I'm not that mom anymore. I'm not the mom throwing the beautiful detailed birthday party. My thank you notes and invitations are not handmade, the food is not themed, the setting is not carefully prepared. Oh, I've done those parties, I've put in the hours. Nope, that mom got tired and went to bed a long time ago.
I got interviewed late this winter for a magazine (which has yet to publish my piece and at this point in the summer, they might as well not- so I hadn't said anything here) about throwing great birthday parties for kids. They wanted to talk about the cake decorating party for Bee and the camping party for Lou. I talked. I went on and on. Weeks later, I wished I could have had that conversation again. I might have mentioned that there's no reason to put quiet that much stress on yourself, no reason you feel like you have to throw a pinterst worthy party, no reason to feel like your three year old will find you negligent if you don't spend hours hand-making the personalized favors. The neighbors won't judge you, your guests wont snicker. Forget it, just book the pizza place in town- let them handle the clean up.
I'm taking the easier route now. For Lou's party this year, I texted out the invites, we pretty much repeated what we did last year (simple cook out, swim, outdoor movie). We invited 4 guests and their families. He wants to hang out with the kids, I want to gab with the moms and hold their babies and Hubby wants to sit back and enjoy some chat with the dads. Win win. I even texted back the thank yous! There's too much pressure on birthday parties. Too much unnecessary stress. I'm all about the easy, enjoy the day, enjoy your friends, eat some treats, chill out kind of parties now.
Maybe it's that my kids are getting older and don't care about the cutesy things I used to do, or the fact that Bee just wants to have friends over for delivery pizza and a movie and couldn't care if I have carefully thought out favors and projects for the girls to do. Nope, they want Taylor Swift on the radio and the parents to hide upstairs so her friends don't feel silly dancing in front of their teacher. Check and check. Can do.
So anyway, all that to say- we texted Lou's thank you notes this year and I don't think a single person wrote to Dear Abby about my manners. In fact, one of the mama's replied immediately, saying "show me how to do that.. I want to make those for my son's party too." Also, I ran into one of his guests mamas at Target and she was buying store bought invites- she said she was over it all too.
So, here's what we did. Lou did some of the work, this year Bee will be asked to make hers by herself. I used a photo editing app called Aviary. It''s free and wonderful and I love it. I took pictures of Lou enjoying his gift or spending his gift card. I edited it appropriately through the app and then used the apps "meme" feature to add simple lines of text. Then we sent them out right from the app.
came up with the pose, checked the picture before approval, and told me what words to write. I had to help him shorten his words- lets cal that a lesson in summarizing. It's a third grade state standard. Another win?
I let it go... all those little details, all the fuss. I'm so glad I did. So if you are needing permission to let it go- permission granted.