And here is how a transportation consultant, a graduate of the Kennedy School, described to me the "immense stress" of her son's fourth birthday party:
First, there was the whole debate about whether to have the whole class or just a few friends. Then there was the whole debate about whether to do the party at home or whether to go to some place that does package deals. If we stayed home, would we have the magician, the clown the musician, the Moon Bounce? ... I felt great angst about whether this measured up. How would the other mothers judge me for the decisions I made and would I be labeled in some negative way? What does my decision indicate about our financial status, our organizational talents or lack of them, or our willingness to indulge our child?... (pp. 41-42)
We've replaced our lack of feedback of how we are doing as parents by using opinions of other parents as feedback instead. Shouldn't it be the opinions of our children that count? Of course, we can't get that from our 4 year olds.
We've only had one birthday party so far for our 2 kids. Does this make us bad parents? It's certainly been a lot less stressful. K1 is old enough to plan her parties now - so if she wants one this year (which she does), she's in charge.