Did you see the Facebook album of that kid’s birthday party with the theme, and the matching outfits and the cool DIY signs? I did, about 5 times in the last few weeks. You saw it too, except that it was probably someone else’s kid, because it seems like everyone is throwing picture-perfect parties. Well, not me. We just celebrated my son’s third birthday and a few months ago my daughter’s first, and we had mis-matched plates, cheap plastic utensils, and very little to no decor.
I love my kids. I love them very much, and I want them to have great birthday parties, but themes, and matching everything and perfect things are just not me. At least not at this time in my life. At the end of the day I am exhausted, and making signs, looking for ideas and executing them would give me more anxiety than joy.
The day before my son’s most recent birthday we had our families over to eat cake and open some gifts. I made the cake from scratch, a vanilla layer cake with sour chocolate icing. It was simple, beautiful and absolutely delicious. I was so proud of it.
The next day we took my newly three-year old and a few friends on a 10 minute train ride, then they all had ice cream bars in the train station. It was simple, fun, cute and my son still talks about it 2 weeks later. That night my friend emailed me to let me know how much her son had enjoyed the party and how she liked the fact that it was not over-programmed. I was happy.
But then, these pictures show up in my feed, and I can’t help feeling like I should have at the very least remembered to get balloons for the family party, or ordered a few engineer hats for the kids to wear on the train ride and take home as favors, like I had planned to do but then forgot. At this age my son would not have loved his party any more, but maybe I would have felt a little more accomplished, because even though the kids were all happy, I felt like I had not done enough.
I don’t know where this stress comes from. I remember my own birthday parties, and they were never elaborate, but I always had fun. Maybe it is because all those pictures make it look almost simple to put together a Pinterest party. But we all know it is not, and the mom’s behind those parties have done some serious work.
So what’s a non-pinterest mom to do? I do what I do best, bake awesome cakes, plan something super fun for my kids, and call it a day. When that hint of jealousy hits, I just remember my kid’s face when he first saw the cake I had baked for him, and then again when he got to eat it.
To my friends who do throw magazine-worthy parties, please don’t stop. I am sure you enjoy planning and organizing. Next time, however, please invite me. Your parties are too cute to just experience through a couple of pictures on Facebook.
* Wondering why there aren’t any more pictures in this post? None of the ones I have are good enough to share. Oh well.