Ok so Easter is tomorrow and I'm finally able to sit down a relax for a minute (mostly due to the fact that DH is icing the cupcakes ) but I've been baking and decorating for 3 days straight! I have this problem with my family and the holidays/get togethers. I'm always expected to bring the dessert. Now this isn't the worse thing in the world but I can't just bring a pie per say. They want some big extravagant display and each one needs to be better then the last. I just started this about a year ago so I'm not that good but I do like a challenge. At first I didn't mind it because it gave me practice and let me try things I had never thought of before. Now it's become expected. It's not even asked anymore. My SIL always says she wants my cupcakes and my mother says make this cake or that. I CAN MAKE SOMETHING OTHER THEN CAKE!!
I know I should be flattered that they think that much of my stuff and that they are so supportive but I don't think they realize that I can't just throw it together in an hour or so. I have a 22 mo old daughter who is my full time job too! I only have nap time to work on things and the weekends which I'd like to spend some of it with my hubby(who works on average 60hr/wk). I just got done doing 3 cakes and a dozen cupcakes in the last two weeks and this was supposed to be my only cake free weekend in the next month....instead I've been slaving away missing time with my family for something that I won't even get paid for. Now I'm at the point where I don't even want to do it let alone really take pride in my work. I could care less honestly. I just don't know what to do. I don't want to disappoint my family but I don't want to be putting out things that seem less then my best. What's worse is that my Uncle who has done the backing for other family businesses and what not comes to these functions and my DH and I were thinking of asking him to help us out once I build up some more word of mouth clients. All he sees is mediocre work because my heart isn't in it when I feel like this. What should I do!?!?
I've tried talking to DH about it but he doesn't quiet get it. He's guilty too though, he thinks I should make something extravagant everytime his mother comes because she doesn't come that often. He thinks this is totally different though from what the rest of the family does. I guess because he rationalizes it as she comes less often then the bdays and holidays do???
Anyway, I better get back to work! Thanks for being a sounding board!
I have the reverse problem.....I LOVE to bake and decorate. My family (mainly my mom) wants me to do other stuff instead of BC cakes and decorated ones....she says in our area they are looking for things like hummingbird, Italian Cream, coconut, carrot...etc....not the bc...She says they are pretty and stuff but...there is always the but...I WISH they would want me to do a elaborate cake. I get asked to bring the salads maybe that is saying something about my cakes....maybe I just suck at it...But I love it... Sorry I am not much help to you! But if I were you I'd tell them that you don't have time to just whip up a cake like they want...or just simply say I would rather Dear uncle bring the dessert. And then tell them you would rather bring a covered dish. Good luck to you and have a HAPPY EASTER
Simply tell your family that your burned out on it right now or just don't have the time. Bring what you want because you want to. Unless it's one of those planned menu and everyone chooses what they will bring, even then, let someone else try their hand at it and take it easy on yourself.
As for you Christi, you DO NOT "suck". I looked at your gallery and you do nice work, maybe your family is like a lot of others who like more conventional or practical things especially where food is concerned. Keep up the great work!!!!!
I have a similar problem, it is just assumed that I will bring a cake or something and noone even asks anymore. And forget it if I show up without one! On top of that I get asked to bring other stuff, what the heck, like I am not busy enough making a cake or something. The last few cakes a made for neice and nephews b-day I told my family that next time they need to pay me or that with be my only gift (it isn't cheap) and they acted offended that I would even mention such a thing. Oh well I just step back and remind myself that it isn't really about the food but rather being blessed enough to have my family and be able to spend time with them.
I have found these phrases to be helpful...
"I'd love to, but I'm short on time that week so I'm going to bring *pies, cookies, etc.* instead."
"Yes I'd love to bring cupcakes or a decorated cake, you choose. For the other desert, I'm going to bring *x*, because that's what my family has been hungry for."
"I'm not really sure what I'm making yet. It will be good and I'll bring plenty!"
Gosh! I would sure hate to see either one of you give this up!! Both of you have great looking cakes!!
chrissy: perhaps you could cut back on the number of things you take to family gatherings? Don't let the fun go out of it because you feel you need to bring so much.
Hope y'all have a great Easter and enjoy your gatherings!!!! Bet all the cake(s) get eaten!
If you do this for a business, then your family is asking you to work the holiday. I'm sure they don't realize how inconsiderate they are being, and I agree it is a very big compliment to the work you do. Sometimes you just have to be blunt: "Anyone who wants a cake out of my oven has to fork over the cash first. Everyone else gets a day off on the holiday .... so do I!" (You may have noticed that I tend to be a kinda blunt and direct person ..... but then I also don't have family 'assuming' that I'm providing the free cakes everytime you turn around!
If you want to take a cake .... a simple cake .... then do so. If anyone says anything about how "not grand" it is, you can just look surprised and say, "Ohhhhhh!! I didn't realize you were ORDERING one of my cakes that I CHARGE for!" (Bat eyelashes .... smile sweetly!)
