Forget 18th-century dueling pistols, Moms’ weapons of honor are cake icing tips and fonts at twenty paces.
Why do we do it to ourselves?
The holiday party brings out the competitive edge. Although many schools gave us an out when they started requiring all food be brought labeled from a professional, health department inspected kitchen, we still bust it to bring the best thumbprint cookies Edgar’s can muster.
The party is far worse for a mom who believes one iota of her professional reputation is at stake. I know a cake decorator mom who took over the first grade gingerbread house activity. This was your basic craft with graham crackers being attached to pint milk cartons and trimmed out with gumdrops, but she sought perfection. She actually went back to Wal-Mart three times to return boxes of graham crackers due to an unacceptable number of broken crackers. And wasn’t it apparent to everyone else that the graham crackers had to be intact? Bet she gets everyone’s next birthday cake order, though.
Take another friend, a graphic artist who decided to take over the daycare Mardi Gras celebration. It wasn’t enough to make a miniature parade float out of oatmeal canisters and milk cartons. No, as creative type, she felt she had to represent and make sure her float was OPERABLE. This meant a set of wheels on the bottom with crepe paper fringe and miniature figures on top. And you would have sent your kid to school dragging a painted cereal box on a string? Tsk tsk.
You don’t mess with these moms while they are in this zone. They are beyond reason, unable to see that this is just for the moms because the kids certainly don’t care.
I’m not immune, having recently obligated myself to participate in an upcoming break room bake off. It was presented in the spirit of fun, but then I overheard another girl was consulting back issues of Bon Appetite… and a gentleman is getting his wife to make her signature homemade custard (did you catch that? he has a wife to earn his accolades). Supposedly this authentic masterpiece requires 18 eggs. How I would love to learn she “cheated” and used condensed milk instead!
Oh, it’s on.