We're about to approach my favorite time of the year!
It has nothing to do with spring and everything to do with my three children. I call this season "the lull" where I have a full six months before I have to start thinking about another birthday party.
It's not that I don't like to celebrate these major milestones. I just don't enjoy all of the pressure that comes along with them. Believe me ... I'd much rather deal with the pressure of breaking news and deadlines!
Take for example the birthday party I'm planning for my seven-year-old this weekend. Easter has come and gone, but not for my daughter! She wanted an Easter-themed extravaganza. I could tell she already had a clear vision of her friends with baskets in hand on an Easter egg hunt. When I tried to talk her out of it, she wouldn't budge. Eventually, I began to worry other parents would think I chose the theme to get good deals on Easter merchandise. How ridiculous! The very thought almost had me doing frantic internet searches at the last minute for entertainers, balloon-makers ... anything to keep the kids busy.
Parents have such strong opinions about what is or isn't appropriate for birthday parties for kids. Some go all out, spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars. Others keep it private, simple and family-oriented. Maybe there's no right or wrong, just a whole lot of opinions. One thing is for sure: There really can be a whole lot of pressure.
When researching this topic (or when checking to see if I was crazy) I came across a website called Birthdays Without Pressure. A group of parents and educators established a campaign hoping to put an end to the competitive culture of birthday parties. The website, which is mostly a resource now, even includes a birthday pressure quiz! It was validation.
Over the years, I've learned that parties can get costly and out-of-hand in the time it takes to blow out a birthday candle. I've toned down spending, minimized the fret and talked to my girls about setting limits. Still every now and then, a silly thought pops into my head ... something like "Easter clearance." And that's why for the next six months, I'm going to sit back, relax and enjoy the lull.
Aysu Basaran is the busy mom of three and assistant news director of WRAL-TV.