You could approach it from the point of "I really miss Aunt ????'s dessert she used to make, how about if she brings it to the next get together?". Maybe that will be a way of approaching it without seeming rude or letting your Uncle know that yes, we do get burnt out!!! I know at my families get togethers there are just as many great desserts made by everyone else and I love eating and enjoying something someone else has made. I hope that makes sense, it's just nice to go, have a great meal and a great dessert that someone else has poured their heart into. Plus, it makes them feel good when you tell them how great their dessert is since you're the resident "expert"!!! Good Luck, I know we all love our families but I'm with you on enjoying your DH and kids on those rare cake free weekends!!! Happy Easter to all!!
In families it seems like it's one extreme or the other and it all depends on the holiday and the year.. We've all been where you're at at some point. It's a hard life lesson that many of us will take some time and work to master, but it's one tiny little word and that's "No".. You have to start telling yourself "When it's something that's free, *I* decide what you're going to GET.".. Their expectations don't matter unless there is a check/cash/CC attached. They're getting it FREE, they get what they pay for. If *I* want to make something elaborate, that's what they're getting (though my IL's gripe about it when I do because it makes SIL feel inadequate), if *I* just want to pipe swirlies on cupcakes, then that's what they're getting ..
I have a 27mo here and I've got to say, even though it's NOT easy by any stretch of the imagination to try to decorate a cake while a toddler wants attention, when it's stuff I can decorate at home for family with my home equipment, we've ironed out the approach to when it's time to come have some fun with Mommy time... Otherwise known as "gate open" and "gate closed" to our kitchen.. When I'm DONE, you can have a fun Mommy moment in teaching what piping bags and little fingers are all about. Bring your 22mo over, have her put her finger out, then pipe a dot on their finger using the icing and have them lick it off... It is just precious! DD is starting to catch on that when Mommy's decorating, it's time to play and watch what's on TV, but when Mommy's done... Oh, it's time for nummy's!!! I also have to say that I've fallen in love with "drop in daycare" that when I've got cakes coming up I can get a reservation for $28/extra day (we have her there 2days/week already, but otherwise it was $6/hr), and that gives me some undisturbed time to just work on projects and DD time to socialize with the other kids.
At first I didn't mind it because it gave me practice and let me try things I had never thought of before. Now it's become expected. It's not even asked anymore. My SIL always says she wants my cupcakes and my mother says make this cake or that. I CAN MAKE SOMETHING OTHER THEN CAKE!!
Hey Chrissy - I think this year you should bring deviled eggs. When you are met with stares of shocked amazement (which you will inevitably be), you can retort (in just as shocked a manner) with "what?! I thought we were supposed to bring something!!"
OMG you sound just like me. I right this second have a screaming 15 month old in my lap and I just got off the phone with my MIL who asked "what kind of cake are you bringing dear" THE DAY BEFORE EASTER!!! No mention of me doing a cake ever came out of her mouth in the weeks before this. Now I am expected to whip up something wonderful tasting (if not beautifal, not that good at decorating yet)
Sorry didnt mean to go off on a rant. Just thought I would let you know that I know where you are coming from. I totally simpathize.
I have the opposite problem too.
No matter what the occasion, or who of my MIL or local SILs are putting it on, when I ask "what do you want me to bring?", they (knowing I do cakes as a profession) always are quick to say, "Well, there's going to be cake!" Like I'm really only wanting them to ask me to bring cake...plus, there's another distant relative/neighbor/whatever (can't remember the relation there) and SHE likes to do cakes (these cheesy, poorly done excuses for cakes), so she always brings "the cake". WhatEVER She can have it.
It's gotten so that I don't even offer to bring dessert at all.
Last time it was so obvious they didn't want me to bring anything wonderful and homemade that I just went and got a pack of store bought vegs and dip, since that's about the level of what all my SILs ever bring anyway. I am really into gourmet cooking, but nooooo...we wouldn't want to bring anything "fancy-schmancy"; none of that Martha Stewart stuff for US, we'd rather celebrate Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas with paper plates, plastic forks, and Chex mix.
Whoops, did I say that out loud? LOL
Family--ya gotta love em. Enjoy the weekend, everyone
My family always assumes I'm bringing a cake. Sometimes I don't mind, but there are times like this week-end that it will be hard to fit it in my schedule.
Maybe next year ask if you can do one smaller cake/batch of cupcakes and make something else also, and someone else can bring another dessert? That way all the pressure for dessert won't be on you, and you can use your cooking skills as well as baking
We all know it's stressful trying to make a show-stopping cake, but they probably don't think of that, they just think that that's what you do and don't give it another thought. At least be flattered that they all like your cakes so much, that is a big compliment! I get asked to make a lot of FREE cakes too, but I figure I can't very well expect to be paid for the cake when everyone else is bringing a dish.
I have made cakes for stuff at the in-law's and they were not really appreciated, then SIL 'made' a cake (cake mix, cool whip, pineapple & coconut or something...) and FIL announced that she should make the cake more often Yeah, made me feel really good Anyways I guess I am just saying I know how it feels to be annoyed about the pressure of being asked to do the cakes all the time, but at least be thankful that they think that highly of your skills! Good luck!
