We just attended my youngest nephew’s first birthday party. It was amazing. The theme was Down on the Farm. The decorations were wonderful. Both my sisters worked really hard to make them all. They had banners, individual labels for all the food, a train big enough for my nephew to sit in made out of cardboard, and much more. My older sister spent quite a bit of money and time. It paid off, I guess. My nephew won’t remember it except in pictures. The decorations were all thrown away at the end. Who were all the decorations really for? I mean, my nephew would have loved the party no matter what. In fact, all the kids would have. They had sack races and ate great food.
Now, I don’t mean to be a butt. My sister always has great parties with great decorations. I am not as talented as her but I have tried. I bought all homemade decorations last year for my son’s fifth birthday party (since there was no way I could do Pinterest standards). My son is old enough to remember it but that wasn’t what he talks about. He would have been happy with plates with Paw Patrol on them. No need for all the other decorations.
So why do we do it? I think my older sister likes it but I also think she does more than necessary in order to look like a good hostess. Pinterest has changed the way we view parties and gatherings. Is it necessary though? I think not. I’ve decided for my son’s birthday this year, I will just buy the plates (and maybe napkins). That’s it. I’m giving myself permission to take it easy, not spend so much time and money.
If you love Pinterest because you are truly crafty and get pleasure from it, I say go for it. I’m not. So I’m going to stop kicking myself for not living up to some make believe standard I’ve set based on what others can do. It will be okay if other parents are not impressed with my party. As long as the kids have fun.
I will say that part of me will feel bad that I’m not going all out on his party. It makes me sad I feel that way. It makes me sadder to think others feel that way too. Let’s throw away that guilt!
My family recently welcomed a kitten into our home. I have always been a dog person, as has my husband. For over two years, though, my oldest has wanted a cat. I remember a short time in my life where I wanted a cat and did not receive one so I started suggesting that we get her one. Just after Jane's ninth birthday, a little black kitten showed up on my Facebook feed needing to be rescued and my husband could no longer resist. Lela is now part of our family.
Let me just state what should have been obvious, cats are very different from dogs. I had to bathe Lela when we brought her home from animal control. I put her in the tub and she immediately jumped out. A puppy that size could not have done that. Her ability to climb amazes and entertains us all. Her ability to go so many places regularly surprises us.
I was hoping Lela would help Jane learn some responsibility and she has. Lela stays in Jane's room when no one is home. That is also where her things are such as litter box, cat condo, and food bowl. Jane has always kept quite the messy room. She still does but when reminded to clean up as it is bad for Lela, she does it with almost no issues. She also is learning to clean the litter box daily and make sure Lela has food and water. I also regularly clean the litter box (which was not as gross as I thought it would be), check on the food and water, and monitor Jane's room. I realize Jane is only nine and I can't expect her to take on full responsibility for another living thing. I have been pleasantly surprised though how well Jane has been doing with Lela. She has been a welcome addition into our home.
I will add that I hope someone does not read this and think they should get their kids a pet and it will automatically help them learn responsibility. When you adopt a pet, you have to be ready for anything. You can't adopt them hoping your kid does a great job with the animal and then when they don't, take it back to the shelter. This is not fair to your family nor the animal. We welcomed Lela into the home fully anticipating having to do a lot for her and we were okay with that.
JENNIFER EULBERG, MA, LPC
Welcome Jennifer, our new blogger!
Jennifer is a counselor at Sandhill who specializes in depression, self-esteem, and grief & loss. Get to know Jennifer as she shares her perspectives on life, contemplates value themes, and offers gentle encouragement.
THANK YOU to Stefanie Pisarkiewicz, LPC for her blog contributions from November 2014 - February 2019!