Oh, Pinterest. I love you, I really do. But I also have mixed emotions about you, which manifest as the following thoughts in my mind, over and over again:
“MUST. DO. ALL OF THE THINGS!”
“Ain't nobody got time fo’ dat!”
Last weekend, we celebrated Evelyn’s 3rd birthday with a little get together at home with some close friends. A few weeks ago, when I asked Evelyn what she wanted to do for her birthday, she immediately said she wanted to have a picnic. Since we live in Michigan, where the weather in February is not very conducive to an outdoor event, I thought we could do an indoor picnic and lay blankets on the floor of our living room and have easy to prepare picnic food, like sandwiches, hot dogs, chips, and maybe go really crazy-fancy with ants on a log.
Then, I went on Pinterest. You know, just to get a few more ideas. And my brain went into over-stimulation mode and I just pinned here and pinned there like I was a five year old at Chuck E. Cheese…so many choices! Then, I got sick the week before the party, and I was so so tired, and I was short on time and energy when all was said and done, and I didn't do/make/plan a darn thing that I pinned. And you know what? It was perfectly fine. Completely. No one complained that I didn’t have a DIY table runner that matched the DIY birthday banner that matched the DIY goodie bags. And no one cared that I didn’t have umpteen games planned that all fit the theme. In fact, I had one game. Cup stacking. Kids, here are two dozen red plastic cups (picnic, cups, red...it fit with the theme, right?). Please stack them. You have two minutes. See what you come up with. Annnnd, go! And if anyone had been anal enough to care about those details at a three year old’s birthday party, well, then they might want to consider a career in party planning. Funny enough actually, one of my dear friends who came IS considering a career in party planning. And she didn’t scoff or complain or roll her eyes or ANYTHING, because good friends just get it, and they don’t frown upon non-Pinterest parties.
Also, I had to deviate from the picnic theme a bit, because although I wanted everything to be red and white and checkered if possible, my daughter wanted to throw in some princess pizzazz, because, duh. Hence, princess plates and napkins.
But all in all, our small event turned out just fine, with or without a lot of Pin-spiration, and the most important thing is that the birthday girl enjoyed herself immensely.
I greatly admire the party hosts who tie everything together (I have even been that host myself a few times), and who plan things meticulously to make sure that everything fits a carefully planned theme. There is nothing wrong with doing that. But at the same time, if doing so is stressing you out, or if you’re losing the joy of celebrating your child’s big day, then by all means, give yourself a break. It was so nice to not feel overwhelmed with the preparation and planning and it was a weight off of my shoulders to not feel pressured to make everything live up to Pinterest-worthy standards. It was also hecka-cheap, which the frugal part of me really appreciated.
Here's the description and cost breakdown of the party details:
Decor: birthday banner and some simple pink balloons // $2
Food: picnic fare--hot dogs, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, chips, ants on a log, tuna salad, brownies, juice boxes, bottled waters (plus a fruit tray and cole slaw that were provided by guests) // $25-30
Cake: Evelyn wanted simple pink cupcakes, she got simple pink cupcakes // $4.50 (Note: we have had BEAUTIFUL and elaborate birthday cakes a few times before that I have loved, since we lived in North Carolina and a good friend was an incredibly talented--and super affordable--cake maker, but alas, we are no longer there, so we have to make do with other options.
Goodie bags: brown lunch sacks that I filled with picnic goodies to-go (my intention was to create labels that said, “Thanks for coming to Evelyn’s picnic! Enjoy your next picnic on us too!”...but, it just didn’t happen.) Each party guest got a granola bar, juice box, box of raisins, and a Clementine // $14, with several items left over
So, mamas, if you’re feeling the pressure, don’t be afraid to let some things (or a lot of things) go. Of course, we want our kids to have a great time. We want it to be a memorable day. But I think that’s able to happen with a lot less than we often think.