Monday, June 3, 2013

Birthday parties

I love being a mom.  It's been exhausting and sometimes very stressful - but I've really enjoyed it so far.  I (usually) don't mind the homework, getting ready to leave in the morning - even stand-offs over food.  Well, my life would be easier without the stand-offs over food, but I digress.  I'm happy to continue to introduce new and interesting foods (and particularly healthy foods) for my kids to eat.  It's my job as a parent. 

And my kids are at a good age at the moment.  We can have conversations.  Of course, some of those conversations I was not ready to have just yet. 

But we go out and have adventures.   We go to parks, fairs, museums. 

So aside from cleaning (which is more difficult with young kids), I think that this birthday party thing is really stressful for me.  I think I'm going to give myself permission to put it on hiatus for the next few years.

We just had a birthday party for my kids.  It went well.  Expectations were properly set ahead of time - I was prepared (we didn't have a swim party because of the weather AND because it would be too difficult to coordinate). This is the third fourth birthday party (not just family) that we've had - and each one is stressful for me.  I've had help - I've had multiple adults help each time. Nothing has gone wrong - aside from fewer people attending than I expected.

I have no idea why birthday parties in particular are stressful for me.  I love having my friends over for parties - we host them regularly. 

I suppose it's that I keep going to other children's birthday parties and thinking "I could do this - this wouldn't be too stressful".  And yet - in the end, it ends up being stressful for me.  And I'm not even making a cake from scratch or homemade party favors. 

So this is my confession - I think I need to let this one go.  My kids will be just fine if they only have a few more birthdays or birthday parties with friends.  We still celebrate the birthdays with family - I even sent treats with them to school.  I know it means a lot to them (which is why they are insistent). 

But my time and mental energy are also important.  And it can't be useful to have a mom who is stressed out - living up to other people's expectations.   It's another case of - it's a good idea in theory, but in practice it doesn't work as well.  I'm giving myself permission to say no to this one. 


C. L. Hanson said...

I completely relate. My mom used to do these amazing birthday parties for me and my siblings when I was little (theme decorations, games, party favors, and cake -- all homemade) and we'd invite all the girls in the class. I can't imagine doing that (though some of the other mothers at my kids' school do some amazing things).

We just pick a couple of families that we're friends with and go to one of those indoor playgrounds. My kids never want more than a couple of friends at their parties anyway.

Freckle Face Girl said...

I decided not to host any birthday parties this year either. I don't know why it is so stressful. We only invite very close friends that are practically like family. My stress comes mainly from packing people into my small house and spending more money than I have on food. Since we don't have any family around, I decided we'd just to a movie party. A few of my close friends dropped their kids off and went out on dates. We ate pizza watched a movie and even had a cookie cake. They loved it & I felt no stress.

Anonymous said...

My mother informed me when I was twelve that was my last birthday party. I do not blame her one bit. I enjoyed having an insane number of people over for my son's first birthday (seven kids aged 1-13 and eight grownups), but I set firm times for the party (only two hours), and we had no actual activities or favors or anything. I'm not really looking forward to parties that require actual planning.