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Taking on Too Much – What I Learned From My Daughter’s 1st Birthday Party

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My daughter turned one on Monday.  I’m still recovering.

No, this is not a discussion about how I’m sad that she’s getting older, or missing the good ole days when I could set her down and she would stay there.  I’m still recovering from the party that I threw.

I don’t know what came over me. Maybe it was years of seeing Martha Stewart, and reading Real Simple. Maybe it was all of the images of perfect lives on Pinterest, or the beautiful mom blogs depicting perfect cupcakes, flowers, and decorations.

For some reason, I decided that this was my chance to throw the “perfect child’s birthday party.” Ugh. I’m tired just reading it.

So I scoured Pinterest and Etsy, picked a theme, created 6 different to-do lists and worked my tail off to throw the first birthday party to end all birthday parties….the one candle to rule them all.

I had big dreams of posting pictures of my beautiful perfect party all over my blog, and having all of you think “wow, she really has it all together…”

30 people, 11 lbs home cooked bbq, 2 salads, 35 home baked and decorated cupcakes, 2 banners that I had printed, cut out and strung myself, 1 chalkboard baby sign, 50 paper butterfly cutouts, 10 hand-written-cleverly-thought-out food cards, I could go on…but I think you get it.  Check out my pictures below…

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And then, at the end of the entire party, I didn’t feel like I thought I would.  Our friends came, they saw, they ate, they drank.  And I spent the entire party trying to impress them with my perfection.

I was so overloaded, stressed, exhausted, and pumped full of caffeine to keep me awake and alcohol to calm my nerves…that I didn’t have the energy to connect with people.DSC_0022

I spent so much time and energy on my perfect party that I had none left to enjoy the moment. Holy shit, my daughter is one.  I never stood back and fully took that in.DSC_1146

This has me thinking about what is really important in life.  Why did I work so hard to create this “perfect party?” I did it because I wanted people to see me a certain way. I wanted people to like me. I wanted people to connect with me. I wanted people to accept me.

The funny thing is that what I did – the trendy pictures on close pins, the gourmet bbq, the wildflowers in cute mason jars strung up in the trees – none of that crap got me what I truly wanted.  In reality, it kept me from what I wanted.

I enjoyed some of the “perfect party” prep. I liked letting my creativity run rampant. I liked using craft scissors and an exacto knife. But what I liked the most was the fact that I was celebrating my amazing family.

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The party was about connection. It was about celebration.  It was about creating lasting memories and enjoying the life that I have created.

It was a great lesson, and a first for me as a new mom.  Instead of pursuing the perfect image, I want to pursue what makes me and my family feel the most alive, connected and celebrated. I want to pursue what really matters.

 

 

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