It’s a month before my daughter’s birthday and I’m pouring over ideas for cupcakes, cake designs, decorations, etc. I’ve got tons of ideas pinned on my Pinterest board. I’ve been inspired by ideas I’ve read in blogs and my “friends” have posted on Facebook. The options for this upcoming birthday party are endless.
This is going to be the perfect birthday party from start to finish, or is it?
My daughter will be turning 1. Who is this party for?
This exact scene plays out in homes all over the country. If you have not fallen victim then you have seen the results of these parties. They are amazingly themed parties that parents have spent hundreds of dollars on and countless hours preparing for. All of this for a child who is turning 1 and who will never remember the party.
In fact they may even miss part of the party because they will be napping or in the tub being cleaned up from their birthday cake mess.
You spend hours designing and preparing fancy “kid treats” for the kid who you have to tell daily not to eat the dog’s food or dirt off the ground.
Maybe for you it’s not an elaborate or expensive birthday party, but have you ever found yourself hours deep into Pinterest looking at cute valentine ideas or treat ideas to send to your child’s school for a Halloween or winter party?
I definitely have.
This doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t do these things.
I am not against parties or cute valentines or fun treat ideas, but I caution parents in a world of Pinterest, blogs and Facebook.
We need to remember the real reason we do things.
We need to be doing them for the right reason. Check out my daughter’s 6th birthday party with a secret agent theme. That was a conscious, family decision to do that work. We did it for the right reasons.
When we plan these big events or elaborate snacks or valentines we think we’re doing these things for the kids, but often we’re not.
If you don’t believe me, volunteer at an elementary school on Valentine’s Day. My eyes were first opened to this when I volunteered at my daughter’s Kindergarten school party.
This is what happens.
The kids pass out their valentines, which they are super proud of.
Then the kids look through the valentines.
The most joy in that room came from seeing who the valentine came from and what was on the valentine. They didn’t care if you made a molded heart out of recycled crayons (cute idea on Pinterest). It didn’t matter if there was a card with a witty saying like “You are “Beary” special” and gummy bears were attached to it. They read the card, take the candy and move on. (Unless its Frozen, because then …. Watch out)
Cassidy is a child who does take the time to look at each valentine over and over and over again. And she doesn’t even discern the difference between store bought $1 valentines and homemade time consuming valentines.
So you have to ask yourself why do you do it?
Are we doing the things we do for our kids, for us or for other parents?
I suggest the next time you find yourself pinning valentine ideas, cute snack ideas, party ideas, etc you ask yourself the following question. WHY AM I DOING THIS?
If your answer is…..it’s for the kids, then ask the following
- Will the kids appreciate this?
- Do I have the time to do this?
- Is it because my child wants to do it? And if so are they helping to do it or am I doing this all alone?
If your answer is…..it’s for me then go ahead and do it.
This means you like to be creative and this is a way for you to have your creative outlet. You better want to do it and have the time to do it.
If your answer is….it’s for the other parents, this is NEVER a good reason.
I’ll be honest it can be hard for us to admit that the reason we want to do something is so that other people are impressed with us, but it is very common. I know I’ve fallen victim to this one and sometimes it is born out of guilt. Since I’m a full-time working mom there are times that I feel guilty for not being around as much and I don’t want to be judged by other parents as not being good enough.
REMEMBER: Doing something just to impress or “keep up with” the other parents is NEVER a good reason to do something.
Since I now ask myself the simple question, “why am I doing this,” I have no guilt when it comes to buying my daughter store-bought valentines or just sending simple snacks for school parties.
My daughter asks for store bought valentines and that is fine by me. However, when it comes to the girls’ birthday parties we do have homemade and decorated cakes because I enjoy it and Cassidy always has a grand opinion on what hers will be.
So the next time you find yourself pinning ideas on Pinterest, marveling at things your friends have created on Facebook or reading ideas on blogs remember to ask yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing.
Be sure you are doing it for the right reasons.
Also, never judge another person for what they are doing because you don’t know their answer to that question. While it may seem ridiculous to do an elaborate 1st birthday party, it might be another mom or dad’s creative outlet. They may have already asked themselves this question.
This simple question has given me the permission to go easier on myself. It has freed up my time from unnecessary projects that I wasn’t doing for the right reasons. Now I am more time for me and my hobbies.