I like to consider throwing parties, my thing.  Whether it's a baby shower, Birthday party, or holiday celebration I always get a euphoric high from all the planning and orchestrating that is required from each event.  I guess I could call myself a party junkie.

When I started having my children, I instantly decided that I wanted to be one of those Mums who was known for throwing fabulous parties.  Silly, I know!  But, I truly believed that throwing amazingly insane birthday extravaganzas was a sure fire way to make me an incredible Mom and cause my kids to feel like they were exponentially loved.

 So, for the next three years, I hosted insane, and I do mean insane, birthday parties for my children that I spent months pouring my blood, sweat, and tears into.  Then, in January of this year, something changed.  I had just thrown a huge Monsters Inc. themed party for Birdie  and was reflecting on how well it went and what I could do to improve on the next one.  Completely exhausted by this entire process, I finally found myself wondering, "Why in the bleep am I doing this?!".  

Although I absolutely loved throwing parties, I had completely forgotten that the whole reason in which we throw birthday parties is to make the celebrated individuals feel loved and...celebrated.  I soon realized that throwing over the top birthday parties wasn't the way in which I would/could achieve super star Mom status in my children's eyes.  Somehow, I had subconsciously turned my children's special day into a day that was all about me.  So, I did some re-evaluating on how I could be the best possible Mom to my children and decided to scale down the parties.  Keeping Gus's recent 4th birthday party more intimate and simplistic; making sure that my sweet little boy felt nothing but wanted and celebrated by those who loved him most.

By the end of the party, not only was my little guy beyond happy, but I too had gained a new sense of inner peace and joy.  Here's how I was able to accomplish that with Gus's

Crocodile/Reptile Birthday Party

1) Instead of spending hours making handmade invitations, I made a simple and attractive invitation on Picmonkey and then had them printed off at the Costco Photo Shop.

2)  Instead of inviting a countless amount of people, I let Isaac choose who he wanted to invite.

3) Gus wanted to have reptiles at his party, so instead of paying a ton of money to have our local museum bring a few reptiles to the party, we went to the museum instead and started the party there with a live reptile show.

4) Provided an array of food that gave a nod to the party theme instead agonizing over a theme related menu and extravagant cake. 

5) Planned one craft and one game that the children could do and then provided outside materials and toys that the children could play with when they were done.

6) Didn't sweat the small stuff (i.e.-Gus insisting on wearing nothing but his t-shirt and underwear while when it came time for him to open his presents.).

And there you have it!  This may not be your cup of tea, and that's O.K. with me.  As Mums, I truly believe that we all need to listen to our inner voice and do what works best for us and our loved ones.  I will forever adore huge and opulent parties.  But, from now on, I will mostly stick to attending them rather then planning them.

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