A couple of weeks ago I was working on my son’s 6th birthday party. He’d been planning it for a year–seriously–so most of it was nailed down, but we were discussing the cake and he said he just wanted chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.
Sounds reasonable, right? Well, not if you consider the previous cakes we’ve made:
That last one is a doughnut from Angry Birds Space, and by far the most simple, but still, there was a lot of time that went into it. So, he wanted me to just do a plain chocolate cake? But what about something cool and amazing? What about the ooohs and ahhhs from all the parents and kids at the party? A plain chocolate cake doesn’t even follow the theme! (Angry Birds Seasons this time)
When I was having these thoughts and feelings I stopped for a minute and realized that I was doing it for me, not him. I was the one wanting the accolades and praise for having such a cool cake and being so creative. In years past, he was actively involved in choosing parts of the cake and what he wanted, which is how it started in the first place, but not so much this year.
I really struggled with it though, because I like planning events and parties. It’s fun coming up with themes and finding cute decorations and food combinations. So this was part my party too! In the end, I came up with this:
By far the most simple–there isn’t even any fondant! So, even though it wasn’t as impressive as cakes past, I will admit, it was nice not spending hours making and molding fondant birds and pigs.
I thought about this need and desire for praise and doing amazing things for my kids, but hadn’t gotten around to writing about it yet. Then, in the past couple of days I read two other articles posted by others, one called I’m Done Making My Kids Childhood Magical, and the other in response to it, Was Parenting Easier Before Social Media. These articles talk about the sometimes crazy state of parenting these days where your skills and worth as a parent are judged by the amazing things you do for your children, like Elf on a Shelf, or magazine worthy bedrooms or posting awesome daily creations on Instagram.
I definitely know I fall into the this camp. Not the one posting, but the one looking at the postings feeling like I’m not enough. I do like being creative, and I do like making holidays and occasions special for my kids because that’s just how I am. But then I look at what other people do and feel like I need to do more, be more creative and do more special things.
After reading these posts, and thinking about how I am and what I do, I am making a conscious decision to pull back a little. I have three kids, run a business, run a house and try to actually run every once in a while. I don’t have time to keep up with everyone else and compare myself to them. So I’m going to do what I can for ME. What I need/want to do for my own creative and heartfelt desires, not to be praised by others. Not for people to make a big deal about how amazing I am.
I have a feeling it’ll make things run a bit more smoothly and less stressful in our house. We’ll see how it goes!
Do you fall into this trap? What do you do to get out?