Following up on yesterday’s post, I am here today to tell you how I have managed to make cupcakes for my coworkers over the past 10 months. That is fourteen batches of cupcakes. There are still six batches to go.
The first step is one of those simple-but-complicated things. You know, the ones that are easy to say but not necessarily easy to do.
You have to want to do it.
I know what they say: “If everything’s important, then nothing is important.” And that is absolutely true. There have been things that are not so important to me now that used to be important to me before. That’s pretty standard with any life change – oh, if only I had a blog when I started this job! – but that doesn’t mean that nothing is allowed to be important. That would be just as equally ridiculous.
Therefore, you need to set a goal. Mine was pretty ambitious – making cupcakes can be somewhat time consuming, especially when you consider clean up, and there were definitely days where dishes were left in the sink until dinner the next day, and I was cussing myself (we’ll get into how I conquered that!)
Yours may be slightly less ambitious. Maybe you want to treat all your coworkers once a month, instead of having it set to a birthday schedule. I did “cheat” on my cupcakes for the people who were born over the Christmas holiday – I brought one batch of cupcakes in to the holiday party for the two birthday ladies (three, if you count me!) – because our building literally would not be open from the time finals ended until the day after New Year’s.
You could make or buy cards. That one would be pretty simple – buying a cache of inexpensive cards that you could keep organized. You could even keep them in your office. Things are easier when they’re non-perishable!
Once you have your goal set, I suggest getting a calendar and writing down all the birthdays. You could set reminders in your phone, if you’re more technologically oriented. The goal is to make sure that you will be reminded, so make note of the birthdays wherever you will actually look. That’s where Drew’s birthday was almost forgotten – I had tucked my calendar away in a binder, and it ended up behind some other papers.
Then ask your coworkers when their birthdays are. Just catch them in the break room, or the hallway, or wherever, and say, “Hi ____! I’m trying not to miss anyone’s birthdays this next (fiscal,/school/calendar) year, and I’m not sure I’ve got yours right. When is it?” If, for some reason, they ask further questions (we have pranksters here, so my coworkers have a right to be suspicious), tell them, “Well, I’m not making any promises, but I’d like to do something to make you and everyone else feel appreciated.”
I will confess, this one was done for me, because the office assistant keeps track on her big calendar, and she gave me a list – but I actually had to cull the list a bit, which brings me to step four: set limits. There are 55 birthdays on the office assistant’s list, plus my two employees who started after the list was made. Some of them are instructors (who are only here one or two nights a week). Some of them are administrative people who don’t actually work at this campus. So I limited the cupcakes to the staff I work with regularly. This is the “core” of our group – the administrative staff downstairs – plus the BSAs, the part-time evening person, the bookstore clerk, the writing tutor, and my two employees in the library.
That still gave me 20 batches of cupcakes, so what do I do to get them made?
First, I split the two halves of the job: the cupcakes get made the evening before, and the frosting gets made and piped the morning of. I usually make the cupcakes after Ana has gone to bed (hence the occasional sink full of dishes). They take, on average, about 35 minutes. Usually that small sacrifice of sleep is worth it, because it gives me a chance to wind down and I sleep better. Plus, the cupcakes can cool fully before frosting.
Then, either I frost the cupcakes before she gets up or while she is having breakfast in her high chair. Frosting cupcakes always seems like a bigger job than it actually is, but it only takes about 15 minutes if the butter has been thawed, and if you use store bought, it’ll take even less.
Ana was already big enough to be eating semi-solid food when I started this, so she was used to being in the high chair, and loves to be in the kitchen with me. I’ll put on some music and dance around and play with her while I’m working. And then it’s quality mommy-baby time, too! Our high chair did have an infant setting though – we just didn’t get it until after she was sitting up on her own. Other options might be a playpen or a bouncer, depending on how big your kitchen is.
I’ve titled this post Part 1 for a reason. It’s something we’ll be coming back to often. The ability to make time, and the best ways to do it will change as your child grows.