I didn't intend to have two posts in a row inspired by someone else's writing, but I couldn't pass this one up!
First, read this wonderful article that multiple friends shared on Facebook which caught my attention:
It's basically about how, if you spend much time on Pinterest, then as a mom you can come up feeling very wanting. But the premise the author pushes is that your children don't quite care about you having the most incredibly creative projects for them and an immaculately organized home with tips and tricks galore. What your kids really care about is you, as their mom, spending time and energy and focus and attention on them.
How much did I need this article? Man alive!
|A Cars themed birthday party; click picture for link to blog about the set-up.|
|From Pinterest, made by user Edith Chet; click image for link to website with pattern.|
The above two images are both from Pinterest. The first picture is of amazing themed party with favors and immaculate and extraordinary decorations galore. The second is a woman who used a pattern to make an amazing first birthday cake for her son. Allow me to show you the two cakes we used on Roger's first birthday:
|The cake we served to guests.|
|The cake that we let Roger dive into.|
So...yeah. Not so very fancy. I had dreamed of some awesome themed party for my first child's first birthday party. But then reality hit in the form of first trimester energy and sickness issues for me, general time issues for our family, and budget constraints. I was going to make a funfetti cake from the box and even that was a bit much so I let my wise husband convince me to get a cake at Costco. One of my baby showers for Roger was football themed, plus this family LOVES football, so it totally made sense. The other cake was leftover from making gluten free cupcakes for Jason and our various GF needing friends. It was perfect for Roger to dive into. Toss in some balloons and streamers and voila, simple party.
I felt kind of bad--how special is that first of all the birthdays supposed to be? There was no theme, no cute decorations, no fancy special anything. It was a very low-key affair. Nothing worth pinning.
|Om nomming away.|
Guess who didn't care? Roger. He was thrilled with his cake, had fun hanging out with the guests who all love and adore him, and he had a good time opening presents. We have fun pictures, and while he's too young to notice now I'm pretty sure he won't care when he's 5 or 15 or 50 that he didn't have a special themed party. As he gets older and has requests I'll do my best to accommodate them but I don't plan on freaking and stressing out about having the "perfect" party.
I don't presume that every mom who has big parties is all momzilla about it. I do remember Kate Gosselin during the days of Jon & Kate Plus 8 lore being a major stress case about needing these perfect, extravagant, "special" birthday parties for her sextuplets (the one I remember had actual pony rides and I think a carnival in their front yard / street). Not many moms are quite the controlling type that Kate is, so I don't presume either that a fun theme means necessarily that I or anyone else would have to be like her.
But there's another, more pressing point on my heart. It's not quite the same as perfect parties, but it's the same heart. A good friend of mine told me once about how, growing up, her parents always put pressure on themselves to do big fancy vacations and give lots of expensive gifts at birthdays and Christmas. She remembers her mom and dad fighting about money during every holiday. On vacations they were totally stressed, trying to fill them with special moments and events and memories, running from place to place and doing tons of things with nary a moment's rest.
|Roger loving his presents.|
My friend told me how she remembers wishing they could just have a few simple presents, or no presents at all, and celebrate as a family. She also wishes vacations could have been about their family being together, not about needing some special event or adventure. She would give back every expensive present, every cool place they went to, every big thing they did, to have had enjoyable family moments minus the stress and fighting.
And that is the heart of things, is it not? I remember writing about beating myself up for not being thin and beautiful enough, but then how much Roger just adored his beloved mama. This isn't really so different. See, I find these same posts on Pinterest, with moms who do these amazing projects with their kids (not to mention women I know and love, Facebook friends, who seem like supermoms when I read about the amazing things they do). I felt like the worst mom alive when we didn't do an advent calendar for Roger's first Christmas. We did not eat special heart themed stuff at Valentine's Day meals. I completely forgot to have anyone in the family wear anything green on St. Patrick's Day (the worst part is we had his birthday party that day so everyone noticed; and you might see that he has green striped PJs on in the above picture but even that was pure coincidence. We just put on the first thing we saw after his post-cake bath so as not to keep guests waiting for presents time). I simply never remember these sorts of things.
It's not an excuse to say, "Well I'm just not that way," actually be kind of lame, never putting effort into doing fun stuff. True, I'm not super into that type of stuff and never have been. But I don't get to judge myself based on the "fun stuff mom" meter. Instead, I get to worship Jesus by praying he'll give me wisdom in what it looks like to be fun and creative and make things special for our children. At the same time, I must always remember that Roger loves me. Few children at age 30 regret not getting special green eggs on St. Patrick's day or a turkey shaped pancake on Thanksgiving morning. A lot of 30 year old people wish their dad hadn't been at work 90 hours a week and that their mom had more time to sit with them, just doing something as simple as coloring a picture and listening to them talk about their day.
This is what Jason and I remember together, and what I loved about the post so much. Our children want us. Even now Roger could care less about how fancy and expensive or even homemade and creative his toys are (his favorite for a few weeks there was an empty Cool Whip container I ran through the dishwasher and give to him, despite the many hours I put into picking the "perfect" birthday presents for him). Roger's biggest desire is already that I pay attention to him, that I snuggle him and play on the floor with him and be silly and make faces and bounce his big, stuffed Angry Birds pig off our heads, etc.
|Mama snuggles during an Easter day waterfront stroll.|
|Daddy kisses bring big smiles!|
Roger adores us. I can attest that my favorite childhood memories are the random moments, like when our family spontaneously had banana splits for dinner. We loved going for drives as a family and that's a tradition Jason and I already love doing with Roger. It's great--he looks out the window and laughs randomly and we love it. I love our family. Even now my best family memories are of the sweet, cuddly moments and not the specially planned things. It's overhearing Jason reading the Bible to Roger and praying with him, or how Roger randomly loves to walk up to me and rest his head on me and snuggle.
So thanks to the author of this blog for the reminder! Next time I see a Pinterest or Facebook or blog post that causes me to start feeling like a failure I'll remember that, first and foremost, it's about worshiping Jesus as the mother he made me to be. Secondly, my kids just want me, to know they are special and loved and worthy of my attention and care. Out of my identity as daughter and desire to be a godly mother do I get the honor of asking Jesus what it looks like to be fun, creative, etc. I pray I never forget these truths!