Last year I skipped throwing a birthday party for my oldest daughter, and gave her tons of snail mail instead. I blamed the lack of a party back then on the fact that my husband was out of town, and that I was nearing the end of my pregnancy.
But the real reason? It turns out I hate throwing birthday parties.
Here’s why: they’re so young that everyone is their best friend, but I can’t invite an entire class to celebrate with her. I run a pretty successful side hustle, but I’m spending our extra money on things like a Disney Cruise this summer, not a birthday party that will set me back several hundred dollars with people she literally won’t remember next year. Seriously, have you seen the going rate these days? You even have to pay to rent out space at a park!
Also, I’m always conflicted: do I invite my friends or only her friends (see previous comment about entire classes). Plus, multiply those tiny guests times three since we decided to have three little humans, and whew. See ya later, money.
Don’t even get me started on the Pinterest-worthy birthday parties, and how I feel pressured to make sure it’s perfect with all the fun entertaining extras, or how many presents they get. So. Much. Stuff!
Planning a birthday party (or three) can very easily and quickly spiral out of control.
Before you think I’m just a Birthday Grinch: I get it; I’ve been there. When I only had one kid I went all out for birthdays. Themed food? Check. Awesome decorations? Check. Real invitations and not a last-minute text? Check.
But now with more kids under my belt? I’m just too tired, and it’s too stressful. I’d rather shower them each with love on the day I pushed their giant little bodies out of my tiny vagina, sing happy birthday to them, and maybe make sure sprinkle donuts are involved.
Yes, sprinkled donuts is definitely a tradition I can get behind.
With all that said: I still remember my birthday parties growing up, so I knew I wanted to give them something fun, but simple. I grew up with all of my cousins as guests, but we don’t have family here, so that’s not an option. Plus, their birthdays are all in a row, so until they figure out my grand plan, they’ll all get a joint, no-fuss party together.
Someone suggested an idea I liked: they can only invite the number of people for how old they’re turning. That still means a lot of kids to wrangle, but at least it’s not entire classes. As they get older, we can grab some Costco pizzas for $10 to feed everyone somewhere that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to rent.
For their birthdays this year we had a little get together at their favorite place: Chick-fil-A… because it comes with a built-in, indoor play area, it was affordable, and our kids love it. We almost had it at a park, but the party landed on the one day it poured in San Diego; thankfully we swapped fresh air for fresh nuggets at the last minute.
I coordinated with CFA ahead of time, and we decided on a specific time for their shindig, and then ordered food off their catering menu—nuggets, fruit, chicken minis, coffee, lemonade, etc. Oh, and they provided the cow, which was just icing on their little cakes!
We went with a pink and purple “theme” and I spent a whopping $10 on decorations thanks to Target’s One Spot. And as far as favors for the little guests, they got bubbles and sunglasses (oh, the irony since it rained that day).
We also set up a mini bundt bar for them to make, decorate, and take little cakes home.
I’m already nervous about their birthdays next year and what we’ll do for it, but I suppose I’ll cross that bridge as it gets closer.
Do birthday parties stress you out? How do you keep them from going out of control?