‘Mummy, there’s a cake sale on tomorrow for Red Nose Day… What are you going to bake?’
I glance up from my Facebook feed, my finger hovering nervously over the ‘like’ button. That’s irony for you. The one thing I actively dislike is a school cake sale, no matter how worthwhile the charity is. I’d rather stick a tenner in the bucket. My baking skills are, hmm how shall I put this…. below par. What’s more, I really don’t enjoy seeing my shortcomings on display at 20p a slice.
But not Competitive Mum. She relishes the challenge and she’s not afraid to stay up all hours achieving baking perfection either. If you think the Dad’s Race on Sports Day is brutal, then cop a load of what emerges from her kitchen on cake sale day…
Perfect pink butter icing swirled and twirled like some Instagram masterpiece, grated chocolate shavings (Green & Blacks no less – a liberal helping, but not so much that she’s in danger of offending Healthy Mum), and then of course the piece de la résistance – a dash of edible golden glitter. Oh yes. Competitive Mum plays dirty. Who can resist THAT at 10am? Quelle surprise her cupcakes are always the first to go.
Even their arrival at school is a masterclass in perfection. A clean, clear tupperware cupcake box is proudly unveiled in the lobby at precisely 8:40am (prime exposure time) with her child’s surname emblazoned across the top in neat black sharpie. Competitive Mum wants her efforts to be known. She didn’t sit around watching Broadchurch last night like the rest of us. Nor did she send her husband out at 9pm to buy up half a dozen Tesco brownies to pass off as her own.
Competitive Mum is never short of admirers either. Competitive Mum has a clique, usually of about three or four like-minded mums. Their make-up is always perfect. Their laughter is always loud and confident. The rest of us are in awe of them, and secretly we’re a little bit jealous too. Because we’re all Competitive Mums really (admittedly, some of us more than others.) We may not bake cupcakes until 11pm but we still get a kick out of our little one’s topping the Class Reward Leaderboard or scoring 5/5 for their spelling test.
The difference is the subtlety in our competitiveness. Our skin’s a bit thinner, you see. We’re more socially aware of what’s at stake. There’s further to fall when you stick your kid on a public pedestal because I guarantee they’ll be in disgrace for pushing little Christopher into a pot plant tomorrow.
Nice cupcakes though.