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Dear Mama Who is Stressing over your kid’s birthday party,
Oh darlin’. I get it. You want so badly to make your child’s birthday party magical and perfect. And you are stressed out about it. You want everyone there to be blissfully happy. And you want some amazing pictures for your instagram and to grace the pages of a Shutterfly album (which is also on your endless to-do list).
But oh, sweetheart. You. Are. Tired.
Your eyes are glazed over from scouring Pinterest looking for the perfect themes, decorations, and designer treats. Maybe you’ve already put in a ton of time into planning and ordering and have had it. Or, perhaps you are simply realizing all the hours (and $$$$) it’s going to take to put on this dream party.
I seriously know how you feel. I’ve been there and felt the exact same way.
And my friend, I have some great news for you. Unless putting on an amazing party brings you immense joy, you can stop all this planning. You don’t have to sacrifice your life at the alter of children’s birthday parties. And you can still be a rockstar mama. In fact, I would argue that NOT stressing yourself out will actually ultimately bring your child more happiness and will help you be an even better mom than you already are.
And yes, you ARE good mom, already.
But simply put, your child does not need this party. Your child can experience the joy and magic of turning one year older without giving you gray hairs and forcing you into sleep deprivation. Crazy stress is not the only vehicle for a fun and exciting party.
But I get you.
It was 2:30am and I was furiously hand sewing ballet tutus for toy dinosaurs when I suddenly questioned every step in my life that led me to that moment. What on earth was I doing staying up at all hours sewing a tutu for a TOY dinosaur?!?! Despite a headache and serious sleep deprivation, I had been determined to have a picture perfect Ballerina Dinosaur Party for my 4-year-old. Like jerking awake from a deep sleep, suddenly I was looking at the pile of tiny tutus I had spent hour making FOR A DECORATION (*eyeroll*) and I was like “This is ridiculous.”
And it was.
But like so many moms, I got caught up in wanting a picture perfect Pinterest/Instagram-worthy birthday party.
So, some real talk here. I’ve got a question for you to ponder: Who exactly is the fancy birthday party for?
It is for your child? Other moms? Social media? For yourself? A combination?
If I was answering in that moment with the tutus, I would have had to admit it was for all those reasons. While creating a magic experience for my daughter was my primary motivation, if it was my only motivation, I’m 100% certain I would have gone about things differently.
As you well know, kids find joy in the simplest things. A cardboard box or simple kitchen utensils can keep kids busy for hours while the mountains of expensive toys gather dust. I’m telling ya’ mama, your child does not need a fancy party to have fun and feel special.
A better way
Just days after my stressful and exhausting dinosaur party, I went to a birthday party for one of my daughter’s friends. I tell ya, this mom had it figured out. We met at her in-law’s house who had fun playground equipment and they had rented a bouncy castle. As it was morning, they got a few boxes of donuts for the treat. Also, the in-laws had a pony so the birthday girl’s dad guided kids around on little rides while the mom chatted completely stress-free with the other moms and the children joyfully played. No gift bags, organized games, decorations. or photo props. Just a bunch of deliriously happy kids and relaxed parents.
Frankly, this mom was a birthday party ninja.
Okay, I know what you’re about to say. I get that we don’t all have in-laws with playgrounds and horses. Or even funds for a bouncy house rental, for that matter. But, I’m telling you, my friend had birthday parties figured out.
She used the resources that were already easily at her disposal and she kept it super simple. While I ran around my kid’s party, exhausted and frantically trying to go through each activity, my friend sat relaxed and happy, visiting with all the moms. She actually appeared to be enjoying herself. The difference couldn’t have been more stark.
The 3 F’s of a Rockin’ Birthday Party
Can I let you in on a little secret? I’ve come to realize that a successful kid’s birthday party really only needs 3 things: frosting, fun, and friends.
That’s it. Really.
At the end of the day…
So go hug your kid(s) and get some sleep, my friend. You’ve got this.