Sunday, May 22, 2011


We all have things we excel at in "mom world" and then we all have the things that we wish we could do better.  I personally think that most moms spend to much emotional energy beating themselves up for what they are not the best at, and not enough time exploring and celebrating what they do well.  Like right now, I bet you are not thinking about your strengths.  You are probably thinking of what you think you stink at.


For example, I am not the "Birthday Party" mom.  I came to this realization this past year.  You say the words birthday party, and I immediately feel anxious, nervous, and inferior.  It is not a cool thing to admit at playgroup.  A birthday party is supposed to be the pinnacle of each passing year.  Most moms eat this up.  They plan for it all year long.  They can't wait to turn their backyard into Willy Wonka's magical kingdom.  Me, not so much. How do they have time for that?  Most days I feel like I can barely keep my head above water trying to meet our basic needs.  What is wrong with me?

The answer is - nothing.  Nothing is wrong with me.  It is just a fact about me. So this year I dropped the pretense.  I asked my kids what they wanted and I did it.  I added no embellishments or surprises.  Child #1 wanted a bike riding party and instead of cake he asked for donuts.  Done.  Child #2 wanted to have his party at home and play Pin The Tail On The Donkey.  Done.  The preparation was bliss.  The price was perfect.  The real test came on party day.  Could I really let the other moms see how lame my party was?

I will admit, at the first party I was a nervous wreck.  I was pretty sure that it was chaotic and that the neighbors would be talking about the donuts for weeks.  I served them straight out of the Walmart box for crying out loud. By the second party I was more emotionally prepared.  I kept repeating over and over, "Its not about me... Its not about me..."  When party number three rolled around I was golden.  I had embraced my "Not Birthday Mom" identity.  I would even say to people, "Birthday parties are not my thing. They give me anxiety attacks!!" Freedom at last and it appeared I had not done any permanent damage to my kids.

When I began stripping down the whole birthday process in my mind I realized that the reason my kids did not miss the bells and whistles is because I did not remove the things that made them feel special.  They all declared the parties to be, "The Best EVER!"  And then came my ah-ha moment: my kids feel secure and loved not because of what I do one day a year, but because what I do the other 364.  I am consistent.  I value their hearts and minds on a daily basis, and that is the best gift of all. 

I have learned that just because I recognize another mom's "Birthday Party Mom" strength, it does not mean that I am admitting a weakness.  It is just a fact.  It is not a negative.  I am not an Olympic Gold Medalist.  I am not the winner of the Nobel Prize.  I am not "Birthday Party" mom.  I am however divinely created to be the exact mom that my kids need me to be.  That is what I will choose to dwell on, celebrate, and nurture. The truth is that we have fantastic fun filled parties at our home, Martha Stewart will not be calling for tips, and my measure as a mother has absolutely nothing to do with either one of these.

My hat is off to you "Birthday Party Moms" out there.  Please invite me to your parties!  I love them!  But consider yourself warned.  When your husband asks if he should eat before he comes to one of my birthday parties the answer is yes and you might want to grab a bottle of water too. ;)

1 comment:

  1. So true, so true! I asked for a lot of help this year, and let a lot of things go for the first birthday party, and I think everyone had fun. My kid sure did. You are also right about our focus. I'm going to make a point to sit down and think of the mothering traits I am great at, and focus on that more. (Well, I'll give it an honest try, anyway.) Love this post. You're a great writer!