Sunday, September 22, 2013

My Thoughts on Children's Birthday Parties

I think it's time we address how completely out of control we've all gotten with children's birthday parties.

At what point did ordering pizza, having cake and celebrating with your immediate family become totally unacceptable? Here we are, us moms, complaining that we have too much on our plates, and all we do is continue to add to them.

I did not grow up having a big to do on my birthday, and thus, I am perfectly content with a very small acknowledgement and perhaps a solo trip to Target.

My husband on the other hand, comes from the land of big birthdays. His birthday is his personal equivalent to Hanukkah and requires a minimum of seven day of celebratory activities and fan fare.

For our kids, we've had moderately-sized, casual, and fairly easy birthday parties. Family and closest friends, some coordinated decor and fun food, and always, always cupcakes.

But the more I put it all together, the more it stresses me out. I want our kids to feel special on that day, but they don't need a big party feel that. I want them to know that there are a lot of people who love and pray for them, and that their birthday is as much for us to celebrate as parents as it is for them as growing kids. They certainly do not need a buffet of fancy food made from scratch and 50 presents to open. That is so not the message I want to send.

Yesterday, we celebrated our little miracle boy turning two. We had a small group of people to the house, ate hot dogs and fruit skewers, and the only thing I did to decorate was put out some pretty fall flowers and nice ribbon on the utensils and vases. When anyone asked them what to bring him I said nothing, and I meant it. I wanted everyone to celebrate him, and what a blessing he is to us. And honestly, it was the best birthday yet.

We spent a whopping $30 on decor, we ate easy, simple food, and we spent the afternoon talking and visiting and it was wonderful.

And you know what I was doing two hours before everyone arrived?


I wasn't prepping food, or hand stamping thank you cards. I was smelling his sweet breath and rubbing his soft little head while he napped. It was my favorite memory of the day. I was relaxed, and had I been a manic party planning mess, I would have missed it.

I think going forward, and as they get older, I'd like to let our kids pick an activity to do as a family on their big day, and get back to the special family meal and small celebration. In my quest to simplify every other area of my life, this seems like an easy next step.

Here are a few pictures from our day. This first one makes me melt into a puddle on the floor.

Clearly, he enjoyed himself :)

He had his eye on cupcakes. I don't blame him. 

The lazy mom's decor. Take that, Pinterest. 

No Davis, you may not play football. But please pick any other non-combative sport you'd wish. Preferably, golf of swimming. Love, your mommy.

Moms- let's give ourselves a break here. If you want to do the big party, if you enjoy it, then by all means please take joy in that. But if you find it stressful, borderline excessive, and if you spend the day running around like a crazy person, take a step back. I've seen the other side, and it is nice :)


Tiffany said...

Amen! I feel the same way. We've avoided a bday party for my daughter so far (she turned 2 in August), but get major guilt from our family about it. She, meanwhile, is perfectly happy opening a couple presents and getting sung to. I think you're focusing on the right things (caring for your child, family, etc.) vs. all the hoopla of crazy parties. It just isn't about that.

Kristin said...

As discussed this weekend, AGREED!!!

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