I know I’m an inconsistent blogger and I apologize. I can’t believe it’s been over a month since my last post. But I kind of have to wait until the mood strikes. There’s literally a voice in my head that says things I find funny and then I usually build a post around that. It’s been quiet lately. I think there’s too many other things rattling around in there right now. And it’s a limited space anyway. Lately I’ve been preoccupied with thoughts of what I want to do with the rest of my life. I’ve got the basics covered: breathe, eat, sleep, love, laugh, dance. This much I know. It’s the big question of what I want to DO that’s got me stumped. Yes, I’m a stay-at-home mom and proud of it. But when your kids are in school and gone for 7 hours out of the day you begin to think maybe you could be doing something with that time. And when I say “you begin to think…” I really mean “people begin to ask what you’re going to do with your time”. Even my 9 and 11 year old neighbors have started asking “Ms. Eileen, what DO you do all day?”. I imagine they picture me at home alone in my bathrobe watching TV, eating gummy bears and never being productive. To be fair, I do drive them to the bus stop in my purple fuzzy slippers. And when that’s the last picture of a person you have in your head I’m sure it’s hard to believe they are anything but a couch potato the rest of the day.
Honestly, I’m not… at all! But, I can see their point. Being a mom is very fulfilling and satisfying and being available to spend time with my mom during the day is a tremendous blessing I am very grateful for. But, it’s really time. I need to get a j.o.b. Which brings me to the what do you want to DO with your life question. I feel a little bit like Lloyd Dobler from the movie ‘Say Anything’: “I don’t want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don’t want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don’t want to do that.” Brilliant! And scary. Do I really want to be taking advice from a Hollywood kickboxing slacker- no matter how awesome?
In a former life before kids I was a web page designer. That was 10 years ago. A lot has changed since then to put it mildly. I would have to start all over again- probably take several classes and the thought of that just… ugh. No thank you. And with my children on a year round school calendar, I’d have to find a part-time job that pays enough to be able to afford track out camps plus have enough leftover to make it worthwhile. Good luck! Ideally I’d like to work from home but wouldn’t everybody? Sitting down, thinking of things you can do to turn your interests into income is a little disheartening. Realizing that what you like to do isn’t worth much in the public marketplace is sobering. Surprisingly there’s not much call for someone who can coordinate ribbon to a whole birthday party theme. I know… I was shocked too!
And then seemingly out of nowhere someone asked me to make a birthday cake- and they were going to pay me! I’ve been making cakes for my children’s birthdays and other family occasions for years. They’ve become progressively more involved and I’ve learned new techniques along the way because it’s something I enjoy. I usually stay up way too late, play whatever music I feel like dancing to, and end up looking like I’ve just had a down and dirty affair with a gigantic bag of confectioner’s sugar. It’s fun and a total stress reliever for me (until it comes time to clean up, that is). So when I was asked, I jumped at the chance. The money was totally secondary. The cake turned out well, the birthday girl was pleased and that was that. Until things kind of snowballed. Several requests started rolling in and suddenly what people have been telling me for years that I should do finally became clear to me. It’s easy to discount your family’s praise- they love you and, especially with my mom, think everything you do is wonderful. Of course, she’ll be the first one to tell you that the cakes she made for our birthdays were not anything like the standing Yoda I did for my son’s Star Wars party. Her cakes were delicious towers propped up by a spoon to keep the lopsided layers from sliding off each other. But when people you don’t know suggest this as a career path you begin to take notice. I’ve been fighting making cakes “for a living” because I didn’t want my enjoyable hobby to become “work”. Well, if prostitutes could do it, so could I!
The scariest part is putting it out there. Making the decision to say, “This is what I’m going to do” is terrifying. Well, the decision isn’t terrifying. Failing is terrifying. And I think that’s been my biggest obstacle. Doubt creeps into my mind. There are a million people out there who could do it better than me. What if I make something someone doesn’t like? What if I make these few cakes and then nothing else comes of it? Why would someone pay me a bunch of money for something they could get at Harris Teeter for half the price? If you never try, you never fail and you never disappoint yourself or anybody else. But, that’s no way to live. It might be a beautiful disaster but at least it will taste good and I’ll decorate the shit out of it. And at least I’ll be able to say I tried. I think even Lloyd Dobler would approve of that.