I'm only trying to help, parents. I'm on YOUR side. I'm not one of you, but that is to your advantage, because I haven't drunk the same Koolaid that you have been drinking. Trust cranky old Auntie Suebob, because I had perfect parents who taught me:
1. Children do NOT need a birthday party every single year. A 3-year-old does not need a party that requires invitations and planning. Cake, ice cream, family, a present or two. STOP AT THAT POINT. Nothing else is required. THEY WILL NOT REMEMBER THE PARTY OR THE LACK THEREOF. Promise. Relax. Breathe.
2. You do not need to attend every single birthday party of every single classmate, kid on the soccer team and child that you are in some way associated with. Free yourself! Take the weekend off the party circuit.
3. You are not responsible for entertaining your children. Children are self-entertaining devices. If they aren't, you are doing it wrong. If they are "bored" make them clean house. That was my mom's favorite trick. We learned to quit saying we were bored.
4. Your child's school project is his or her responsibility. You may contribute by purchasing supplies. STOP THERE. If their project is not as good as their classmates', at least they have the pride of doing it for themselves. Teachers KNOW whose parents do all the work for them, believe me. They are not stupid.
What are you teaching your kid by doing it for them? That mommy/daddy will always bail them out? Yeah, keep doing that and see how much fun it will be to bail them out when they have a $50k rehab bill.
5. Kids don't believe what you say. They believe what you DO. They are so freaking smart that way.
6. What other people are doing isn't important. Stick to your beliefs, your morals, your ethics (assuming you have some). YOU are the adult. YOU are in charge. Your kids need to know that someone is running the ship, and they will ultimately be happier if it is you, not them.
Ok, 6 pieces of excellent advice are enough for one post. Remember, I'm not a parenting expert, but I play one in my head.