As a parent, there are many things you expect to be stressful. The sleepless nights, the crying, the tantrums, the costs… I never imagined my kids’s birthday parties would be one of them. Who knew the planning, shopping, spending, hosting and dealing with the aftermath of a child’s birthday party could be so unbelievably draining?!
When my kids were really little, I wouldn’t throw them parties. My thought was if they weren’t old enough to ask for a party, why throw one? This opinion was not shared by many moms. Many told me I was a horrible mother for depriving my kids, and myself, of those memories. But really, what does a 1-year-old remember? Eating the box her present came in? Clearly, I didn’t feel like it was a big deal then, but now that my kids are old enough to ask, and having attended some of their friends’ events, I certainly feel the pressure to throw a FANTASTIC party now!
First, there is the issue of location. Do I want to travel with food and decorations then haul presents back to my house after it’s over? If so, is it wrong that I would want to ‘lose’ said presents because I don’t want anymore useless garbage–I mean TOYS–in my house? What will a location cost me, and will it allow adults the chance to sit down, or will they spend the entire time corralling their kids back to the party area like sheepdogs? If I have it at my home, will I feel judged, knowing my house isn’t as fancy as some of my children’s playmates? Do I need to warn people that we have a cat in case of allergies (and allergies are a whole other issue when planning the menu, of course!) or possible child animal tortures? And, honestly, do I really want a bunch of kids running through my home, perhaps going into places that are off limits and breaking something, finding something they shouldn’t (like, say, in a dresser drawer??!!) or worse, getting hurt? Also, is it totally inappropriate to serve ‘grown-up’ drinks? Because maybe I won’t stress as much about any of this if I have a ‘grown-up’ drink!
Finally, and don’t judge me for this, but I run out of ways to entertain my OWN kids and at times find them seriously ANNOYING. The thought of entertaining OTHER people’s children completely overwhelms me! Is “Pin The Tail on the Donkey” still even a thing? If it is, how many times is TOO many times to play it at one party?
Am I making this all too much for myself? Probably. I know in the end that as long as the kids all have fun, that’s what matters, and the point of a party is to celebrate the gift of life. Maybe I just need to concentrate more on the actual gift, and less on the presentation. Also, maybe I need that ‘grown-up’ drink. STAT.