 19 Feb 2013 , 7:45pm
post #10 of 15

AI would cancel both. Pregnancy is completely unpredictable. There is the very real possibility baby will come early or you will be on bed rest or lots of other things you cannot plan for.

You should not give the client the choice of deciding. The client may have no problem with you doing the cake but then is going to be very upset if something happens and you can't do it. They are going to feel like YOU should have made the decision to not take orders during a certain time frame, even though you cannot predict what's going to happen. Plus, you are really going to feel bad if you cannot make the cake and it is to close to the party for her to find someone else.

cakesbycathy Posted 19 Feb 2013 , 7:48pm
post #11 of 15

AI would give yourself[B] at least[/B] 4 weeks before and plan on returning to caking no earlier than 2 months after baby is born. Unless you are going to have lots and lots of help with someone who is going to get up at night with the baby every time. Sleep deprivation and cake decorating do not go together well. :wink:

ellavanilla Posted 19 Feb 2013 , 10:43pm
post #12 of 15
Originally Posted by cakesbycathy 

I would give yourself at least 4 weeks before and plan on returning to caking no earlier than 2 months after baby is born. Unless you are going to have lots and lots of help with someone who is going to get up at night with the baby every time. Sleep deprivation and cake decorating do not go together well. icon_wink.gif

NOpe, they don't, and if you plan to nurse, you have to allow at least 6 weeks for a realistic adjustment period. I wouldn't want to have to worry about anything else. 

Annabakescakes Posted 19 Feb 2013 , 10:47pm
post #13 of 15
Originally Posted by ellavanilla 

NOpe, they don't, and if you plan to nurse, you have to allow at least 6 weeks for a realistic adjustment period. I wouldn't want to have to worry about anything else. 

Oh, man I forgot about that! I never could get my twins latched on and pumped for 9 months (Where is that milking the cow smiley?) My daughter was born knowing how, then my last son would snuggle up and go to sleep! He lost weight, while my daughter gained a pound her first 10 days.

A Cakerellas Posted 20 Feb 2013 , 3:08am
post #14 of 15

thats really good planing.

jgifford Posted 20 Feb 2013 , 2:22pm
post #15 of 15

I was remodeling a house up until the day before my first was born.  She absolutely terrified me!  She only weighed 5lbs 2 oz, but scared me silly.  I had never even changed a diaper so I had no idea what to expect. With my 2nd and 3rd as well, I worked until the day before they were born.


I would say that as long as you're healthy and not having complications, you'll probably be ok with the cake before the baby comes.  But after?  No.  Even if you run a day care and take care of babies all day long, it's different with your own.  And you'll want to spend hours just watching him/her sleep - not dealing with a cake.  My first doubled her birth weight in 7 weeks, so guess what I was doing every hour on the hour? I decided the dark circles under my eyes were going to be permanent since I wasn't getting much sleep at all.  I can't imagine trying to do a cake during that time.


I would definitely explain the situation to the bride with the cake before your due date and let her make the call. But I wouldn't do the one after the baby comes - you just need more than a few weeks to get back into the swing of things.

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