A local free publication recently printed an article about a stay-at-home mom who claims to earn $10,000 a month doing… honestly, I don’t know. I saw the headline, but I didn’t read it–it seemed a fallacy to me. It has become the topic of many jokes at work–“Hey! Today’s my last day! I’m going to stay home so I can make $10k/month!”–but nobody has taken it seriously. With good reason.
When I first decided I would leave my job 6 years ago, I had grown miserable leaving my first child at daycare all day, every day. I felt like I had no time with her. It was around that time that we decided to try for our second child–we wanted our kids close in age and with my PCOS, it was debatable whether I could even get pregnant again. Our chances were better within the first two years after our first was born. When I learned what it would cost to put 2 kids into care at the same facility, however, it became very difficult to justify the suffering. I would net just about nothing once daycare was paid–it was pointless. Come the new year, I would leave my job.
By late summer, I had a game plan. January restarted the clock at work and I would take advantage of that, cashing out next year’s vacation time and my accumulated sick time to get us through the first month or two of my transition to being a SAHM. But I was scared. I had had a job since I was 10 years old, first delivering newspapers and babysitting, then moving on to the usual grocery store bagger, video store clerk, and gas station attendant in high school. I always was able to pay my own way. Who would I become without my own source of income?
In trying to find a new identity for myself, I signed on with a well-known party plan company that sells easy-to-prepare food. I’m not much of a salesperson, but I was told the food sold itself–it was easy money. Piece of cake.
It was fairly painless at first. I talked for a few minutes, made some jokes, and passed out the samples. Once the food was out, nobody listened to me anyway. I wasn’t a star, but I did okay with the few parties a month I had. Maybe this would be my way–my chance to contribute to the household while still being able to be there with my kids during the day.
Except I ran out of family to guilt into throwing a party for me. And friends of the family. I never really was able to take off with people I didn’t already have a relationship with. I attended a regional conference in hopes of a boost–by this point, I was 6 months pregnant with my second child and 6 weeks into my “retirement”–but all it left me with was a sense of hollowness. All these women who proclaim success, doing it on the shoulders of those below them. Recruit, recruit, recruit was their battle cry, for surely you could not get ahead without a team of minions beneath you. Sure, some of them had the sales, but how many were inflating their sales with their own purchases just to meet quota? It’s easy enough to get wrapped up in the requirements and try to save your sinking ship by charging up product that you may or may not be able to offload someday. A scary, vicious cycle.
I hung on for another year, but by then I was only barely making quota myself, and had grown a conscience over the ingredients in the products. Convenience is a wonderful thing when you’re not much of a cook and have a young family, but at what price? It wasn’t worth the cost. I did try another food business right after, but that didn’t go anywhere either. While I loved the ethics of this company–they focused on all natural products–I didn’t have the heart for it. I managed to stick to it for a year before I packed up my samples and put away my rolling bag. That was the end of the party plan business model for me.
No, I never did manage to make $10k/month as a stay-at-home mom. Not even $1k. I have no regrets, despite our financial struggles before I returned to work last December. But I would never consider any of these schemes the answer to my problems either. If you enjoy it, it’s a great hobby, but don’t ever present it as more than that–it never will be for the majority of people.
What’s the relevance of all this anyway? The cake. Hot Fudge Pudding Cake. One of the products that lured me into selling for Company #1 was an easy-peasy cake that made its own pudding in the pan. You only had to add water, or something ridiculously simple like that, and you had it. At my “new” job last week, one of my co-workers prepared something that reminded me a lot of this product and my aborted success in the party plan business world. What have I taken away from it, now that I’m traditionally employed again and have left that life behind? You can’t sell what people don’t need–and you don’t need those box mixes, because it’s really not that hard to make your own goodies from scratch. And when you do, you win because you’re keeping those bucks in your own pocket!
Hot Fudge Pudding Cake
- 3/4 cup vanilla sugar
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon butterscotch schnapps
- 1/2 cup vanilla sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar lightly packed
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
- 1 1/4 cups hot water
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Take out an 8x8 baking dish and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the 3/4 cup vanilla sugar, flour, 1/4 cup cocoa, baking powder, and salt.
- Stir in the cream, butter, vanilla extract, and butterscotch schnapps until smooth.
- Pour into baking dish and spread evenly.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the 1/2 cup vanilla sugar, brown sugar, and 1/4 cup cocoa.
- Sprinkle evenly over the batter.
- Pour the hot water over the top--do not stir!
- Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the center is nearly set.
- Remove and let stand for 15 minutes before serving.
- Scoop out cake into bowls and top with sauce in the bottom of the pan. Excellent paired with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.