This cupcake mix came in handy on a day when I found myself sprawled on my kitchen floor and just had no interest in moving. Do you ever have those days? The days where you spend the them going from task to task, just getting things done, and by the end of it, you’ve lost all energy? I had one of those last Thursday. The problem, of course, being that I had to bake something for Beardy Fiance’s work on Friday. So rather than sitting there, all cozy and enjoying Season 3 of The Wire, I decided to pull out this cupcake box and make a mix.
It was funny, when I started to press my fingers to the bottom of the cupcake case and smooth the graham cracker crust, I started thinking about children: and more specifically, me having children. TV presenter Kirsty Allsopp made the news lately by saying women should think more about their fertility and that she would advise her (hypothetical) daughter to delay attending university and instead focus on having a career and children young. It’s advice that’s ignoring some pretty relevant factors (decent maternity leave and subsidised childcare would help young women a lot more than just telling us that infertility exists), but for me, I think the big unknown of parenthood is fear of exhaustion.
I should preface this by saying that I only have one good friend who has children and while she’s a good friend, we rarely get to see each other in person, so I live in a world that is full of young, childless people. It means that the world of those with small children is something that I know intellectually exists, but feels a bit emotionally inaccessible – like the idea of taking an incredibly long plane trip and changing time zones, a place where even imagining seems slightly out of focus. Yes, partially because money is tight and we literally could not fit a pet into our tiny London flat, much less a baby. But also because of how tiring it is for me to just get through a day, every day. Between study and work and baking and this blog, I sometimes feel as if I’ve been living in a sleep-deprived dream state, where I feel like I’m my own avatar. I can’t imagine having to get home from work and then prepare a dinner to a child’s taste, run the bath for someone else rather than wallowing in one myself. I’m not waiting for the “perfect time” to have children – I’m just want to get to the point where I don’t reach most 9pms and feel like getting dinner together, tidying up and doing some baking are the outer limit of any energy that I could possibly have.
The idea that it can be harder to have children as you get older is definitely out there (thanks every newspaper which likes to tell career women they need to have children as soon as possible – or else!) as is the awareness that having children is exhausting, but “worth it.” What I don’t hear other women talk about is what happens on the days when you feel like leaving the kitchen floor is just too much – how do they handle it? Because I’d like to know how I could do it – and that it’s ok to realise it’s all too much and order pizza – or make cupcakes from a box.
The Hershey S’more Cupcake mix is the latest incarnation of a gourmet cupcake mix – one which is a couple of steps more complicated than regular box mixes. I tend to be skeptical of these – if I’m going to make cupcakes which are more complicated, I may as well make it from scratch, but this one is worth it due to all the different ingredients included: I have the graham cracker crust, the chocolate batter, the marshmallow filling: making all of those would have taken quite a lot longer to do. So I will admit that if I’m going to cut corners and use a box mix, this is one to use: there’s enough layers that you can still feel smug and hardworking!