Our oldest daughter turns 7 on Friday and I’m not going to lie to you; when she asked us if she had to have a birthday party or if we could invite our best friends on a weekend getaway at her favorite hotel instead, we jumped at the opportunity. Literally, we jumped. YES! No party to plan! No ridiculous 3-tier cake, no spending thousands on decorations, food, drinks, entertainment, favors and a bounce castle. No prepping our house for days and then staring with sadness at the mess that has to be cleaned up before I can go to bed – I really cannot sleep if my house is even a little messy, so it’s a problem for me. We love the idea so much we plan on being out of the house by 9 am Friday morning for our fun family birthday weekend getaway – and we don’t care that it’s going to cost a lot more. It’s so much less stressful.
See, becoming a parent was the most amazing moment of our lives, and planning that first birthday party was something so much fun and so special. Fast forward 7 years and four kids and planning birthday parties makes me want to crawl into bed in the fetal position and cry my eyes out (though I did have an absolute blast with the twins’ first birthday party earlier this year. Last babies, last first birthday party, a party for twins and a first party for our first and only boy…it was all kinds of goodness). The stress. The obsessive compulsive perfection. The personalized water bottle labels. The personalized napkins. The ridiculous fact that we throw mini-weddings for our kids when they become a year older; it’s sick and disgusting. But once you start, it’s hard to stop. We fall into the trap, and we hate it.
If you want my complete honesty, I think that this celebration should be for me. I pushed four kids out. I’m the one that went through 9 (sober) months of pregnancy and endured the endless stupid questions from strangers. Everyone should be bringing me a bottle of wine and taking the kids out of the house for the day so that I can celebrate the fact that we made it another year without going totally insane (probably). But, since birthday parties are for the kids, they kind of just suck. Trust me; they’re the worst – and this is why.
Listen, I’m happy living a comfortable lifestyle and I don’t mind spending money on my kids. But even though I’m not on a tight budget, the sheer expense of one day for a kid (times four since that’s how many I have) blows my mind. Seriously; we spend thousands and it’s ridiculous. There’s a lot of self-loathing and self hatred every single time I swipe my debit card buying party supplies and when I get the bill from the caterer. I mean, come on. I hate myself for not being able to quit.
You Don’t Care about Keeping up with the Joneses, but Your Kids Expect Certain Things
We aren’t particular about doing things because other people are doing them. I don’t care if your kids have a clown and a pony or whatever. But we always have to have a bounce castle with an attached slide and it has to be the biggest one ever. Why? Because we’ve all rented the same one since our kids’ first birthday parties and now it’s expected by the kids. When we go to a birthday party thrown for a kid not in our circle of friends, our kids are horrified when there is not a bounce house (or a smaller one) since one cannot possibly celebrate a birthday without the biggest one ever. Our kids are spoiled, and we have to deal with our role in that.
They Spoil our Kids
Please see above.
Food, drinks, my floors, nap time, is there enough toilet paper in the bathrooms, if I light amazing scented candles in the bathrooms will some kid go in there and light my house on fire, why is that child eating an Oreo ball on my white floors/furniture? Parties likes this are stressful. I mean, I literally spend hundreds of dollars at the liquor store just to make them more bearable for all the parents. Okay, so that doesn’t suck.
You have to Socialize
I love to socialize, but I do not like to be the hostess. This requires me to socialize with everyone when I’d much rather just sit down with the people I like best and ignore everyone else. Oh, and not have to worry about refilling things and checking on things. Can someone else just do this for me, please?
You have to Have Kids Over
Because my own four kids aren’t loud enough, annoying enough or whiny enough, let’s go ahead and invite 20 more kids over that are usually more annoying than my own kids. I mean, that sounds beyond awesome, right? Wrong.
You have to Give Other People Gifts
All right, I will tell you this; I don’t do favors. I cheat. I buy pretty decorative boxes and send everyone’s kids home with a piece of left over cake (because we cannot possibly feed 3 tiers to 50 people if we forced them to eat more). It’s cheating, I know. But it works. I am not about to spend even more money on gifts for your kids. And I hate people that throw parties and send my kids home with a bag of sugary candy (they already had cake, and oreo balls and chips and God only knows what else) and whistles. I hate those parents. Do you hear me? I hate you.
No One, and I mean No One, Ever has the Common Courtesy to RSVP
So…our closest friends RSVP and you think, great, I can throw a party for 10 and it’s going to be cheap and awesome. Nope, 75 people show up. They don’t care that you’re either going to have nowhere near enough food or you’re going to spend thousands of dollars on food for 75 and only 10 show up. So annoying, and this is something that makes me dislike humanity as a whole.
Kids love them, parents hate them. My kids have enough stuff. They have closets filled with clothes they’ll never wear. They have four bedrooms and a playroom worth of toys to play with, and they usually don’t even bother with that stuff. So please, come on over and bring a million things that I’m going to have to wash, remove, set up and put away on top of everything else I’m already doing. I love that.
Pretty much, this sums itself up. So far, we’ve not done the whole invite your classmates and their families we do not know. We keep our parties only to friends and family, and that’s good for us. It eliminates people. I don’t need more people not letting me know they’ll be here, bringing gifts and making a mess in my house since they don’t ‘care’ if their kids eat chocolate brownies on their own furniture, so I don’t either, right?
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