I Called Off Birthday Parties, For Now

I enjoy parties, having guests, cleaning up the house and pretending that it always looks that nice. I have always loved hosting, making people feel loved and welcome in my home, putting the expensive cheese on the one nice plate and using an opportunity to dress up.

I even totally love kids parties, getting to eat cake that I don’t cook, giving an excited kid a fun gift for $19.99 or less, and letting my crotchfruit run amok in someone else’s space is a special change of pace.

As much as I desire super duper fun times and dress up and the good thick cut pepperoni, and matching Thomas decor and streamers, I can’t muster even an ounce of the energy, the drive, focus, motivation or the money to front three kidaplaoozas every year.

Given my new conundrum, my options seem to be:

1) Get rid of two of my children

I could host the dope parties from the days of yore like I did when I had one kid to provide for.
My other two kids would be missed, but seriously, one time I made two birthday cakes, invited fifty people, and made them all wear Halloween costumes.
My child was turning one, not being coronated, and why was I so bossy?
Nobody knows.

2) Give one kid a great big party because he’s used to it, and give the other kids little pathetic parties until they’re old and ruined enough to notice and just stash the extra cash for their future therapy fund.

3) Give my oldest kid a severely, corporate downsized party this year so that his expectations aren’t inflated for the future and also give all three kids equally small but meaningful parties where we actually have time to interact with our guests.

For my petite prince’s second bash, I rented out a farm. A fucking farm. We had a petting zoo, a corn maze, ponies, hay rides, apple cider and all the spoils of having too much time.

Those were probably better times.

I like option three.

I am currently so very fed up with providing daily childcare for my rugrats. I’m winded from a perfectly mediocre day when we have no plans at all and I change back into my stretch pants when I get home from the grocery store. I’m a pair of muddy, ripped toddler pants and a potty training failure away from hiding in my lazy Susan corner cabinet with a glass of Cabernet.
Organization isn’t going to be my claim to 2015 fame.
Neither is a hardy party.
Frankly, I feel I’ve birthed enough children at this juncture to firmly make a logical case that every day is a party. Just ask the chicken nuggets and sprinkle cookies that have been smooshed in the seat cracks of my minivan. They’ll tell you, we have a great time.

I’m slightly worried and massively shrouded in mom guilt because there’s no chance that my five year old won’t notice that he isn’t getting three hundred and fifty thousand toys and having a hundred people run around painting pumpkins on our lawn. But my plan of action is to blame his siblings for being born and taking all of our money. He’ll understand, five year olds are notoriously empathetic and fluent in the nuance of sarcasm.
*puts five dollars in the therapy jar*

I know other families that also put together magnificent parties for their children, and the adults have fun too, and why shouldn’t they?
I’ll attend with bells on and a toy from Target costing appropriately $19.99.

I know other families that in five years have never once invited my family to a party for their kids and I can finally let go of the politics of party planning and say, “I get it”. I do.

There are no hard feelings about who invites who.
We’re not Taylor Swift. We don’t got bad blood, yo.

There’s no social commentary I can make about excessive parties for kids. Some people get a ton of joy from blowing Manolo Blahnik dollar bills at pink frosted bull shit castles and updos for four year olds. Some people put Pinterest Gold Star Viral Award level energy into creating one of a kind parties on a tight budget.

I can’t do it for all three of my kids, I can’t even afford to set the precedent, or plant the seed that my kids will each be having a big birthday party, and the bottom line is that this is one of the sacrifices my whole family had to unwittingly accept in order to expand into the giant love ball that it is.
Full of cheap pepperoni and one shared bathroom.

There’s the possibility that something special will happen, that by coming to expect less my kids, my whole family even, will appreciate more.

They’ll probably just whine about presents or being bored and ask to watch every episode of Jake and the Neverland Pirates that we have on the DVR.


I have outgrown the need for a giant “prove how much I love my kids” party and instead I’m opting to pay the huge electric bill and keep the lights on.

Happy fancy pants birthday.

They’re going to have to face the reality that while birthdays are special, the world doesn’t stop spinning.

I also have to take ownership of my habit of trying to make my sons parties about me, and fancy Pinterest cakes and matching decor. And yes, showing off.

Well, I fold. If I had stopped breeding a kid or two ago I could have huge fêtes in discotheques but we all know that spoiling kids with discotheques and fêtes leads to feelings of resentment when they grow up. And midnight abuse of chips ahoy.

But whatever.

Do what works for you. I’ll be watching a Jake marathon for his special day, and eating pepperoni and chips ahoy mini sandwiches.

Don’t you dare judge me.

Does he look like he needs 234 people to celebrate with? Naw, my bumpkin will be fine with some pumpkins.

7 thoughts on “I Called Off Birthday Parties, For Now

  1. OMG I loved this read! Makes me feel right at home. I have no intentions of throwing parties for my kids any longer. We have agreed when they hit middle school, which one did this year so I will let you know how it goes, to invite one or two friends over for a fun day. Maybe go watch a movie or sit and play games.

  2. Hilarious. I used to throw my kids big parties. One benefit of having twins is one party for two kids. I was great at planning parties on a budget and even blogged about them. Guess what? My kids don’t like parties. At 5 my twins said they didn’t want a party. What? Nope they couldn’t be swayed. We went to DC around their birthday and they started calling it their birthday trip. Whatever. Then when my oldest turned 7 three months later she asked for a trip too. No party. So we went to the beach (in February when it’s super cheap and the indoor pools and lazy rivers are heated) and didn’t have a party. My twins turn 6 next month and you guessed it no party again, they want a trip. I couldn’t be happier, these weekend trips are cheaper than parties and I don’t have to clean or plan anything.

  3. I have family members that throw their kids parties every year, I want to lay on the floor and die when an invitation comes in the mail because I have a large family. My fiancée and I decided that parties at one, five, ten, sixteen, and eighteen work for us, mainly because our son is almost 9 and we just had our daughter in June so it won’t financially ruin us and we still bring the family together every once in a while.

  4. I have 3 girls, now ages 10, 8 & 7. When my
    Oldest was in first grade is when I started downsizing the birthday party.
    I did that for each of them. And now, they each get to choose 1 friend and we go do something fun as a family! Whether it’s going to a resort for the night and spending the day swimming and playing or ice skating at the Ice Den. You know what? They GET it! They understand that birthdays are a celebration of life, family and love.
    Would they like to have a big party with tons of kids and chaos? Maybe. But the most important thing is that they each know how much they are loved and how special they are. So doing what your heart tells you is the right thing for your family is going to have a positive impact on your family. Your children will see and feel just how special they are in all the other days of the year!!!

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