I thought it would be fun for other parents on here to say what their biggest challenge is/was when baking orders with kids at home. Why? I'm curious as to how other parents manage it I guess. I'm in the middle of juggling two cakes which I had already planned out my baking schedule and now I need to take my toddler to see a few specialists to get some of his quirks sorted out, then start therapies for those. I seem to have been thrown several monkey wrenches at once, ha ha. I'm glad I'm a hobby baker, but I may just stick to knitting for a while until all this blows over.
I guess since I'm asking, I have to start....
My little guy is 18months and my biggest challenge when baking is being quiet during nap time and keeping everything out of reach. Oh, and time management, still working on that. My little guy needs his schedule, so planning ahead is a must for every little thing.
I don't have kids. I skipped straight to grandkids. My oldest grandson is fascinated by baking and decorating, though. The problem I have is not hurting his feelings when he wants to help. If it is just for family and not a special occassion, I don't mind, but if it is a special occassion cake or for anyone outside of immediate family, I can't let him help. He is 6, but won't listen to basic directions, because he "already knows what to do". Unfortunately that includes things like licking utensils and sticking them back in the batter or frosting, etc. I can't convince him that is not nice. He does offer to show me how to do things, though, since he can do it better. At least he doesn't have self esteem issues. LOL.
My little guy just turned one, so I sympathize! I also have a full time job, so my struggle is trying to stay awake after he's asleep, so I can work on cake! Staying quiet is nearly impossible in my small home, but a must if I need to get anything done.
Keeping the kids out of my kitchen! LOL When my son was little I would actually put chairs in front of the door so he wouldn't come in! Several years later we built a bakery addition to the house, so then I could just close/lock the door. They learned early on when mom was doing cakes that they had to stay out of my way, and when I was giving cake classes or had a bridal consultation that they had to stay outside or in their rooms and stay quiet.
I usually did cakes after the kids went to bed, or while my son was napping and the girls were in school. I wasn't very good at time management and I had lots of LONG nites! I did have days when I would send the kids to a sitter, just so I could work on a wedding cake all day.
Cake deliveries were another issue. Several times I had to take the kids with me - the girls were old enough to stay outta trouble, but my son was just a toddler and one time crawled over to where I had the cake and took a huge swipe out of the bottom tier before I could stop him! Ack!
Looking back on those years I think that I should have simply waited to go gung-ho on my business until the kids were older. the business would have been there regardless of when I started. Kids are little for such a short time, I could have waited. With that said, my business did pay for all of those little things that they needed during the school years: lunch money, school supplies, activity fees, class trips, clothes and backpacks.....etc. :)
The biggest challenge for me was trying to teach a 13 year old how to decorate cakes. I also wanted to teach her how to mix cake recipes and for her to help me clean up. The problem with her was that she only wanted to help decorate. She did not want to learn how to mix the cakes, wash the dishes or make the icing. She only wanted the fun part which was doing the actual decorating of the cake. I guess most kids today are lazy!! Then after we take the cakes back to their family they suddenly take all of the glory forgetting that making cakes involve much more than decorating alone. I was glad that she did learn how to pipe borders pretty decent and make a few buttercream flowers.
I have stopped trying to make cakes for her family because I did all the work with hardly no help from her. Everyone knows that there is much preparation in making cakes along with a lot of cleaning up from making the mess. I am glad I don't have any small kids to deal with. Now when and if I make cakes it is because I just want to make a cake for my immediate family. Caking for me is just a hobby!!
Recently, my biggest challenge was keeping on top of 5 cakes due the same week while having 4 of my grandchildren staying over (mum had gone into labour a few weeks early). They all love baking but have grown up knowing "if nanny is being paid for a cake, you cannot help". When I am not busy I love to have eah of them over and spend some quality time baking with them
my kids are at an age where they know if I'm down in my commercial kitchen I'm working and there are rules. No coming in the kitchen. We have an area where they can be down there and play or listen to music and dance. I work in the mornings after I get them squared away with breakfast so I work from about 7-10am then I come up homeschool them fix lunch spend some time with them and go back down and work until it's time to come up and start dinner. My husband does the bulk of the cake decorating so we go back down when the boys go to sleep. I don't want to compromise my time with my kids and family. So I work in shifts. I have them with me on some deliveries and they behave like gentlemen and open doors for me. It really works out well for our family.
My kids are older now, but I started my business when they were 3 and 0 :)
They knew that when I was working they weren't supposed to bother me, and since they were always around cakes they didn't think of it as something worth paying attention to. When my daughter was about 2 she came into the kitchen when I was decorating a wedding cake and said "Dis cake for us?" I told her no, and she said "Is for a lady?" I said yes and she just turned around and walked out. Kids are more able to learn to keep their hands to themselves than people give them credit for. My son only had to have one punishment because he picked the lace points off of a dummy cake I was working on and ate them all, but he lost so many privileges that day he probably has a wedding cake phobia now.
Actually he's self taught and I can't take any credit for it lol. I bake then he trims stacks and decorate. I help with the finishing touches. Cookies and cupcakes are my area and he doesn't do them usually. But yes we work well together. We couldn't do it without each other :)
some days are super busy but for the most part we have a good balance and I'm a very organized person (to a fault) so I plan ahead each week writing out each day what needs done and what I want done. Which are two very different things. i have a family then a business I don't let baking run my life. ive really just incorporated the business into my existing life.
Oh my goodness - story of my life! My kids are 5 and 2 1/2 and I had to scale back to 1-2 orders/month or else my family severely suffers (we homeschool as well) - I just can't juggle it all without dropping the ball somewhere. 2 orders a month is manageable without it taking over my life.
