Boxed cakes, balance beams, and doing it all.

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This is the cake I made for my one year old daughter’s birthday. It was from a box.  I frosted it and put sprinkles from valentines day on it. Go ahead, I’ll wait for you to pin it. You can call your pin “epic boxed cake with canned frosting, valentine’s sprinkles, and candle.”
boxed cakes, balance beams, and doing it all

I could use the excuse that she’s the second born and say I threw an elaborately themed first birthday party a la pinterest, but that would be a lie. I didn’t even make a cake for our first. My mom did. Or maybe she bought one. I don’t remember.

Here’s the thing: I love hosting and having people over; in fact, I like almost any excuse for people to get together.

But, throwing pinterest-style birthday parties for one year olds? Not my thing. It’s great if it’s your thing. They’re fun and the pictures are gosh-darn adorable. But it’s not my thing (right now).

And if it’s not your thing either, dear mom of little ones, THAT’S OKAY!!!!!!! Let it go.

There is pressure on our generation to do it all.

We are so rushed, so hurried, so crammed. It’s so easy to go from one thing to next, kinda sorta doing everything, but doing none of it well.

Can I encourage you with this?

Stop. Breathe. Rest.

Create space in your life. Pick a couple things and do them well. Let’s stop trying to do it all because… well, frankly, we can’t.

The truth is, this whole not-doing-everything-thing REALLY didn’t come naturally for me. I am as prone to to-do list making, over-achieving, performance-driving craziness as the next type A first born.

I prefer to be on the go and do everything with maximum efficiency all the time. Ha! 🙂

It’s probably taken me 3 or 4 years of knowing less is more and wanting to do well at less things for me to begin to default to this whole picking and choosing thing. And it’s only just becoming more ‘natural.’

As I’ve reaped the benefits of creating intentional margin, saying no, and choosing what’s important, it’s what I crave now. Hopefully, you’re a faster learner than me.

Jen Hatmaker articulates this idea really well. In her book, For The Love, which is hilarious and worth reading, she talks about balance with a metaphor of a balance beam.

“Balance. It’s like a unicorn; we’ve heard about it, everyone talks about it, and makes airbrushed T-shirts celebrating it, it seems super rad, but we haven’t actually seen one. I’m beginning to think it isn’t a thing… we cannot do it all, have it all, or master it all… I’m not doing it all. Who could? I can’t. You can’t. I decided what tricks belonged on my beam and dropped the rest or figured out a way to delegate.”  (p.4-5)

She went on to describe what’s “on and off” her beam during this current season of her life.

This chapter was so so helpful to me. She so clearly articulated this idea I’d been thinking about for a while – the idea of choosing a few things to do well instead of juggling all the things and always feeling like you’re failing.

So, when I found that old picture of Emma’s cake, it reminded me about my beam.

What’s on my beam?

Fancy toddler birthday parties and cakes: off my beam.

Celebrations of my children because I love them and we want to celebrate their lives: on the beam.

Time away with my husband: on the beam

Investing in a few close friendships: on the beam

Reading & Writing regularly: on the beam

Teaching piano: off the beam

Sparkly clean house: off the beam

Worshipping Jesus at church sunday: on the beam

Going to a million church-related activities during the week: off the beam

Dinner as a family: on the beam

Dinner that takes more than 20 minutes to make: off the beam

Get the idea?

If throwing elaborate infant parties is your thing, great. Will you please invite me? Because I think they are so adorable.

It’s just not my thing. My thing is boxed cakes. Boxed cakes and brownies are my jam. I have 3 boxes in my cabinet right now, just in case someone randomly comes over and I need to make an emergency cake. Come on over, I’m prepared. I will make you an amazing boxed cake.

Friends, we have to know our season.

We have to think realistically about our present. Ask God for discernment about what stays and what goes.

  • What season are you in?
  • What does that mean for you and your balance beam?

You only have 18-ish waking hours in a day. Choose wisely how you spend your time. Be intentional about it.

So, what’s on or off your beam? What’s the hardest thing to let go of?

P.S.  2 or 3 years ago, I might have been tempted to make you feel bad that your thing was dumb because it wasn’t my thing. The Lord has shown me criticizing in that manner is the result of pride. Of thinking I’m better than someone else. #honesty

Lately, I feel tired of what I’d call the “mommy wars.” Tired of people criticizing other people over things that don’t matter like what products you clean your house with, and your sleep training methods. It’s so un-Christlike and unloving. If I criticized you over something like that, I’m sorry. Because there are better things to do than jealously criticize people who make pretty cakes.

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2 thoughts on “Boxed cakes, balance beams, and doing it all.”

  1. The comments on my site are turned off now, but I'd love to hear from you on Instagram! Follow me there & tag me in a comment or DM me. Xo I'm @MrsReneeCook on Instagram!
  2. I so can relate. (A clean house super stresses me out. Like, heart races and I want to be crabby at everyone in sight. haha) but I’m learning to let go. It’s for a season. Thanks for sharing 🙂
    Can’t wait to hear what you think about the book!!

  3. This really spoke to my heart. I definitely have the tendency to want to do it all and I beat myself up about every little thing not being perfect. It’s something I’ve been working hard at this year and some days are better than others. I love focusing on those few important things and letting the others go (clean house is a big struggle for me, the mess stresses me out!). I’ve heard from several people that Jen’s book is a must read. I’m getting on the library waiting list today because that’s how I roll too.

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