In just a few weeks, my little blue-eyed wonder will turn 3. Holidays and kids’ birthdays seem to be peak times of motherhood madness and can often bring out the worst in us, replete with the pressure moms feel to make sure the big day goes off as perfectly as possible.
I’ve heard that confession is good for the soul, so in the spirit of keeping it real (and hopefully making moms everywhere feel better about themselves), here is a list of five things my daughter isn’t getting for her birthday:
1. A Pinterest Party
Look, if you have the time and energy to throw a party worth pinning (and more importantly, if that’s what makes you and your birthday boy/girl happy), then by all means, go for it. However, my answer for that list is “none of the above.”
When I was a kid, it was kind of like, “Here’s a cake and a watermelon. Go outside and run around in the sprinkler” (I was a Florida kid with a July birthday). And guess what? We always had an amazing time. I don’t think kids today are all that different, unless we make them so by constantly upping the ante and creating crazy-high expectations for ourselves and them.
For my daughter’s party, I bought Doc McStuffins plates and napkins from Walmart and Doc McStuffins crayons, coloring books, and puzzles from the Dollar Tree. We’ll have toys and balloons out, but there will be no organized games, bouncy houses, Etsy banners, or treat bags. Keep it simple, sisters, and let the kiddos use their imaginations.
2. A Homemade Cake
I baked her for 10 months in my belly. That’s all I’ve got. Truthfully, I admire moms who can do this, but for me, it seems like one more thing to stress out about. The baking seems reasonable, but the idea of icing and decorating a cake by myself gives me nightmares. We’re going with grocery store cupcakes.
3. Caillou Anything
Daaaang, that kid is annoying, amirght? Really, it’s not just Caillou; it’s the entire show. The narrator, the parents, the little sister—they’re all annoying. What were you thinking Canada?! (Upon further consideration, you gave us Ryan Gosling and Ryan Reynolds, so I forgive you.) Anyway, the Ryans are definitely welcome to attend, but Caillou is 100% not on the guest list for this party.
4. A Pet
We just got our girl potty-trained. I really cannot bring anything else that poops into our house. I keep saying to my husband that we will eventually have to provide our daughter with a playmate via sibling or dog, but now is not the time, ladies. Not the time. I want to save my jaunt to the loony bin for when she’s a teenager.
5. An Expensive Gift
Some of the best parenting advice we’ve received came from our pediatrician: Parenting is a marathon, not a sprint. If we surprise our daughter with an iPad or a trip to Disney for her 3rd birthday, what will she expect when she’s 8, 11 or 16? How could we possibly keep that up?
I’m not sure exactly what we will give her for her birthday, but I can tell you that it probably won’t be worth more than about $30. We want her to have fun toys, comfortable clothes, and books that are meaningful to her, but we are also trying to keep the budget bar as low as we can for as long as we can. I know there will come a day when she just has to have that certain brand of sneakers or jeans, and this will be more difficult to navigate, but thankfully, we aren’t there yet. (Not to mention, she will receive gifts from other people as well, and our house can only hold so much stuff.)
While my daughter’s party won’t be decked out in trendy handmade crafts, she will be surrounded by the people she loves. She won’t get a flashy gift, but she will get a gift that makes her feel special. We won’t rent out a gymnasium or an ice skating rink, but we’ll welcome people into her favorite play space—our home. To the world, it may be understated, but to us it’s just right. Besides, if this list helps even one mom to take some pressure off herself, well, that’s just icing on the store-bought cake.
This post originally appeared on Her View From Home.