FRYday: Jenna

Prints courtesy of Melanie Burk.

I have ALWAYS loved planning parties. My pinterest board is filled to the brim of all the ideas I’d love to expand on & create beautiful events around. I love to cook, plan, decorate and entertain guests. I love the feeling of hosting, designing a beautiful experience for my friends & having them leaving with full hearts. I love seeing my children’s face light up with enthusiasm because their dreams have come true! Whether it was the Peach Party in the orchard, Superhero Training Party, Little Fish Swimming Party etc…such beautiful memories, with wonderful details, and happy faces.

So why did I quit throwing elaborate birthday parties for my kids?

It was somewhere after the Jude’s fish party that I sat down after the mayhem and realized that of that day I had spent maybe one hour of quality time WITH him. Most the day (and week prior) was spent hiring sitters so I could run errands, prepare food, gather details and set up the party.  So while I was flustered, snapping at my children and running around in general chaos…my boy had been ignored. But wait?! Wasn’t that why I was doing ALL this? So he felt like the most special, wonderful, loved little boy in the whole world? And I think probably in those hours he did, but what I’ve learned since is he feels JUST as special snuggling reading a book, throwing a ball back and forth and taking him on a scooter ride. So often I would find myself missing the moments all while trying to create them and I’ve been determined to, as a man I admire has said, ‘do less with more focus.’Do Less With More Focus

I haven’t thrown a party (in that way) since that day. We still celebrate the heck out of our kids but in a much more relaxed setting. Family, friends, pizza, balloons and love. It’s never going to be pinned, admired or maybe even put on this blog and I’m alright with that. I no longer believe that I am required as a mother to display an outward expression of my inner feelings for my children in the form of expensive birthday parties.

Perhaps there will be a season in my life when I can welcome back in the joy I find in creating a beautiful event without it interfering with the real meaning of the day, and when that comes you’re all invited!

Even still when we attend a beautiful party I find myself thinking that I should really get back doing it in that way and that perhaps my children are missing out. But just like it does not make me more of a wonderful mother to throw a carefully curated party it does not make me less of one to refrain from doing so. And that’s what I’ve found to be so beautiful about parenting, life and people. We’re allowed to find what works for us and makes US happy. There isn’t a one size fits all in parenting and respecting others choices and our own only make our lives more fulfilled.



Huge thank you to Melanie Burk for designing what has quickly become a Small Fry motto around here. If it hit you like it has us, grab your favorite below, pin or Instgram, and tag us @melanieburk so we can see how you’re interpreting it into your own life! Happy Fryday! Click Read More for three other versions!

Do Less With More Focus Do Less With More Focus Do Less With More Focus


  1. Melissa:
    on October 3, 2014 at 7:18 am said:

    LOVE this. As an interior designer, I can totally relate to wanting to create the ultimate, sensory experience. But I too have discovered that simplicity and time spent with my little guy is really what matters and makes us both the happiest. The motto is perfect! xo

  2. Courtney:
    on October 3, 2014 at 8:02 am said:

    I just threw my daughter a Rainbow unicorn party for her 4th birthday. I had a million ideas and plans, but just really worked on what I could and had to do – needed food and balloons… I didn’t do about half the ideas I wanted to and the party was still a success and I wasn’t stressed out to the max. But I think next year we’ll do her party not at home so I don’t have to do as much…

  3. Jana:
    on October 3, 2014 at 9:27 am said:

    i said ain’t no shame in the Chuck E Cheese game. Just kidding its 100% shame but the kids love it then I get to spend the whole next week home with them because they got sick!!!! Win win

  4. on October 3, 2014 at 10:28 am said:

    I love this. Thank you for going against the flow! The time matters, not the pinterest-worthy party. And, in the end, we are the ones who care about that, not the kids.

  5. on October 3, 2014 at 9:39 pm said:

    oh my gosh. i LOVE this. i put so much pressure on myself to plan elaborate parties for my kids and make everything by hand and have everything JUST SO that i forget that’s totally not what birthdays are supposed to be about. it’s nice to hear that i’m not the only one who feels guilty about it. thanks!

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  23. on September 29, 2015 at 8:18 pm said:

    Great advice when it comes to reminding people to take a step back and realize the purpose of what you’re doing. We often get wrapped up in making things perfect, but they’re already great they way they are. Remembering that the point of the party is to spend time with your son instead of going out of your way to create a huge birthday extravaganza is a good outlook to have. He’ll remember the day more if you make time to enjoy him, not if you made a fish or dinosaur themed party.

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  33. on February 19, 2018 at 8:25 am said:

    Absolutely love this! Daily affirmation for us busy Mommas.

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