Birthdays are a big deal to me. They always have been. Most people have their traditions and we are not exceptions. The birthday girl wakes up to her door decorated with streamers and cheesy signs like, “A 9 year old lives here.” Then, we have cake for breakfast followed by presents. The cake is one I bake—the birthday girl picks out which kind she wants, helps bake it and licks the beater. We typically do it the night before and I take it out of the oven and decorate it after she is in bed (that way, she’s somewhat surprised by it in the morning). Nothing unique or awesome—just some basics.
There are other things I’ve had to give up. I used to make the girls’ birthday party invitations. I spent way more money than it would have cost to buy them and spent lots of time shopping for just the right look. This year, Caroline’s friends got and e-Vite and poor Hope’s either got an email or phone call. This is one of those things I grieve—I loved doing them, but not because my girls wanted it—they could honestly care less how their friends get invited, as long as they come. I did it because I love creating something unique and because it filled a need in me that said I was a good mom because I put the time and effort into them.
We have simplified birthdays at the Royal house the past few years. Part of me is relieved, the other part is just sad. I love the planning that goes into figuring out what kind of party bags to send home from Caroline’s Orange party (one of my faves—you’d be amazed at home many orange things I found to put in there) or Hope’s polka dot Pump It Up party. While I love having a party elsewhere, finances have dictated we do them at home. And, judging from how the guests have reacted, they’ve been just as much fun. But, a lot of work.
So, is the work worth it? I truly don’t know and I guess I won’t until my girls are grown and they talk about how fun or how horrible that one birthday was. I wish it were clear cut and as a mom, I just knew what activities would pay the best dividends in the end—then I would know where to invest my time. Would they rather have really cool invitations and themed parties, but have a mom who doesn’t have a lot of patience with their friends or would they rather just go jump in a bunch of bounce houses and come out sweaty?
But, part of being a mom means you do things you later regret. Maybe that’s just part of being a person, but when you’re a mom, the things you regret almost always affect the people you love the most.
I think I need a pay raise…