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Turning Your Child’s Birthday Party from Stressful to Stress-free

04/25/2016 09:55AM ● Published by Hood Magazine

By Valerie Echter


It was June 6th, 2015… exactly one day prior to my daughter’s 1-year birthday party. You know, the birthday party that needs to be the highlight of the year for the child, for the parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. The birthday that has to have the most elaborate “smash” cake and cartoon-like birthday cake. The birthday that needs to have a child-friendly theme – matching décor and hors d’oeuvres that are both kid and adult friendly. Yeah – THAT birthday.


Unfortunately, on that ever-so eventful day before the “big day,” my husband and I were both extremely sick with colds. It wasn’t just any cold – it was a virus, bug, or some sort of alien-influenced illness that depleted every ounce of energy from our bodies, made us cough to the point that it hurt to talk, made our noses run like they were open water faucets and left us with zero amounts of creativity or desire for productivity.


I tried the best I could to pull everything together like a “good” mother should. I shipped the daughter off to my sister’s house and somehow enticed my husband to take me to a handful of different stores to get supplies for the party. Did I mention that we hadn’t bought our daughter a gift yet? Yeah, add that to the list!

So off to the party store we went – stressed out about not having anything prepared for the party, not feeling well at all, already irritated with the situation (and at each other) and simply wanting to get the items checked off the list.

The number one mistake you can make as a parent when it comes to your child’s birthday party – thinking of it as a checklist. Birthdays come and go, and yes there is most likely a lot of details that need to come together, but remember above all else - NO ONE CARES about the details. 


Your child most likely wants to be surrounded by friends and family, get a few cool presents, eat some cake, and play. THAT. IS. IT. All the stress and anxiety that comes from the experience is self-inflicted.


Take it from the woman who yelled at her own mother and said, “No one can arrive before 1 p.m., because I need to get my house spotless.” I received zero compliments about the cleanliness of my house and no compliments about the hors d’oeuvres I spent hours making. The day wasn’t about me, or that darn checklist. It was about my daughter. 


So when you go into full-on crazy mommy mode, remember this – the day isn’t about your to-do list. Get a cake, get some snacks, tidy up the house a bit, and be 100% present to truly EXPERIENCE the miracle of that special day.

Parenting, Family birthday parties stress-free