Next month, my babies will turn one. About a dozen of our family members, and a handful of my friends will celebrate their big day with us. Their party will be at our house, with a potluck lunch, strategically scheduled around nap time. There will be balloons from the dollar store on the front fence, quilts on the ground and a washtub of iced down cokes. I plan on making their cakes, and can’t wait to see their expressions as they dive into their yummy treats. Honestly, this party is as much about Jay and I surviving our first year of parenthood, as it is about our little ones!
Our party will be simple. Family. Food. Cake. Play. And it won’t cost me more than any other party we have ever hosted…unless you count the balloons. That is why, it totally floors me when I heard a recent report on the news about lavish parties for kids. I watched the report with my mouth gaping…the idea of spending thousands of dollars on a one year old’s birthday party?! Tens of thousands?! Not in this house, not in this lifetime.
I have wonderful memories of my birthdays as a kids…I clearly remember my receiving my first big girl bike (a Strawberry Shortcake one), hiding under the table at Chuck E Cheese when the animals came out to sing to me, inviting my now-step-dad to my rollerskating party. My family surprised me with a special sweet 16 party, and a surprise party at 18. But none of these parties were over the top. They were quite modest, with a few balloons, homemade cakes, and the same “Happy Birthday!” banner, every year.
Parenting is competitive. And the competitiveness starts early, with talk of how much weight we gained during pregnancy, which carseat we registered for, and of course, the method of delivery. Seriously? I don’t buy it. Why should I be competing against other mom’s? Other mom’s aren’t me. I am me. And to be honest, I think there are more mom’s like me, who value family over things, time over money, and the simple pleasures of an ordinary life over celebrity hype.
So, will I feel badly about not having a $50, 000 first birthday party? Um, no. Not even close. I think for now, I will just spend my party planning thinking about where I am going to put everyone if it happens to rain!