Baking After Dark…or why superheroes only come out at night.

Have you ever had that dream of standing in front of a very large audience, when you realize that you are completely naked? Or that feeling when you get caught daydreaming about your upcoming holiday, when you are in fact, in a meeting with your boss? Well, that’s how writing this felt like. But…

“Courage is the commitment to begin without any guarantee of success.”
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe –

So here I am, having my chocolate-dipped rum cake (which I topped with a piece of Ferrero for tonight’s special occasion) and a cup of my favorite tea, thinking of ways on how I will start writing. Courage, I have a lot; words, not so much…so forgive my random musings and my jumbled thoughts. This post is otherwise entitled: Why I bake.

However scary this is, let me begin by sharing the reasons why I think baking after dark is the best:

  1. My husband is already home, therefore, it is his turn to watch the kids. I call it their “daddy-bonding” time. (we don’t have any helpers or nannies)
  2. It is more peaceful after dark. No noisy neighbors (or neighbors’ maids loudly gossiping or flirting with the drivers!)
  3. I can put on my special “baking music” when I want, and no one asks me to change it. (My Spotify playlists include: Disney songs, nursery rhymes, Baby Einstein, Classical music for Smart Kids, and one or more of my older kids’ current favorite band/group/duo. So I can only listen to MY music after they’re asleep)
  4. No kids running around, calling out for help or asking for food. Either the daddy does it (see no. 1) or they’re all already fast asleep.
  5. I have the place (kitchen and dining) all to myself. I have space to move about (or dance) when necessary.

But why baking you ask? (Crocheting After Dark didn’t sound too catchy…and I didn’t want to be a CAD!)

Seriously though, do you sometimes feel overwhelmed about the things going on in your life? Do you sometimes wish you could have Adam Sandler’s remote control (see Click) and press pause, just so you could catch your breath (and the few marbles that dropped out of your head) as you bend down to pick up the 1000th Lego piece (nasty li’l buggers) that punctured your foot today?

I do.  You see, I am a full-time, hands-on, homeschooling mother of three wonderful, but also quite headstrong, children (15, 11 and 1½ years old). And there are times (mostly at night) when I stop and ask: is this all there is? Is this all that I am meant to be?

These are hard questions if you’re anything like me. Before my 3rd child, I had been a career-oriented, fast-talking, hard hat-wearing (I used to work in engineering) momzilla in high heels and a pencil skirt! Now, I’ve become a shabby Suzy homemaker and I had thought that it was normal. I accepted the changes as all part of the stay-at-home, full-time mom job.

That is until my daughter said to me, “Mama, it’s like there’s no YOU in you anymore. It’s as if you’ve been consumed by the family life.” (She says this to me in a deadpan way as only a teenager can, oblivious to the fact that she was shattering my world, when I simply asked her how I should sign the Christmas gift I had wrapped for my friend.)

That’s when it hit me. I needed to find ME again. I needed something that would link me to my old self, even in the middle of this life.

That is what baking (and now this blog) is for me. It is my anchor to keeping my sense of self, secure. I started baking to cope with post partum depression (also pre partum–is that a thing?–since I started baking when I got pregnant with my first child). It was therapeutic for me then. But now I find that baking also allows me to be ME again.

Baking is like fresh ocean air…it refreshes me. The whirring sound of my stand mixer soothes my frayed nerves or broken heart, much like the way the waves crashing against the shore can bring a sense of calm. It also revives me, that even the simple act of scooping and measuring out the amount of flour needed for a certain recipe, can bring back focus on the things I need to prioritize.  

Simply put, the way a cake can be made by following a few steps (especially the challenging ones like this yummy rum cake) allows me to clear my head and see things in a different, often better, perspective. And with that, I am reborn as a superwoman once more (until the next Lego attack, at least).

What about you? Why do you bake? Let me know in the comments. And feel free to share any tips you have in keeping yourselves sane in this crazy world! (maybe I’ll use some of them when my mixer breaks! :P)

‘Til next time!