I think you should adopt Duff's philosophy on free cake/goodies etc. You want it for free then you have no say on flavors, design etc. That way you can do what ever you want. To keep it fun. Unfortunately, I currently live near my inlaws and they never get together so I don't get to do cakes as offen as I want. But, here's a hug for ya, I know it's tough to combine, family, work, kiddos etc.
Time for a total meltdown!!! My eggs in a basket (RI decorated cookies stuck into 10" basket cake) just lost it's handle it was the single most important thing I needed to achieve the look I was going for
cocakedecorator: I forgot to mention that aside from the cake, cookies and cupcakes I've already made I also have to make two batches of homemade mac & cheese for tomorrow too! That has to be put on hold till early morning though!
CoutureCake:....I do have a bad habit of letting my DD get icing dots on her finger. She thinks it's the best thing in the world and gets so excited when she sees the cake stuff coming out into the kitchen! I too have a gate to keep the kitchen off limits!
CakeL8T: I do have an Aunt attending that has been known in the family for her pies and cookies but when I asked if she was bringing dessert I got "No she bought the hams and is making scalloped potatoes"
DelightsByE: I love that idea!!! The men folk would love it!! While they love the sweets I think they could do without it.
Thank you all for listening. When I'm at wits end I know I can count on my fellow CCers!
Now I must figure out how I'm gonna make a handle on this basket!!
It has been over 20 years since a holiday or birthday meal wasn't held at my house....even mine! Everyone came to my house even when my kids were babies. Every Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, July 4th and family birthday......
I KNOW I'm a good cook and everyone loves my food and desserts. Just for ONCE it would be nice to make a cake and covered dish and go to someone's house for a celebration. Besides the shopping and all the cleaning, there's the cooking and clean-up. I hear "but you do it all so well!". Well, I've had LOTS of practice!
My mom offers to eat out, but I can't stand to see her spending hundreds of dollars for restaurant meals. It seems like such a waste.
Don't get me wrong.....everyone is very appreciative and complimentary. It just gets old..........
my family has the habit of assigning me to food items. Then when other people ask what to bring they tell what I've been assigned to. Well, my cousin likes to compete with me (I have no idea why--she does everything I do--she is even pregnant with #4 because she said if I can do it so can she ) Needless to say, she always show up with the exact same dish I was told to bring--plus other items.
I now do the total opposite of what I was told to bring. I think she's catching on though.
I'm just learning myself about cake decorating and I just don't need the pressure from family -- they are getting better about it though
JodieF--WOW! That's a LONG time to be doing all of that work. Next time you make the meal--hand them a dishrag and tell them my parts done, now it's time for your part to begin.
We live about 1 min away from my MIL and 4 hours from my Mum & Dad. I'm glad early in our marriage we set out guidelines for when it came to the Big Celebrations like Easter and Christmas. One year at my M&D's, one year at MIL's and then the third year would be just us alone. It works because a) we set it out in the first place and b) there is flexibility. Often we do something different (maybe MIL away or my siblings are with my M&D) but the principle is set down, so if we wish to have a Christmas or Easter by ourselves we can.
Plus, I know I only have to 'grit my teeth and keep my trap shut' about every third year... and DH knows the same!!
We've also avoided the tradition of someone always bringing 'x' and someone 'y' unless that is what we/they wish to do.
JodieF - After 20 years would anyone object if you said, "I've been very happy to do this for 20 yrs but now I'd like to do something different and let someone else can have the pleasure of hosting the cebebration."
Just sod it one year and bring a bought cake or dessert and just say you were too busy. That way you've had to bite the bullet once which makes it easier for you to make treat cakes when you feel like it and buy stuff when you don't. It's then even more of a treat for everyone when you have had the time.
I have the opposite. My mother DOESN'T want me to make a cake. She says it's too much trouble and would rather order one from the grocery store. Hey whatever floats her boat....I make my BIL spinach dip instead and get all kinds of hugs! I also made cookies without mom's "permission" for Easter....everyone loved them!
I have this problem with salsa around my friends. Every time I have a party for kids' birthdays or my birthday or game night or barbecue, whatever, I HAVE to have my homemade salsa with the chips and please some guacamole too??
Don't get me wrong, I like the salsa and it's flattering that they clamor for it but then again, it can be a pain in the you-know-what. All the cutting of the tomatoes, cilantro, onions, peppers, along with the rest of the party food and house-cleaning, is alot of work. There have been times that I've put the salsa off to the last minute and put whoever arrives first to the task of cutting for me I like to put people to work
Anyway, it's pretty much a given that I'll make a cake for pot lucks but I don't always decorate them up nicely. The Easter cake I made today was decorated but it was kinda sloppy, I gotta say. I just don't have the same heart in it when I'm not receiving money. I used to but not anymore, unless it's a birthday or something.
Here's a pic of the Easter cake I made today. The basketweave is sloppy. The drop flowers were just thrown on and no centers. I just kinda messed around with tip 104 to do the top. It's a kinda funny cake but it tasted good