Owen and I just returned from a walk, in which we went to a local bakery to order him a birthday cake.

I am both relieved, and riddled with guilt about this.

How many of you just laughed? Rolled your eyes? I KNOW. But the guilt is real.

We’re having a fairly big party for his first birthday. Between family, friends and their children, at peak party time there will be about 35 people here. I know, he’s not going to remember it. Not one bit. I mean, he’s probably going to go take a nap before the party is even over.

But it’s really more about us than him. It’s a big milestone — our first baby turning one. And it’s a milestone for our family, too — first-time grandparents and aunties celebrating the new life that has brought them joy this year. The friends who are attending either have children around the same age who we turned to over the year for commiseration, advice, or just a laugh, or long-time friends who have watched us go from college sweethearts all the way to parents.

It’s a celebration, and we intend to celebrate hard. (We also intend to just have family parties for him in the future until maybe his 5th birthday or so.)

But back to the guilt. This is my first time throwing a big party like this and I want it to be nice. If the weather holds out (please, oh please), it will be held in our big backyard — burgers and hotdogs on the grill, a table full of salads, pastas and goodies, and kids running around playing wiffle ball and the like. (If it rains, I somehow have to squeeze 35 people into my very small home. The thought is giving me heart palpitations.) I had originally wanted to go all out with a total dog theme, but in the end decided that the party doesn’t need to look like it could be featured in a magazine, it just has to be a good time.

Once I let go of the idea that things had to be “perfect”, I relaxed and started to enjoy it more. I have some great friends who have offered to bring some dishes, so I won’t have to cook as much as I originally thought. The invitation is dog-themed and adorable, there will be dog bone cookies to go home with guests and the cake will be modeled in design after the invite.

(Personal info removed, but you get the idea. Notice the dog is Kodiak? My friend Megan listened to me ramble my idea and then created the pdf for me. She is fabulous — and for hire if you’re interested!)

The cake. The source of my guilt.

It’s a tradition on my family that a baby’s first birthday cake is a carrot cake, homemade with love by their momma. My mom made my cake, she made my sister’s cake. I planned all along to follow in her footsteps and do the same.

Except that….I don’t really like carrot cake. And more importantly, carrots tend to give Owen diaper rash and I can’t think of a worse birthday present than an itchy, sore bum. Happy birthday, kiddo. This is how much I love you.

I started looking around for another “wholesome food” baby cake, but let’s be honest, he’s hardly going to eat any of it, so other than a few bites, the whole cake will be eaten by others. So I caved.

I walked into the bakery and ordered a delicious homemade-but-not-by-me cake which will match the invitation and can be picked up ready to go on the morning of the party.

A huge sense of a relief, a huge sense of failure as a mother.

I know it’s ridiculous, I do. But a small part of me feels like I dropped the ball on this one. Even though I’m telling myself I’ve basically made every last bit of food that’s gone into his mouth over the past year and really, I can pass the baton on this one and cut myself some slack.

Right?

RIGHT?

I’ll make him a cake next year, when he can appreciate it. When I’ll only be baking for a handful of people, rather than a caravan.

I have a feeling the Mommy Guilt will only get worse over the years. I mean, if this isn’t a First World Problem, I don’t know what is. I can’t even imagine what it’s going to feel like when the guilt creeps in over actual important issues.

But for now, I’m just going to have my guilt and eat it too.

I bet it’s delicious.

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