It’s My Party -- Or Not
Summer is finally in full swing, and I couldn't more grateful! Springtime usually has me reeling -- and from more than just seasonal allergies. Both of my little girls were born in spring, so by the time June shows up, I am so grateful to be past the dreaded birthday party festivities!
Maybe for you, birthday parties for your young children don’t bring much anxiety; however, I find myself questioning everything.
Birthdays are already hard enough -- they’re numeric evidence that my child is getting older, that she's going to grow up, move away, never call, and will basically never need me again. So here I am stressing -- stressing about what type of decorations I should use and how I'm going to afford this small gala. I sweat all the small stuff! And I’m just really hoping I’m not the only one.
First off, let’s talk about the grandeur that has become children’s birthday parties -- the giant number of balloons, the balloon arches, the balloon garlands, the balloon banners! There are so many balloons!
Then there’s cake: the pretty centerpiece cake, the smash cake, the cupcakes for the kids. Or maybe we should have cookies? But not just any cookies -- they need to be the pretty ones; the can’t-eat-those-before-you-take-a-picture-and-post-it cookies. You know the ones I’m talking about. Where on earth am I even supposed to get those?
There are also invitations to consider, and party favors, and what about activities for the kids to do while they’re here?!
I see parities on social media all the time -- the beautiful, back-dropped, gorgeous birthday parties with the coordinating lined-up treats and the big pile of gifts. I think that maybe more planning went into that party for a preschooler than for my whole wedding! Okay, kidding. But maybe only a little.
Then, once I get past all those existential questions, I need to decide who to invite. Should we do a family only party? What about her friends? I really don’t want to exclude anyone, but which friends do we invite? Preschool friends? Play date friends? Church friends? All the friends!? But, if we invite friends, will all their parents come? It’s starting to feel like a lot of people are being involved for a kid who, quite frankly, is intimidated by a lot of people.
There is so much social pressure for these events, and maybe that pressure has always been there in some respect. Maybe my mom just never bought into it, or maybe she literally couldn’t buy into it. But these parties seem to have become more about me and the pretty picture I will take of it than about what my four-year-old really wants out of her birthday.
So, I think the solution is simple: do what is best for your family. If it’s a big party because that’s what makes you happy, then go for it. If it’s just a cake and presents after dinner because that’s what makes most sense for you, then do it. But, like anything, feeling social pressure to do something doesn’t always make it the right thing
So, this year the parties won’t be about me and what I will post on Instagram. Because after all, it really isn’t my party.
*How do you make a birthday party truly about your child rather than an Instagram event for your followers? Is there a balance? Tell us what you think!