It was when her family of four all went down a waterslide together, Lauren Fortenberry said, that she realized how far she'd come since her son's first birthday party six years earlier.
In an effort to make his party "Pinterest perfect," she made a banner from children's books, had a lot of food "that hardly anyone ate" and had her hair done," Fortenberry told "Good Morning America."
"I even wore a dress," she said.
Fast forward to another child, a joint birthday party and a blow-up waterslide. "Parties have changed," she said. "I have changed too."
Fortenberry told "GMA," she finally felt present at the party. "It was the first birthday party we [she and her husband] really experienced with the kids."
Having thrown several birthday parties for her kids, Fortenberry said she "finally learned to let go."
In her Facebook post she wrote, "I am a different parent now. I don’t want to just take pictures of my well-groomed children anymore. I want to experience the moment with them. Sometimes, that means getting wet. Most often, it means getting uncomfortable."
She likened the trip down the slide to the evolution of parenthood.
"With every inch you are losing layers of perfection," Fortenberry told "GMA." "But there's a sense of freedom and togetherness. And there's a knowledge that when you hit the bottom, it's going to hurt a little."
But they will be experiencing it together, as a family, she said.
And if she could give advice to that first-time mom stressing over the Pinterest-perfect first birthday party?
"Ask yourself how you can really be present," she said. "Maybe it's putting down the camera or just having a cake and skipping any other food. Because being present, that's what the kids want and what they remember."