I had a birthday last week (yay me!), and that got me to thinking about birthdays in general which led to thinking about all the birthday parties my kids have had throughout the years which then led me to start worrying about whether all those birthdays had been memorable enough… Making sure they have a spectacular birthday is one of those things that I worry and stress over as a mom. Anyone else? Yeah, I thought so. Every year, I feel like I have to make this year’s birthday better than the last. Now, I don’t mean that I throw lavish my super sweet sixteen style birthday parties, just that I want to make them feel extra special on their special day. There really isn’t anything wrong with it, but I feel like as moms, we put way too much pressure on ourselves to make our kids’ childhoods this magical spectacular thing, and we feel extreme levels of guilt if we feel like we are missing the mark (and usually we feel like we are missing the mark.)
For real, if you sit and think about some of the absolutely minute things you are holding on to and feeling guilty about, things that if other people told you about them you would scoff at them for being so silly as to worry about something so insignificant. Yet. As mothers, we can’t seem to forgive ourselves for the transgressions we would so quickly forgive in others. Want a for instance? When my daughter was three, I took her to Disney World, and when we were touring Minnie’s House she wanted to play with Minnie’s stove. Only the line to play with the stove was really long, and we had fast pass tickets for another ride that were gonna expire soon. So…I didn’t let her get in the oven line, and instead took her to whatever ride we were fast passing. She cried on the way to the other ride, but was over it in a matter of seconds when her attention was caught by some other magical Disney thing. I still feel guilty for not letting her play on Minnie’s oven. When she was three. She is nineteen now, and can barely even remember going to Disney World when she was three, but I still feel guilty for not letting her play on that damn oven. Yeah, mom-guilt is a bitch.
So, when I was spiraling through all of the birthday related incidents that I felt guilty about, I started trying to remember if there were any birthdays from my own childhood that I could remember feeling disappointed with either my party or my gifts. I wanted to see if all my failings as a mother would be these devasting incidents that my children were going to hold onto well into their thirties. Guess what? I don’t remember even one incidence of being disappointed on my birthday, not one. Honestly, I can barely even remember anything about any of my birthdays. I mean I know I had some cool parties, I’ve seen the pictures, but I don’t really have any active memories of them. I definitely don’t have any residual trauma from some birthday cake that wasn’t decorated just so or a gift that wasn’t the exact thing that I wanted. Did those things happen when I was a kid? Yeah, probably. I’m sure if you ask my mom she can give you a running list of all the things that weren’t perfect because she is most likely living with her own endless lists of mom-guilt. But I’m not holding on to any unfulfilled expectations, so it is probably safe to assume that my kids won’t be wallowing in the disappointments of birthdays past when they are adults either.
Anyway, all that rambling really just boils down to my overall point: Give yourself a break, mom. Whatever thing you are feeling guilty about, probably doesn’t really matter that much in the grand scheme of things. You quit worrying about whatever that thing is you’re feeling guilty about, and I will quit beating myself up over Minnie’s stupid ass oven. Deal?