This post stirred up a lot of mombast (you know…like bombast; sue me, I watched Motherhood with Uma Thurman yesterday and it made me think of all the cute ways “mom” can be worked into otherwise adult vocabulary). Anyway, for examples thereof, read the comments.
It’s funny because what the piece made me think more than anything is not that Jennifer is wrong for wanting Lily to have the Best Party Ever at the Little Gym (or egads, American Girl). Still less that Lulu is wrong for depriving Prince of goody bags, which after all probably account for at least a fractional amount of our excess carbon footprint.
But that *everyone* is wrong for seeing either choice as wrong or right. It’s something unique to our generation that keeps couching things in these terms. Good and bad. Which really translates into good for the kids, or bad for the kids, of course.
Either we’re congratulating ourselves on throwing the best party–or teaching Moomba the right values–or else we’re guilting ourselves into thinking that whatever choice we make, it will be wrong and our kids (who else?) will suffer for it.
Well, maybe someone will suffer. But it won’t be the kids, sick, happy and stuffed full.
It will be the moms and dads who totter beneath a stack of pizzas higher than a small building. Or scrambling to fill the goody bags, clean up the wilted leftovers of balloons, and scrape cake gunk off carpet, shoes, and teeth.
I say, throw a party if you enjoy doing so. If this is a yearly rite you’d like to give your kids. And, secondarily, if the kid in question enjoys it. If you or he would prefer something different, that’s good, too.
More importantly, let’s stop worrying if what we did was the exact right thing.
Birthdays will come every year. Party or no, we’re all getting older. That will go down a little easier if we give each other a break.