Competing with the Pinterest Mums
My daughter has her 5th birthday coming up. I've spent the last few weeks thinking about who to invite to her party (last years class, this years class, the family, the family friends....), been scouring Etsy and Pinterest for ideas on how to best present the theme that she decided she wanted 2 months ago. WHHHHHYYYYYY???! Why do we do this to ourselves? To be honest, I enjoy the planning, I enjoy the baking, I enjoy the whole process. Then the day comes and even though I am a trained primary teacher, I get stressed and anxious with all the kids and trying to organise them all while handing out the food and attempting to have everything run smoothly. My goodness, this is only my 5th year of motherhood!! I already feel like I am chasing my tail. Really, it is no wonder that so many of us find motherhood so stressful. We put so much pressure on ourselves. How many of us remember our 5th birthday parties and how perfectly our parents achieved the theme that we wanted or how successfully we merged the party games with the theme and the food? We spend so much time and effort thinking about and planning these things. Sometimes I wonder whether the most important thing to have come out of a birthday party either as a guest or as the host is the ideas you get for the next party!
These days, so many of us can't afford to own or even live in a house (I am from Sydney.... real estate is bananas here!), many of us are living in apartments which either means our kids parties will be very small or that we have to fork out to have the party at a venue or a park and praying that the weather works in our favour. On top of these expenses, there is the added pressure of whether to hire entertainment, whether to get catering or whether you make the food on your own... if you make the food on your own, presentation and organisation is key!!
Do you remember the days when a backyard party was the way to go? A game of pass the parcel and pin the tail on the donkey, some home made sausage rolls, party pies, fairy bread and lollies. Topped off with the cake, which in my case was chosen from the now vintage Womens Weekly Cake Book? I remember planning the cake that my Mum would make months before my birthday. It was the highlight of my party- as well as the icing on top of the cake... I am literally talking about the actual icing, I still make that stuff to devour without bothering to make the cake!!
I am sure that our mothers still put themselves through many sleepless nights and stress just trying to get it all organised in time but looking back, somehow it seemed simpler. Fruit was cut up like fruit is normally cut up, none of these mermaid wands made from grapes and perfectly rounded watermelon.
I must admit, I have an amazing support network. My parents are phenomenal. My friends are unbelievably supportive. In fact, some of my Mummy friends and I have decided to share the load of our kiddies birthdays. We all will do something at each of the parties, whether it is bringing a plate or running activities or just lending an extra hand on the day. Being a Mum, a single Mum, has taught me the importance of our support networks. I am still terrible at asking for help and possibly even worse at accepting it. This is something that I am working on. I am terrible at picking up the phone and calling those who are important to me, even though they are always on my mind and in my heart.
So, I have decided that we all need to take a breath, use our support networks (if we have it). If there is no support network to lean on when planning a kids party or completing a school project.. anything, just breathe. Lets stop putting so much pressure on ourselves. Lets stop comparing ourselves to the lives that people project on their social media, remember that what people project is not necessarily their reality. There will always be those moments when we think we could have or should have done better, that seems to be a part of the Mummy baggage we are all carrying around. Just do you Mummas, don't put so much pressure on yourselves and don't expect things to be perfect. The cake might not rise but your child probably won't even notice.