All right, the pressure is on! My child’s first birthday will be here in less than a month and I am beginning to feel the pressure to produce an amazing party. I am not sure where all of this pressure is originally generated but I can attest to the fact that the pressure is real. The sad part about the entire thing is that my son isn’t even aware that such a monumental birthday is looming in his near future, nor does he have any expectations in regards to the celebration of the anniversary of his birth. However, I know that it is up to me to make this celebration a success. This is how it begins isn’t it? That pressure that mothers carry their entire lives, the pressure that relates to whether or not we as moms did enough for our children begins with the task of making sure the first birthday of your child is a success. This can ultimately impact my child’s self esteem and determine which college/university he will be accepted to later in life! I know it sounds extreme, but maybe it’s the hormones that cause me to go through this crazy thought process. (We all know that it can’t just be the hormones, can it?)
No matter how hard I try not to measure my child up to societal standards, I still can’t help but glance at the guidelines for his age. Should he be walking now? How many words should he be able to speak? When should I begin potty training? Is it normal for him to cry so much, will that mean that he isn’t a stable, tough child? The questions go on and on and a parent could really drive himself crazy attempting to meet all the standards that are set out there. Not to mention, we will probably also drive our children crazy in the process. What I try to remind myself is that people will often only tell you the great things about their children. This philosophy is similar to the popularity of reality television. People can help make themselves feel better if they are able to make you feel inadequate about your own child’s development. Sad principle but it is very true, because everyone wants to be perceived as successful in some realm and we all can’t be superstars, so why not make your neighbor or friend feel inadequate in efforts to feel better about yourself and your life choices?
Even though my rational mind is aware of all of these idiosyncrasies, I still find myself needing to plan an amazing birthday party for my son. I have friends with one year olds who have set the bar rather high with their themes and plans for their children’s first birthday parties and I don’t want to disappoint. I don’t want my child to look back at pictures and say “why are you and daddy the only people at my party and what are you both wearing?!!!” Unfortunately, whenever I try to pull my husband into this conversation, he just looks at me as if I am crazy and continues to work on his computer. Obviously, he doesn’t mind if our child doesn’t get into Harvard Law School and a regular state school would be just fine with him, well not for me because I know that our son is brilliant (just go along with me on this one-remember I am pregnant and emotional). Basically, the bottom line is that all the pressures of our child’s success must again lie upon my shoulders.
I know that in the grand scheme of things this is a silly subject to stress over. However, I realize that my innate personality plays a strong role in this need to be the best and mom that I can for my son. It is almost impossible for to want anything but the absolute best of everything for my child (as long as it’s in the budget of course). I just have this unrelenting need to protect my son from all the negative things that I experienced growing up. Logically, I know that this is impossible but “knowing better” still doesn’t quell that need to protect your child. If you think of the times when you felt inadequate, different or out of place as a child, you can’t help but want to do all you can to limit your child from those experiences. I agree that we need these experiences to grow as adults and be ready to handle real world experiences. However, I also believe that too many negative interactions in our childhood upbringing can ultimately lead to increased feelings of insecurity and decreased self-esteem.
Therefore, the only logical way to limit this doomed outlook is to throw the best first birthday ever with an amazing theme, cake and most importantly friends and family. Despite the money I may spend on this extravaganza, and it won’t be anything like P Diddy would do for his children, I know that the most important part of this day is enjoying my time with my child and my family. Oh, and, a great “Backyardigans” Cake wouldn’t hurt either!