When Mom Strikes

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Most of us are surrounded by well meaning family and friends. These are the people who want to see us succeed, who come to our rescue when we’re falling apart and who are the first people we turn to when we want an opinion. While it’s essential to have a support network, it’s also important to remember where this well meaning advice and “help” is coming from.

Sometimes all it takes is a misguided comment from a friend or family member to totally unhinge us, and in rush the twin jerks known as self doubt and fear.  I refer to those people as, “they were holding the pin which burst my bubble of happiness.” We’ve all got THAT friend or THAT family member or partner who seems to have a never-ending supply of pins. Of course, once they bring out the pin, we torture ourselves even more by asking for second, third and fourth opinions from a bunch of random strangers on the internet, most of whom are also holding pins.

“My husband says this cake is just okay. I thought it was pretty good? Do you think I should add more flowers? Now I think it might not be that great. How can I fix this? PLEASE HELP, pick up is in an hour.”

“My sister says I charged too much. Should I give the customer a refund?”

“My cousin is all mad because she thinks I should give her a discount. Now I’m feeling really bad.”

And so on and on and on…we’ve all been the recipients of these wonderful “gifts” of pins now and again. We ask for their opinions because we love them, we value their opinion on other things, and they are usually close enough that it’s easy to get an immediate response. When we work from home this gets even more difficult because those adults might be the only ones we see or talk to all day. The problem comes when we don’t consider that their point of view is not the important one here – the important one is that of your client. THEY need to be the one who thinks the cake looks good and the price is right.  We forget that our sisters, mothers and cousins have been around our cake ALL the time, so their opinion of what is amazing and what isn’t is also a little biased. My daughter Claire claims I’ve made her into a “cake snob” and so she’s super critical of perfectly good cakes. When it comes to money, what THEY might spend on a cake with you is far less than a customer might … because they are family and (insert eye roll) they think they’d never pay full price anyway or they see how “easy” is is for you and think everyone else is overcharging.

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Here’s the thing. your cousin isn’t the one who writes the quotes or stays up until midnight making all those tiny sugarpaste petals. Your Mom isn’t the one doing your accounting (unless she’s a bookkeeper or accountant) and your husband, while well meaning… isn’t going to be all that excited about a 3 tier floral cake lace extravaganza while he’s busy trying to make dinner or keep the kids from killing one another. Looking at it from a more positive point of view, your Mom is more likely to tell you that your cake wreck looks AMAZING because in her eyes, you can do no wrong. Delivering the wreck to a client is not doing you any favours though! Your grandmother telling you you’ll never make a success out of yourself or your business might come from her own story of fear…and yet hearing that from her might stop you in her tracks because you want (need) her to believe in you.

In short … their opinions aren’t all that valuable and can cause more harm than good. 

The love and opinions of these people should matter when it comes to things like house, home and family …but cake and business, not so much.  Unless they are actually working IN that business with you or the decisions you need to make directly affect them (taking out loans, opening store fronts, needing childcare while you go and teach) then I’m afraid that what they say has no real bearing.

So do you never ask their opinions on things? If you can resist it, then sure – but if you’re like me and need to know what the thoughts of everyone in a ten mile radius is, then go ahead and ask…but take their answers with a BIG OLD BOULDER of salt and try to remember that their opinion isn’t necessarily that of the people you truly need to hear from.

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