I sat blurry eyed, staring at my computer in disbelief. I slammed it closed in frustration and slid into bed. Not that I would sleep anyways. I tossed and turned the whole night, trying to figure out a solution for my predicament. A birthday party. Oh yes, you read that correctly. I lost sleep over my son's BIRTHDAY PARTY planning. Did I mention that he'll be two?
Folks, how on earth did we get here? What's wrong with just slicing cake, and playing with squirt guns? Why am I panicking over etiquette and feeling guilty for asking for clothes instead of toys? When did birthday parties gain such high expectations? No one, and I repeat, NO ONE should be losing sleep over a birthday party, no matter the age. I've decided we should make some changes, let's shake up these new cultural "norms" and bring the fun back into parties!
INVITES: Guys, these go in the TRASH. You know that right? It will adorn the fridge for a month, get lost amongst the school work and eventually make its way to the recycle bin. Eventually. Don't waste a ton of money on over-the-top, 3D, holographic invitations. Electronic invites are adorable! Cute, great for the environment, and many are free! Plus, when the invite is in your texts or e-mails, you can easily pull it up on your phone when you're scrambling to find the address! Great for your wallet, great for your guests!
WISH LISTS: Please!! Please, please, please can we make this a thing?? I don't want to be rude and seem like I'm asking for gifts, or I'm not grateful for gifts. At the same time, my kid needs another toy like he needs a hole in the head. However, not many people gifted clothing past 24months at his baby shower, so he could really use some footie pajamas. Not only that, but I always get so much anxiety over buying gifts for kids birthdays. Do they already have this toy? Do they even like this cartoon character? Is this the RIGHT character? I don't want my money to be wasted on a gift they don't really want. There's so many solutions to this! I've heard that "fiver parties" are gaining popularity. Everyone just gifts a $5 bill! Perfection! Or some of my friends have asked for donations to their favorite local charity in lieu of gifts! I love all of these ideas, let's do them mamas!
THE LOCATION: I was astounded at the cost and effort it takes to simply get a ramada at a park. That's it! That's all I wanted. Depending on the city you have to call a certain amount of days ahead, months if you don't live in that city. Some require specific permits even. Music? Beer for Dads? You need a permit. Not only that, but some parks locally charged over $90 for a ramada! COME ON! What happened to the days where we just pull up our cooler and call it a day? Entertainment places, trampoline parks etc. all charge upwards of $200 just for the kids and very basics for the party. This is a lot of burden on families, especially those who really can't afford it. Let's find more basic, simple solutions to keep adults and kids happy. I recently went to a party where the family put a bounce house in the yard, laid out some drinks and snacks, and that was IT! You know what? It was amazing. Relaxed and casual! Don't feel pressured to put on a huge ordeal for the kiddos, they love playing with their friends regardless of strobe lights, tokens and deafening music.
KEEP IT SIMPLE SWEETIE: We've all heard it all our lives yet, with the presence of social media, we seem to do exactly the opposite. I am the first to say I'm guilty of this one. My baby shower was truly "Pinterest Perfect." Yet, I know that my mom and friends put in a lot of time, effort and money into making it all happen. I love that we enjoy celebrating others, celebrating life and new life. Yet, we don't need picture perfect table settings and Instagram worthy crafts. Just BE with the people you love! Enjoy their company, provide refreshments and lose the pressure to have this ideal looking party. I think so often we get so stuck in needing to create something that is social media "worthy" that we lose the entire meaning behind what we're celebrating! Your child will never be that age ever again. They won't care if their party had a balloon arch or not. They will care that you relaxed and had fun. They will remember you joining in on the water balloon fight or a game of tag.
I don't mean to be a giant party pooper, I just want to relieve this pressure we've somehow put upon ourselves. This is my call to all you moms out their feeling the burden to create an over-the-top event that is talked about for years to come (because it won't be.) Give yourself a break, do what your kid loves and keep it simple. Buy the giant Costco sheet cake and cut yourself a slice! Have your cake and eat it too!