So we had Abby’s 5th birthday party last weekend and it was a huge success. And although I posted pictures and did the whole Facebook/instagram thing with the cake and party pics, I almost didn’t and here’s why. For me (and maybe it’s just the social media circles I’m a part of) I always feel like kid birthday parties are such a source of tension between parents, or specifically moms. If you don’t throw big birthday parties for your kids, or make the cake yourself, it can be easy to feel like a failure (which is not my opinion, but I can see how social media helps people feel that way). So then to compensate, people say things like, “It’s pointless to give your kids a big party or a homemade cake because they won’t remember it anyway” or “I’m sick of all these moms posting their cakes or parties on facebook like they think they’re better than us or something” or “What a waste of money to do all that just for a kid’s birthday” or “You know your kid doesn’t love you more just because of a party, right?” Yep, I’ve seen or heard all these comments–not on my own photos, but in groups, on articles, in general reference to birthday parties for kids, and even in personal conversations (though not with friends–my friends rock!).
But these comments make me wonder about all the people posting photos of their weight-loss success, or creative projects, room makeovers, job promotions, etc. Are they hearing the same kind of comments? Like everyone assumes that if you post some exciting news or a personal success story, it’s because you think you’re better than the rest? Or are things surrounding our kids subject to more criticism because we’re all more sensitve about our parenting? Hasn’t facebook naturally become the platform for us to post our excitement, our hobbies, and our creative ideas? I feel like I read this statement all the time in “mommy” articles online but, “Can’t we just stop all the ‘mom-shaming’?!” Sure, I can understand and even feel how consistently seeing just the highlights of people’s lives can bring out jealous feelings. None of us likes to feel like someone else is “doing life” better than us, or that we’re missing out on some experience, or like we’re not good enough; and social media certainly helps bring these thoughts to the forefront. But of course that shouldn’t excuse the shaming or putting down of another person’s successes or own real-life-highlights.
I’ve always been a creative person. I have creative parents, I married a creative man, and I can even see the creative thinking coming through in my children. I minored in art in college and was even privileged to take art classes abroad. But now, I no longer have time to paint or sketch leisurely. At this point in time, my cakes are my canvases. My parties are my “assignments” and I love trying to make them as fun and beautiful as possible. I don’t think that the way I do parties is the “right” way, and it certainly doesn’t matter whether or not you like to make your own cakes! And I love celebrating with others in their successes, or being able to tell people that they did a great job at something that they post on facebook.
I find it helpful to remind myself of a few things when scrolling my facebook feed: 1) Nobody’s life is perfect. 2) We all have unique gifts and talents and good things going in our lives, and it’s all different. 3) Most likely, the person posting wasn’t thinking of me when they posted a pic or status and so therefore: they aren’t trying to offend me or make me feel inadequate. 4) Complimenting others and giving praise freely FEELS REALLY GOOD. 🙂 5) I find my self-worth in Christ alone. It doesn’t come from “likes” or comments or anything that social media can provide.
It’s not always easy, but when I can remember those 5 things, I have a much happier facebook-scroll experience, and it helps me ignore the negative comments I see or hear. This is how I do parties and it’s fun for me! And I’m grateful that my kids have friends whose parents still take them to our parties even if I might go a little overboard. 😉 To see the pictures and descriptions of Abby’s recent birthday party (and other parties), check them out in the FUN section of my website.
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