Party? Who, me?

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party

So, there I was, happily approaching my firstborn’s first birthday. Spectacular invitations had been sent, the world’s biggest balloons had been ordered and I’d even spent a whole minute contemplating making the cake myself. I said contemplating.

Anyway, I was literally up to my neck in homemade paper decorations when a very loud and clear voice came a-shouting into my head:

Hey, you!

Who, me?

Yes, you! I’m in your head. Who else could I be talking to?!?

OK, OK, keep your knickers on!

Actually, I don’t wear knickers. In fact, I don’t even have a body, but that’s not the point! I’m here to ask you something very important indeed.

Oh, you are, are you?

Yes, I am! WHAT ON EARTH ARE YOU DOING?

I’m organising my son’s birthday party. What’s the big deal? It’s not a crime, is it?

No, not a crime exactly, but it is a terrible shame.

A terrible shame? Throwing a party for my beautiful boy is a terrible shame? Are you sure you’re qualified to be having this conversation with me?

Yes, I’m qualified. I’ve even got a nice shiny certificate to prove it. I can go get it for you if you’d like…

No, no, just get on with whatever you’re trying to tell me. This party isn’t going to organise itself.

OK, sorry. What I’m trying to tell you is that, of course, it’s not a shame to celebrate your son’s life, but it is a definite shame to leave yourself out.

But I’m not leaving myself out; I’ll be there too, from start to finish.

And how will you be celebrating yourself, exactly?

What do you mean, celebrating myself? It’s not my birthday.

Oh, but it is. In a way. Your son’s first birthday will also mark an entire year since you became a parent: since you gave birth to a new life; since you accepted the challenge of taking care of another human being, no matter what; since you jumped on life’s craziest roller coaster and stayed on, even though you had no idea where it was going from one day to the next. That party you’re putting all your time into creating will also be a celebration of all that you have achieved in the last year. It’ll be your GreatestDayOfMyLife-versary! And that, my friend, needs to be celebrated this year and every year.

Wait! Are you suggesting that I can actually think about myself? That it’s OK to take focus off my baby and put a little onto me?

Not just suggesting: strongly advising.

And you’re sure of this? I mean, I’m not going to be struck down by lightning if I open a bottle of champagne or two, am I? Or kicked out of the World’s Greatest Mothers Club?

No, not at all. It’s a celebration for all three of you: Baby, Dad and Mum. Celebrating yourself as well as your baby will help you to see exactly how far you’ve come since his birth and how amazing you truly are.

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Orla was born in Dublin, one of several children in a large Irish family. Yes, it was chaotic at times, but there was always someone to play Monopoly with! At 23, she moved to the UK to live a glamorous life in media. (Well, if you call living in Manchester glamorous.) Three years later, she was transferred to Hong Kong, where the glamour really began. (Well, if you call living on Lamma glamorous.) Fast-forward three years and, after a brief stint back in Ireland, she triumphantly returned to Hong Kong, where she wasted no time getting engaged, married and pregnant. After deciding it was time for a career change, she launched an online parenting magazine whilst training in Emotional Freedom Techniques. Two more kids, a move to the UK, and yet another triumphant return to Hong Kong later, Orla now runs a variety of parenting workshops, which you can learn about at www.orlabreeze.com.