"We all have issues that impact our children at some point in their lives. While every child doesn't have to have a big hurrah for their birthday, ignoring it will likely bring up some questions and hurt feelings. You need to figure out how to celebrate his birthday in a way that truly acknowledges him and makes him feel special. While you are not a bad person, by any means, you do have some issues that need to be resolved before May rolls around again and you begin to have birthday anxiety again.
1. You described yourself as shy and uncomfortable chatting with other people. It is not uncommon for an introvert to avoid going to and throwing parties, but the fact that you mentioned that your husband has been upset by your homebody tendencies indicates that there is something more to it than simple introversion. You might have mild social phobia which tends to get more severe as we get older. People with social phobia feel very anxious making small talk, meeting new people, and being the center of attention (as the host of a party, for example). This is a very treatable condition and I encourage you to take it seriously because it typically does not resolve without intervention.
2. You sound like a perfectionist and a loving mom who wants everything to be just right for your son. If no one showed up, he would feel bad ... if the party wasn't fun, you would feel as though you had somehow failed him as a mother. We think of perfectionists as the Martha Stewart-like perfect hostess, but often women who struggle with perfectionism don't even attempt something that they know they won't do perfectly. Fear of failure is a bigger motivator than fear of your son not having a party.
Besides getting help for social phobia, try these tips:
• Brainstorm birthday options that you can feel more comfortable with. Invite a few of his closest friends to a fun kids' restaurant and invite a girlfriend to hang out with you while you eat pizza in the corner.
• Let your husband be in charge of birthdays -- including taking your son to other kids' parties and planning your little boy's bash.
• Remember, as your son gets older, destination parties will be more popular (water park, Disneyland, movies) and parents won't stick around to chat if they don't have to."