A Mud Riding Cake. And Feeling Like a Failure as a Mommy.

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Christian Mud Riding Mustang Cake

Since I shared Sarah & Noah’s party yesterday (or was it Sunday?), I figured I should probably go ahead and share Christian’s Mud Riding Cake… from last November.

Yeah, I failed as a Mommy on that one!  In more ways than one.

You see… I can’t tell you exactly what was going on that week last year (actually, I can… I just realized I wrote about it), but I clearly remember it being a very long, hard week that ended in me realizing very late Saturday night that I had not planned ahead in any way for Christian’s birthday party… on Sunday afternoon.

To say I felt guilty would be a huge understatement.  I felt like a failure, a loser, a horrible Mommy.  There were lots of tears, panic and shame.    I’m even feeling some of that guilt and shame today – as I share his cake almost 5 months later.

I mean really… what kind of Mommy gets so busy and wrapped up in her cake business that I don’t plan my own kids party?   A bad one… or that’s how I felt!

What would people think when I served hot dogs on uncoordinated paper plates?  When I didn’t have balloons or favor bags?  When the cake was less than perfect?

Joshua Helped with Cake

My failure (in my eyes) was so big that I ended up skipping church (and having my oldest kiddo join me to help) on that Sunday morning in an effort to throw together a cake and other details for the Sunday afternoon party I had planned.

The party was going to be small… just a few friends and family, but still.   As a cake lady and blogger who posts pretty pictures all the time – I really felt the pressure to have everything perfect – especially the cake.

And not just any cake… but a cake my little boy would really love!   A cake that would impress and wow.   A cake I could pin on Pinterest and share on Facebook and be proud of.

So…. what did I do?  I failed at all of that and did the best I could.  Christian is young and not picky.  He had changed his mind so many times about what kind of cake he wanted that I felt like anything “boy” would make him happy.

I took 3 cakes that I had in the freezer and pushed them together and decided to make a mud-car-hills-cake.   Also known as a Mud Riding Cake.

I covered the whole thing in green marshmallow fondant… thank goodness I had made way too much for this School Spirit Cake (done just two days earlier).

The whole thing was really Joshua’s idea… thank God for blessing me with smart, inventive children (he has his own website if you didn’t know)!

Mud Riding Mustang Cake

Don’t ask me why I had three extra cakes in the freezer at that time… I have no idea.  I occasionally end up with an extra layer or two from my baking each week but rarely do I have that much cake tucked away.

But that week, I did.   I guess God was watching out for me.   The cakes were also 3 different flavors.    We offered our guests variety… yes we did!

Mud Riding Cake with Stars

The only thing Christian mentioned again and again was wanting stars on his cake.  So I made sure to get stars on the cake… all over!  For the letters/number,  I used the white plastic alphabet cutters for his name and the six from this Wilton Alphabet and Numbers set.

Mud Riding Mustang on Cake

And since Christian (and his Daddy) also love Mustangs… I had one on hand in my cake box (I keep random cars and toys in there for last minute cakes) that I used for the mud riding vehicle!  We used whipped chocolate ganache for the mud (also leftover from the School Spirit Cake).

For the rocks, we just marbled together some black and white fondant and rolled them into irregular shapes.  Easy-peasy.   Joshua also made most (if not all) of the rocks for me!

And it came together.  In less than two hours I had a cake.  It was lumpy and bumpy.  The edges were terrible.   It was an oh-not-so-perfect cake in my eyes, but it was “awesome” to a little boy who loves cars and mud and stars!

After all that guilt and feeling like a failure and crying and pulling my hair out trying to get everything together… at the end of the day I had this:


A very happy boy (who got an Angry Birds hat as one of his gifts).

A boy who loved his cake, blew out his candles… and didn’t care one bit that the bottom edge of the cake wasn’t smooth and pretty or that the cake was “thrown” together.  He never knew Mommy had cried over it or had a meltdown while he was in Sunday School.

He just knew his friends were visiting to celebrate with him.  That his cousins and aunts and uncles and MawMaw & PawPaw were having lunch with us.  He was happy.

Lighting Candles on the Mud Riding Cake

Christian with Mud Riding Cake

Christian Blowing Out Candles on Mud Riding Cake

So the lesson is this.  As a Mommy, we’re going to fail sometimes.

Or at least we’re going to feel like a failure.  We’re going to feel guilt.   But we need to put less pressure on ourselves.

We need to remember that our kids love us and just want to have fun.

Most of them don’t care if the cake is awesome and perfect – they just want cake!

Most don’t care if  they have the perfect Pinterest-worthy party – they just want to play and laugh.

At the end of the day… we (as Mommies) need to stop trying to measure up to every body else.  Stop trying to make everything Pinterest-perfect.  Stop worrying about all the details that our kids will never notice.   And just love them.

We need to walk and act in grace.   We need to let peace rule our hearts – not panic and guilt and pride.

Have any of you struggled with situations like this?    Battling a need to measure up?  To be more or the best for your kids?

