Oh, the dread.

There are so many things that contribute to my Bad Mommy status… using Jack Daniels as a teething soother, stuffing the kids into the overhead bins during air travel, co-sleeping… you get the idea.

But the number one thing that solidifies me as a Bad Mommy is this: I hate my children’s birthdays.

It gets worse each year. The anxiety, the fretting, the countless nights of web searches for the same ideas. Weeks of calling every mediocre local option to find that it doesn’t matter anyway, they are booked. Worrying over the date, the time, the people. Being frustrated that the weather is a complete question mark (three years ago it was 95 degrees and unbearably humid, last year we had frost on the ground). Feeling disappointment over Will’s obsession with presents. Knowing that I have a team on hand to judge when whatever I do doesn’t live up to expectation. Because it’s all on the Mom. There is no one else on earth responsible for children’s birthdays and every little detail… from the humidity to how the streamers bend to the taste of the frosting on the cake… lie on the shoulders of The Mother.

It’s not that I’m caught up in some ‘perfect birthday’ ideal. I couldn’t care less about theme, crafts, or activities. I just want a simple party with some friends where the adults can hang around and talk and the kids can run themselves silly. That’s it. THAT IS ALL.

Really, what I want is to borrow someone else’s house for the weekend — one with a big yard — rent a jumpy house to put outside, and let the kids run around the yard for 90 minutes while the parents hang back, eat, and talk. I wouldn’t even mind cleaning up afterward. This, in my view, is the World’s Best Birthday.

And the anxiety is because it’s just a total impossibility. Something that simple is simply not possible. There is nothing I can do to have a stress-free party for my kids, and I feel angry that I even have to think about it.

NEW PLAN, Will and Kate! You guys get to stay 4 and 2 FOREVER!