Saturday, February 11, 2012

starting as I mean to go on

One of my favorite bloggers, Suburban Matron, asked people to share their favorite family mantras; her sister was recently diagnosed with cancer, and she shared her mantras that help her get through difficult times. I loved reading the comments and thought you might too.

One mantra I didn't remember when I was commenting is: Start as you mean to go on. I learned this phrase while living in the UK, and it has become one of my mantras since then. It is applicable to many aspects of my life, but it is particularly suited to parenting, isn't it? Whenever we enter a new milestone with our girls, I attempt to be thoughtful in how I will proceed, knowing it is much easier to steer a consistent course than to change one's parenting philosophy midway through.

A few days into parenting. Remember that feeling?

I have been thinking about my mantra also because we just attended a child's birthday party for the first time since I was a child myself. A while back, Nate and I were given advice--I've long since forgotten by whom--to have the same number of children present at your child's birthday celebration as the age they are turning; so, one child at the first birthday, two at the second and so on. Following this tip, we have invited only family or a few close friends to celebrate Vivi's three birthdays.

Vivi's 1st b-day

2nd b-day. In my defense, I'm pregnant and exhausted. Ignore outfit.

3rd b-day. Making cupcakes!

Charlotte's 1st b-day. Too many people = crying baby.

One of the reasons I have been waiting is because I want to be sure the party is for Vivi and not for me or because of a notion I have that it should be done. This year I have no doubt that she will want a party, and I am glad that we've waited until she fully understands the concept and can help me plan the big day.

We will still keep it simple and frugal, letting Vivi's excitement and creativity be our guide, rather than decorum or cultural tradition. I am happy that we can begin our own family traditions, like letting our kids pick out the birthday meal and dessert I cook and setting the table with our most special decorations, a tradition I plan to borrow from my stepmother. I want Vivi to feel as special as she is and still teach her sustainability and frugality. Most importantly, we'll start as we mean to go on.

Do you love birthday parties? Today's party was fantastic! Great snacks, good music, friendly people, and delighted children running about and entertaining us all. I enjoyed Spoonfed's recent post describing how she started simple yet fun traditions for her daughter's birthday. What are your favorite birthday traditions?

Editor's note: This post is part of Natural Parenting Groups' Monday Blog Hop, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways Blog Hop, Frugal Friday, and Seasonal Celebration Sunday.


Jacqui said...

Beautiful pictures! I have been searching to find some mantras for myself as I navigate the world of toddlerhood :)

The Prudent Homemaker said...

This is what we do for very frugal birthdays:

Rebecca said...

Thank you for sharing this post on Seasonal Celebration too. I am quite sure that simple is better and totally agree with the mantra 'start as you mean to go on' If you want an email reminder each week click here
Rebecca x


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