And on a lighter note… if anybody wants to re-create this awesome thrown together cake… do you have any questions?  Did I miss any details?  Please leave me a comment and I’ll answer and help if I can!

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  1. Kristen Miller says

    I love you, Rose! I remember that week. I know it’s hard to forget those times, days, weeks when you feel like a failure. But just remember not to forget that you are an awesome mommy (a crummy one would not have cared if her child had a party…or a cake…or what it looked like…and it bothered you tremendously). Remember when you think you’re doing it all wrong not to look within yourself…but to look to God…and to look to the incredible children you have for reassurance. Kids who are grounded, loving, creative, helpful, sweet, love the Lord, and who don’t expect the world to be handed to them on a silver platter. That is success! Toby always tells me that you’re not a failure until you stop trying. I sure love you, sweet friend.

  2. Amy Fraunfelter says

    Aw Rose, thank you for this post. Been feeling like a failure as a mommy lately. I just let “life” get in the way of so many things. The important things. You are a super mom Rose ~ why? Cuase you cared so much about your little boys birthday party. Mom’s who dont care are the crappy mom’s.

    • Rose says

      It’s so easy to feel that way, isn’t it? Thank you for your sweet comments and I know you work as hard as I do… we just have to do our best and know that God knows our heart!

  3. Amanda says

    I wouldnt classify this as a disaster AT ALL. Its beautiful and thoughtful and perfectly personal. :) We moms are so tough on ourselves arent we?

    • Rose says

      I try my best to always be honest and real… I think it’s important to let people know that I’m not super woman… I’m just a regular girl who doesn’t always get it right, but I keep trying! Hugs Julie!!

  4. Susan Campbell says

    I often feel like I fail as a mom, but really, when I really think about it, it’s because I’m comparing myself to others. It’s true what Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is a thief of joy.”

    You’re absolutely right – God was looking after you, so you had plenty of cake stashed away! :)

    I often think I couldn’t do what Rose does – Mom of SIX (my hands are full with 2), home schools, bakes – makes homemade mmf – decorates a ton a cakes each week, and is a spiritual leader in your family. But I can’t think about what God has called Rose to do, I have to concentrate on what God has called ME to do and we then help each other along the way.

    Even though we’ve never met in person, I feel like I know you because you’re so real and honest in your writing.

    Oh, and Christian is absolutely adorable…I love that picture of him in his Angry Birds hat!

    • Rose says

      You are absolutely right Susan!! But it’s so, so easy in this internet world to always see everybody’s best and assume it’s their normal. The truth is, most of us only share our best and it’s easy to play the comparison game with that!

  5. Ivette says

    Oh Rose, your not bad mommy at all honey, you are an amazing mom… taking care of 5 kids isnt easy work, and cake decorator, blogger and loving mom and wife. And after all we are humans and sometimes we gonna failed. But as you said our kids dosnt want a perfect cake.. just a cake and have fun with their friends. The beautifull smile of your son face is worth everything, besides that the cake is great, maybe dosnt have perfects ends but that dosnt matters. Everybody got difficult days :) Your story makes me remember when I start to make cakes I always want to made my daughters birthday cakes, but my daughters only like chocolate cake and I wasnt good doing them in those times. In my older daughter birthday I made a chocolate cake covered in buttercream she loves sunflowers so I made a sunflower cake for her, but in those time I only know to do almond fondant, well thing is the cake turn beautifull here is a picture of it : http://tusdulcesideas.blogspot.com/2010/05/bizcocho-con-tema-de-jardin-de.html but when we cut out the taste was awefull, I feel like a failed too.. but my daughter give me a kiss and said: dont worry mommy.. the cake was beautifull and if you take off the fondant taste good, so that what we all did, take off the fondant and eat chocolate cake alone.. lol

  6. Kim says

    Rose, you have SIX children, and I believe you said they are home-schooled??? You also single-handedly run a busy cake business and an amazing blog.

    The words “failure” and “Rose” should never be in the same sentence!!!

  7. Stefania says

    Six children!!!??? Rose you truly are superwoman!! God has blessed you with a talent that you so generously share with others!!!! You have a love for something and it is so transparent. Be confidant…always know that Anything you touch turns to gold! Even when you aren’t having the best of weeks…, you got this girl!!! You were born with a fondant spoon!!!!

  8. Angela Evans says

    Rose, this is just what I needed! I am trying to plan the party for our son who just turned 11. He is having a Minecraft party this Saturday and I don’t really have anything purchased/done yet :( I have lots of ideas but I know it all isn’t going to happen. All he REALLY cares about is getting to spend time with his friends and he wants a Creeper Cake. I know if nothing else, I can make those 2 things happen :) Will I have lots of cute printables and food labels, probably NOT! Would I like to? Sure! Some might think that a SAHM would have more time for party prep but my 3 yo keeps me pretty busy. I can only imagine how busy you are with 6 kids AND your cake business! Don’t be so hard on yourself! My motto is “Do your best and forget the rest” :)

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