Why You Should Stop Trying to Impress the Wrong People

Liz Kanoy

Do you ever find yourself going all out for your kids’ birthday parties? Each party has to be bigger and better, and the details must be perfect? This type of party brings on a lot of stress for the planner, but is the stress worth it? Do kids really care if a party is Pinterest-perfect? Usually this type of all-out planning is more for other moms and attendees than it is for the birthday child. Melissa Edgington, blogger and pastor’s wife, has written a blog post titled When Mothers Try to Impress the Wrong People.

Edgington describes how she intricately planned her daughter’s first, second, and third birthday parties. She went all out with a gem (her daughter's name is Emerald), kitty cat, and Cinderella theme—complete with homemade decorations, satin backdrops, and special cupcakes. She writes, “It was an adorable party. But, who were all of those minute details really for? Other moms, of course!”

But on her daughter’s fourth birthday, she did something different. This time, she bought cupcakes from Sam’s Club, Kool-aid from WalMart, and Barbie balloons from Amazon. The party took place at a city park, where the kids played on a playground. Edgington asks,

Do you know what I was doing up until a few minutes before that party started? I was hanging out at my house. I had played a game of Candyland with Emerald. I had cleaned my kitchen and done a few loads of laundry. Time that I normally would’ve spent creating a bunch of stuff to try to impress other moms was spent doing the things that really needed doing, and just spending time with the birthday girl.

Do you know what I was doing AT the party? Instead of running a bunch of games and running around like crazy, I was doing this: Sitting at a table at the park with a bunch of my friends, chatting while all the kids entertained themselves.”

Sometimes kids just want simple … simple pleasures like playing a game of Chutes and Ladders, having a relaxed birthday party, and getting some much needed one-on-one time with mom or dad. Themed birthday parties are fun, but when the decorations and need to impress take precedence over the actual birthday celebration it may be time to take a step back to simple. Edgington reveals,

I doubt Emerald will even remember her fourth birthday party, but I will. I’ll remember that in the days leading up to it, I saw her, really saw her. I wasn’t buried under a pile of tulle or preoccupied with elaborate planning. I wasn’t set out to impress a bunch of other moms. I just wanted to make Emerald feel loved. And, maybe in the end what is really worth remembering isn’t the kind of thing you can display on Pinterest.”

Sometimes we can get caught up in who we think people want us to be; we want to be impressive and we want to impress successfully. But in reality our children don’t want to be impressed … they just want us—our attention, love, time, and energy. Edgington expresses,

“Just listen. Hug a lot. Play. Tell them how much you love them. And, don’t let frenzied people-impressing get in the way of showing your children every day just how wonderful you think they are. I’d much rather be the mama that they want to be with forever than the one who throws a killer preschool party. Wouldn’t you?”

To read Edgington’s full blog post please visit

Crosswalk Contributor Cindi McMenamin relays,

Many of our insecurities about parenting surface because we find ourselves in a situation that is new or different, or that we haven't yet walked through. But Scripture tells us in Ecclesiastes 1:9 that there is nothing new under the sun.

There will be times you are getting it right and times you will feel you are failing miserably. The important thing to understand is that throughout the changing seasons of your child's life and the times when you don't know what to do, you have an Unchanging God who will be your steady, immovable rock to cling to when things start swirling around you.” 

Related article:
What to Do When You Feel Like a Horrible Mother

Related video: How can I raise my children to love and follow Christ? - Kevin DeYoung from christianitydotcom2 on GodTube.

Publication date: May 2, 2016