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No Pinterest, No Party

June 15, 2013

I don’t know anything about Pinterest.

Correction, I don’t want to know anything about Pinterest. Or at least, any more than I already do.

I know you find pictures of wedding flowers and dream kitchens and Hallmark sayings and tack them up to an imaginary board. I know people can look at your boards (I think?) and maybe you can even have a group board about kittens you love or new shoes a whole group of girlfriends want to buy.

Here’s the only other thing I know about Pinterest, which is why I refuse to sign up for it:

It’s a place where women compete with each other.

Not even kidding with you. It is the mecca of woman against woman, my home is prettier than your home, I make a better made-from-scratch-handmade-handtossed-whatever-you-want-to-call-it soufflé cake thingy than you do.

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As a new mom, I’m still learning the ropes as to what makes me a better mother than you. I’m learning (slowly) the ways in which mothers compete with each other for honor and public glory. I am learning there is sacred ground only the fiercest competitors tread. Should you dare to aspire to such greatness, your Pinterest board better damn well be stocked with goodies – and they better be more original and require more hours of labor – than the Mommy pinning next to you. This is the ultimate Mommy Competition Event. Friends, we speak of it in only a whisper. This is The One Year Old’s Birthday Party.

At this point in the journey, this is what makes me or breaks me as a mother. That’s right, ladies. Wo-man your battle stations. Get our your glue guns, your paper cutters, and your most impressive Pinned recipes because, as I am learning, my generation of women go ALL OUT for the one year birthday party. All out.

This year, I received 3 mail-delivered perfectly fonted invitations to one-year-old birthday parties. THREE. These were not email invites or Facebook event groups, these were invitations. Like, fancier than my wedding invitations, invitations. The birthdays had themes – themes! – of which party goers were asked to be aware as they prepared to attend and gift shop. Each invite had multiple pictures of the sweet little one – from birth to year 1 – and all had some sort of a quote from the Bible or Dr. Seuss or Winnie the Pooh. Not that these are not honorable literary choices, but friends…

what the what?!?!

These are one year olds. One year olds. Since when does a one year old care about his or her own birthday party? Does a one-year-old care about the invitations we design and pay for on Shutterfly? Do one-year-olds care that his or her first birthday is covered in barnyard animals or Disney princesses or that you turned his bathtub into a pirate boat for other one-year-olds to finger paint in? Do you think your baby will even remember this event?

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If you answered no to any of those questions (as I have done), then you will join me in the only logical conclusion I can draw to the question of the One Year Birthday Party:

it’s about the mothers.

This is a Mommy thing. These are parent parties. These are Pinterest-inspired, female competitions where we pretend it’s all about the kids. We pretend to decorate and glitter and bedazzle to make it so special for our big 1-year-old boy or girl. Bologna. It’s about the mothers.

I’ve attended a few of these One Year Birthdays. There have been upwards of 30 people at all of them. 30 people! My baby doesn’t even know 6 people, well alone 30. One birthday I attended the baby was sick – that’s right, sick. And the poor thing was forced to be at this rented out room in his little party get-up outfit with boogies running down his nose and tears in his eyes because he felt so miserable. Think he cared about his One Year Birthday bash then? Think he noticed the costumes for the photo booth in the corner while he was trying to find a way to breathe through his congestion on Mom’s shoulder? Think he took notes of the new dress Mommy bought to accompany her fabulous new manicure for his ever-so-memorable event? No and no.

It’s not that I’m against birthday parties. I love birthday parties. Cake, ice cream, balloons, Jumpy Houses – yes, yes, and yes. I can’t wait to throw my son a birthday party when he’s old enough to remember it. I see a piñata on the tree, goodie bags for his friends to go home with, tons of outdoor games, and perhaps a water-balloon fight – this is my vision of his first real birthday party. I see him running around, laughing and talking and chasing his buddies with soccer balls or lightsabers. I’m not able to imagine myself out there, in some fab glam new dress, sipping Pinot and laughing with 30 of my closest friends. I don’t see a theme or a good quote or an Instagram-worthy homemade cake I just happened to whip up the night before.

I see lots of little people – my son’s people. I see boys playing. I see old fold-up card tables and my husband bent over a kickball base, trying to re-position it after a kid slid into it a little too hard. I see togetherness. I see my son smiling.

So ladies, help me hold on to that vision. Help me to not feel pressured to produce a One Year Birthday that will be the stuff of suburban Mom legends. Help me to scratch one thing off the list that I don’t have to compete with you about. Help me to not feel less-than without a Pinterest account and birthday invitations awaiting you in your mailboxes. Can we normalize the One Year, please? Can we just make it about the baby and not about us? Perhaps a few friends and family, perhaps some burgers on the grill, perhaps an adorable two-teeth little guy in his high chair with cake smashed all over his face?

That’s a party I can sign up for.

If it’s a Pinterest Party, well, I guess after this I won’t be invited.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. hownottokillyourparents permalink
    June 15, 2013 8:02 pm

    I am not a mommy, but I have been to these one-year-old parties that you speak of. And, since I am not a mommy, I had no idea what I was in store for. Give me lightsabers and a deformed cake that the dog somehow managed to get into any day of the week.

  2. June 23, 2013 11:05 pm

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this

  3. October 24, 2013 10:27 pm

    This is totally why I ve avoided pinterest. That and I have absolutely no decorating, cooking, or crafting skills. My soon to be two year old s party is Saturday and realized tonight with less than 48 hours to go I didn’t even order a cake and my baking skills are pretty minimal. Really enjoyed visiting your blog. Hope you can stop in sometime at Time with A & N.

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