Our son Jett turned three last week! Ah, I honestly can’t believe how quickly the past three years have gone by. He’s seriously one of my favorite people on the planet–he brings everyone around him so much joy, keeps us laughing and he’s super cute, too. To celebrate his big day, we planned a family trip to Legoland at the end of the month. We have never been and scored a super great deal to go. Oh and as a teacher, I get in FREE! Heyyyy!!
His birthday fell on a Wednesday, BJ was out of town for work so it was just me & the kiddos. After celebrating with his classmates at school, I asked him, “Jetty where would you like to go today for your birthday, you can pick any place?” His response, “Let’s just go home and eat cookies.”
So that’s what we did, we went home and ate cookies. After about the third cookie, major guilt started setting in, especially when the phone calls and face time dates started pouring in–everyone asking him what we were doing on his special day. He kept replying, “we are just hanging out.”
I kept reminding myself that hanging out and eating cookies and receiving endless hugs and kisses was a great way to spend your birthday.
As the days went on, it was as if every kid was celebrating his/her birthday–big parties, fun parties, invitation, balloons and superhero guests! I wasn’t feeling like mother of the year.
So, I started to scramble–I started to plan. Maybe we can do a pool party at our house, of go to one of those kids places, that would be fun, right? Maybe a park or Chuck E Cheese (yes desperate) THIS would be better for Jett, right?
In reality, this had nothing to do with Jetty and everything to do with me. Jett was happy eating cookies (that were store bought… in case you were like well at least you baked them…I didn’t) He was fine with spending his day on his mommy’s lap.
As I went to store to pick up a slew of vitamins, cleaning supplies and essential oils, because you know a stomach bug that hits the whole family (including the dog!!!) fits perfectly into this scenario , I starred at these store bought cupcakes and had a moment.
Why am I doing this? Who’s standard am I trying to live up to? What is my motive? Am I hoping to make myself feel better about not throwing a big ole shin dig? Who am I trying to impress?
I paused, reflected and I grabbed the store bought cupcakes that were decorated for Valentines Day and headed home. The next morning at the end of church, we sang him happy birthday and ate cupcakes. No party favors, no piñata, just some cupcakes and his favorite friends.
He was happy. I was happy. Those cupcakes were yummy.
When we place unfair and UNNECESSARY expectations on ourselves we lead ourselves to frustration. When our motives are not aligned correctly we begin to force things to happen! And although we might succeed at doing whatever it is we are trying so desperately to do, we end up miserable.
Instead, we ought to fully embrace how we do things. This wasn’t about me not wanting to throw him a party and there is nothing wrong with going all out–if that’s how you want to do it, go for it! It’s more about me forcing something for the sake of doing something. Does that make sense?
So whatever it is that you are doing out of “obligation” or fear of missing out, pause and ask yourself these questions.
1. Who am I doing this for?
2. Who am I trying to impress?
3. What is my motive?
If these answers lead to you do whatever it is, then do it. If they reveal that this isn’t something you HAVE to do or be a part of, or buy or post about on social media, then pass.