So with several children under a certain age, birthday roulette is a recurring thing on our calendars. It’s not unusual between the kids’ schools that we have at least one birthday every other weekend. . . Some weekends we have multiple birthdays. And when Spring rolls around, and the birthday part boom begins, well, pass the wine because it’s a lot of stress.
Gone are the days when my own mother had my birthday party at McDonalds. Thanks to Pinterest and Google, mothers across the neighborhood are outdoing each other at every turn. Handmade, themed cupcakes, special decorations, “smash cakes” (for the little ones), and some alluring / creative / unique theme that will ensure it’s the best party that ever was.
And then we get to the invitation lists. Let’s just say there’s nothing worse than showing up at a public location where a birthday party is taking place, where your childrens’ friends are present, yet your pride and joy(s) weren’t included. Try explaining that one.
So here are a few rules on how to navigate birthday party etiquette while still keeping your sanity (and feelings) in tact.
1.) Keep it small. Bigger isn’t always better, and does anyone really want to start instilling within their children that they had a “who’s who” birthday party, anyway? Does it matter that so-and-so was at the birthday party, if they aren’t particularly close to your child. . . When you didn’t invite your child’s actual friend because his or her mother did something to annoy you (or, gasp, isn’t part of your dinner club)? Keep the birthday about the child, not about politics, neighborhoods, or anything else superficial.
2.) Keep it easy on yourself. Do you REALLY need to hand-make 30 cupcakes? When your child looks back on his/her birthday, will they remember more the time you spent with them the days leading up to it, or will they remember that their birthday caused you to stay up all hours of the night cooking, baking, and Pinteresting? Will they remember the time you spent toiling away on chalkboard signs, or hand-lettering invitations? Keep it easy on yourself. You should celebrate this momentous occasion too, you know. You did bring your child(ren) into this world, and you should enjoy the birthday celebration just as much as anyone.
3.) No Gifts. In this day and age, many parents are opting to (PRAISE HANDS EMOJI) say on the invitation “No gifts, please.” Which is a huge relief for working parents, parents of multiples, parents of multiple children of differing ages/stages, and pretty much anyone. When you think about it, you’re setting the tone for what your child expects as a celebration of his/her birth. Do you really want them to think that they need presents to feel loved and cherished and honored? Or do you want their birthdays to teach them that it’s a coming together of people they care about, who love them in return, and having a good experience together? One recent invitation my eldest received said “No gifts, we are collecting items for the Food Bank.” I thought that was an excellent way to celebrate a child’s birthday – to instill within them from a young age that you can use your significant events in life to pay it forward. Bravo to that mom! Well done.
So there you have it. Three quick and simple tips to ensure that your children’s birthdays don’t continue in the rat-race / who-planned-it-best of children’s birthday parties.
After all, the very most important thing is that your child feels loved on his or her big day.