I bring it on myself. I recognized this as I was planning my son’s fifth birthday. He was over the top about his Star Wars party, and therefore, so was I. There is nothing more special in my book than a kids’ birthday party. Someday I hope my kids look back and say “My mom always really tried to make us feel like we were the most special kid in the Universe on our birthday.” No joke, that’s what I strive for. Making them feel like they rule the world. Well, maybe like they rule THEIRworld. Combine that goal with my over-the-top, type A, neurotic personality and a bit of competitive spirit, well, there you have it. I run myself into the ground. And it’s all worth it.
The planning starts days months beforehand. I finish up my daughter’s birthday in early March and switch gears to my son’s. Not an easy task, when you consider between the two birthdays I also have to contend with my husband’s, dad’s and mom’s birthday, plus mother’s day and father’s day. Add in a full time+ job, work travel, a household to keep running, and daycare to contend with…let’s just say it’s busy. And it’s all worth it.
Birthday parties yield many late nights – decorations, food, cake, cake pops, kid favors, games, themes, all have to be planned, made, done, organized. Music has to be bought or downloaded. Wardrobe has to be planned (I mean, how could you have a Star Wars party without a Star Wars t-shirt for the birthday boy – what kind of mother would I be? Note: that required a stop to get an extra gift.) So yes, I bring it on myself. And it’s all worth it.
The year my son turned three he got up from his nap and looked out his window at a magical kids playland, filled with slip and slides, pools, beach balls, bikes, and a graffiti of outdoor toys. He came running downstairs, looked at me, and said “Mama, I just saw the BEST birthday party outside”. Mission accomplished.
At four, we recreated a similar playland. He woke up from his nap, ran to his window, and said “Mama, my friends are going to think this is the best party ever! They are never going to want to leave”. Mission accomplished.
At five, we created a smaller playland and switched focus to the theme and games. This wasn’t about him running to the window, it was about surprising him and his friends with the experience. It was about Yoda Soda, Light Saber pretzel rods, Death Star Cake Pops (that I found in our spare fridge a day later – never said I was perfect), Yoda’s cookies (that required a stop at Starbucks to beg for green tea powder and cookies that didn’t get eaten), two cakes (one evil, one good), and Princess Punch. And then the real fun stuff – light sabers made out of pool noodles (special thanks to my husband who thought to add the duct tape and draw an on/off button on them), a Jedi training camp, renting a Darth Vader suit for my husband, all creating an experience with Star Wars theme songs playing in the background.