Taking Deep Breaths and Planning the First Birthday Party

My sister's (center) first birthday party with...
A first birthday party from1945 – Obvioulsy pre-Pinterest. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last year around this time I was taking deep breaths to prepare for birth. I would lay (Lie? I can never get that grammatically correct) peacefully on my bed listening to beautiful mindful mediations while inhaling aromatic essential oils.

This year, I’m taking deep breaths while cutting-out birthday banners and failing test batch after test batch of baby-friendly cupcakes. It’s not exactly the pleasant experience that I had last year. These deep breaths are more to keep me from going nuclear.

I told myself I wasn’t going to obsess. Remember?

It hasn’t been easy.

Especially, when I frequent first birthday parties and SEE the Pintastical celebrations before my very own eyes! I’ve successfully avoided Pinterest in my home but it explodes all over my face when I go to these parties. It’s hard, friends. Like a recovering alcoholic being asked to attend Mardi Gras. It’s cruel.

But, there is hope for me! AND if you struggle with Pin-oholic-ism then you have hope too!

Here is how I’ve successfully (so far) not let this party rule my life:

1. Have a Support System. Seriously, I have a friend who’s like my “sponsor.” I’ve literally had to call her and receive encouragement so that I would keep my priorities straight. My number one priority being: enjoying the season of my son’s first birthday, not just the day of the party but the week leading up to and following it.

2. Make a List and Stick to It. Many moms have told me that it’s those last-minute add-on DIY projects that “seem so easy” that never fail to impart much un-needed stress. The details are great and all but they’re not worth stressing over and they probably won’t make the party any more fun for the guests anyway. Make a list of the things that are important and do those things WELL. If you have extra time before the party, use it to ENJOY YOUR KID, not to do more projects.

3. Borrow Stuff and Helping Hands. This advice comes from one of my Mama tribe-mates who has thrown many birthday parties. Instead of doing everything yourself, reach-out to other moms. So many of us have left-over party supplies collecting dust. This puts those items to use again and relieves stress from the hostess. And better yet, if people are willing to donate time to help, don’t be ashamed to welcome it! It takes a village people! (I’m really just shouting that to myself but if it helps you too that’s awesome)

4. Take a Look Within. Wow, that’s deep I know. But you know what? I’ve discovered that as stoked as I am for Luca’s first birthday, I’m actually also kind of sad. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the day I had to call my “sponsor” was the same day that I felt grief over the fact that Luca isn’t really a baby anymore. It’s sad to think that I can’t ever turn back time, even for just a moment, to snuggle him as a baby. As much as I LOVE the season he’s in, I must admit that I will miss the other seasons we have weathered. I think that sometimes, I find ways to avoid my pain by distracting myself. This party could be the perfect opportunity but I’m not going to let it. I’m going to feel all of the emotions that come with this day: Joy, Sorrow, Excitement, Relief, Grief, and Anticipation. They’re all in there and that’s cool with me!

5. Be Honest About Your Shortcomings. Like I mentioned earlier, I’ve failed way to many attempts at making gluten-free vegan cupcakes for these babies. So you know what? I made peace with my lame baking skills and we decided to order cupcakes. Hallelujah! Sure, it’s more money than we had wanted to spend, but it’s absolutely worth the payoff: relaxed Mama!

Well, that’s all I have for now. I’ll let you know how it actually all goes down. Hopefully I can keep my cool the day of. If any of you veteran Mamas have more advice, please share!


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