Mia Freedman: "I got Facebook shamed for my son's birthday cake. Again."

It’s not every day your kid’s birthday cake gets trolled. But that’s currently what’s happening on my Facebook page where a heated debate has broken out over the cake I served at my eight-year-old son’s birthday party at the weekend.

Kids’ birthday cakes tend to bring out extreme emotions in people. They are fertile ground for judgement. I know this because it’s not the first time I’ve been shamed for the cake I’ve served up at my kids’ parties. More about that shortly.

But first, to the most recent cake in question. My youngest child is my third and if you have more than one child or if you have older siblings, you’ll know that the more kids there are, the less attention gets paid down the line until the youngest pretty much raises themself.

For example, just last night my son reminded me that the tooth fairy hadn’t bothered to come last time he lost a tooth (his first) which he unfortunately swallowed. His dad and I looked sheepishly at each other as he tried not to smile while announcing, “Either the tooth fairy forgot to come or mum and dad forgot to leave me money which means the tooth fairy doesn’t exist.”

Ooopsie. Such is the lot of a third child.

So you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that my youngest has never had a home-made birthday cake. My eldest is 18 and we also have a 10-year-old, so the birthday cake novelty (and guilt) has really worn off (for me) due to the sheer number of birthdays we’ve been lucky enough to celebrate with our kids.

For many years now, my go-to in the cake department has been this $4.99 bargain from Woolies.

It comes complete with chocolate icing, the cake is soft and spongy, it's a bloody little ripper. Decorate it with some Smarties or hundreds and thousands, whack in some candles and off you go.

There's never any left at the end of any party at which I have served this cake. I've written about it before. I swear by it.


One time, I posted a photo of it on social media and was immediately shamed for not taking the time to bake my child's birthday cake from scratch. For cutting corners. For not caring enough — about cake, about my child, about birthdays. People were very upset.

This year, however, I've upset people again for a different reason. I wish I had time to be upset by other people's cakes. Think about how awesome that would be for a moment.


OK, back to my story. So when I was in New York for work last month, one of the other mothers in my son's class, emailed me to ask if we'd be away in late September because it was her son's birthday and she was trying to organise dates for his party.

OH SHIT. It was my son's birthday in mid August and that was only... two weeks away. And I'd totally forgotten to organise him a party.

For more stories from imperfect parents, listen to Mamamia's podcast about the chaos of family life, This Glorious Mess. (Post continues after.)

Is anyone with me here? I know there are people who spend many months planning and executing elaborately themed parties for their kids and I would like to shake your hand and then high five you with a palm full of glitter. Really. Because I understand it gives some people an enormous amount of pleasure. No judgement. I'm just not one of you.

So I quickly organise my son's party (a nerf-gun party which is a whole other aspect of shame which I will have to save for another time) and I decide to go all out (prompted no doubt by the niggling guilt of having left it so late) and do something a bit special.

I've started following a few fancy cake places on Instagram lately like @SydneySmashCakes and @unbirthdaybakery and @sparkle_cyanide in much the same way a sad and lonely dude might watch porn. He knows it ain't ever going to happen to him, but he can dream, right?


Sometimes I repost some of their cakes on my Instagram because they're so fun or beautiful and so I thought I would order one for my son's birthday to knock his little socks off. I reached out to Sydney Smash Cakes as a customer and Claudia got back to me and we talked about what my son might like and this is what she made:

So the day of the party came and the cake came out and it was a big hit - literally - and the kids went nuts and today I posted a video on my Facebook page.

Cue: unhappiness.

Some people did not like this cake.

They did not like the concept of it - hitting encourages violence.

They did not like the way it was consumed - in a frenzy of little fingers snatching at the spoils.

They did not like the fact it wasn't home-made.

They did not like that it cost $120 (actually it didn't, Claudia was kind enough to gift it to me as a thank you for the posts I'd done of her cakes in the past which had led to some orders).

They did not like it.

[via Rosie Waterland's iconic Bachelor recaps]

Here are some of their thoughts:

But I did have a few defenders and there were some comments that made me laugh:

The last word goes to my new BFF Rachel McGuire who is possibly my birthday cake spirit animal:

You can check out the comments (there will no doubt be many new ones and join in on my Facebook page here). 

What do you think of the cake?