That being said...when I do have an order, I try to have as much of the decorations be fondant so that they can be done ahead of time...like even weeks ahead of time! (for example, the pink castle cake in my gallery - the towers and bottom tier were all styrofoam so they were done far in advance. Also the outer space cake I just posted this weekend - ALL the decorations were fondant so could be completed ahead of time. The actual cake was just an 8" round - easy and quick). Bake ahead of time and freeze so the day of decorating all you have to do is make your icing and decorate.
Also, I also absolutely cannot get any work done when the kids are awake...which means I don't ever get started on anything before 8:30-9:00 PM! They crowd my space and want to be all up in whatever I'm doing. "CAN I HAVE THE FONDANT? DO YOU HAVE EXTRA? CAN I MAKE SOME TOO? CAN I EAT SOME? WHAT ARE YOU MAKING? I WANT TO HELP!!!!!" Aaaaah!
Hope this helps. It will get easier as they get older and you'll figure out what works for you!
The baking business and decorating didn't happen in my life until much later than most of you. My youngest is a teenager. I don't know how you manage with little ones and homeschooling! I was exhausted just as things were. I have an autistic son and he took all the energy I had. Even though my kids are older now they still require time and attention and the trouble they can get into now is actually horrifying! Parents always need to be vigilant because the reasons to worry never go away!
This is hilarious and actually quite refreshing that I'm not the only one!! annakat444, I relate most to yours! "Can I have that? Can I touch that?" On and on and on!!!
We will survive!!
I don't know about them growing out of it. Until our son went into the Navy, he was my official taster and scrap disposal. He loved fondant and took care of those scraps as well and any decorations that didn't make it onto the cakes.
I miss him being underfoot.
I don't have many orders, two cakes a month average.
My daughter is 3.5 y.o. (not counting other 4 school age kids). I work on cakes during her nap time which is usually 3 hours. If needed I will rather wake up at 5 a.m. than stay up at night until 2 a.m.
If she happens to be around I give her a chunk of fondant, rolling pin and cutters. She has her own play kitchen where she "bakes".
@Pastrybaglady I hear you on that one! I barely have the energy at night or during nap time. I'm sorta relived that you can do cakes with an autistic son though, we are getting my son evaluated. Just did a delay one today, have 4 more tests to go (MRI, blood work, hearing, and autism screening). And we start therapies for the delay soon. So yeah, nice to know someone else can get stuff done with all that stress! :)
@Natka81 3 hour nap? what's your secret? I can barely get mine to stay down for 2! I can't wait till he's at that age where he can actually use the cookie cutters instead of eat/sort them. That's his new thing now, sorting stuff. On the other hand, it was fun seeing him try to stack my 2nd set of measuring cups, they're metal and he likes the clink sound it makes when he stacks them. He did find my sugar container... *gasp*.. be he found the lid the most interesting part, it's rubber and that's one of his favorite textures (he's a texture kid with EVERYTHING).
That being said, I found out his $3 placemat is great for MMF. It's silicone and sticks to the table on one side. It's bigger than my $6 Wilton one and works great! He doesn't use it anyways so he won't miss it.
@jgifford My husband does that, still looks at the scraps and goes, "is that for us?" meaning him. My mother in law likes to sample whatever I'm baking as well, so I'm positive they don't grow out of that. Ha ha!
@craftybanana2 When we were going through all the testing I was NOT doing cakes. I was busy formulating recipes that were wheat free, egg free and dairy free because he had multiple food allergies. I was obsessed with making things he could eat! As well as food allergies he had food aversions. He wouldn't eat meat or vegetables so I formulated a wheatfree muffin that included tofu and pureed vegetables to keep that kid alive. Somehow with God's help he is now 20 and eats a wide array of foods and is in school most of the day. I've only been in business for 3 years so I can only give you my best wishes!
Yep @craftybanana, three hours, but she gets up at 6:30 a.m. with every one else in the house.
@Pastrybaglady wow, you had to do a whole menu change, huh? I'm glad kids like muffins, so easy to put veggies in there, plus a scoop or two of formula to use up the remnants in the can. My little guy doesn't have food aversions per say, but there are certain textures he won't eat. He'll eat scrambled eggs and muffins, but not quiche and pancakes. Go figure, ha ha.
My baking has drastically dropped, but so have our waistlines so it's not all bad!
Don't have kids now.. i know it's a biggest challenge ever when baking with kids... should plan it accordingly to avoid kids to disturb...
@craftybanana2 my youngest son (he's 5 now) would choke on everything. We never really found out why and he outgrew it but there was certain textures we just had to avoid. His pediatrician was concerned about his size because he acid reflux really bad the first 6-8 months of his life (looking back I realize he was a healthy size and I should have done things differently) anyway we had to do all sorts of things to get him extra calories and toddler formula was one of them I so wish I would have thought to add it to things like muffins. He hated the toddler formula (I nursed him for the first year so it wasn't what he was used to). I had to mix yogurt with oatmeal or he would gag and choke on yogurt. He couldn't eat the puffs that dissolve. He also was born with congenital torticolis the muscles in his neck were shorter and tighter on the right side so we had to physical therapy and he had to wear a head reshaping helmet for about a year. There was a time where physically he was delayed but thankfully through physical therapy he caught up. I don't know that I could have ever went through that with him and baked. So my hats off to those who can and do!! Life was such a blur and I don't think I've slept through the night in 8 years lol. We had at least 2 appointments every week and had to go several times a month to different doctors some almost 2 hours away. Both my boys had chronic ear infections as well. We know our doctors very well lol. Remember to take care of yourself too maybe carve out some time for you to be alone to bake if possible. I think the reason my kids don't stay underfoot is because they are a little older and really have no interest in baking unless they get to taste it. Legos and puzzles are much more fun to them i guess.