Happy Birthday

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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!


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4 thoughts on “Happy Birthday”

  1. i hear you on this one. i have my two turning one on the 27th of this month (what?) and we are avoiding a party for a few reasons. we love our circle of support and they all live with us so we plan on having a small cake party with dinner and play for the boys. the day before we plan on taking the boys to the aquarium with a few family members and are treating this as the special treat. i honestly cannot imagine spending more than a few dollars on some good food, i cannot wait to bake their cakes and i do not want to be that mom that is melting down with guests everywhere and crying boys feeling overwhelmed. i have been to a few lavish one year old parties this year and i am astonished at the time and money put into a party that the little ones’ cannot quite comprehend.

    good for you on not going with the trends…your babies will just know that they are loved and cherished and that is really what they need.

  2. I’m all about simplicity in our family. I want my kids and their friends to feel free to romp and have fun, not worry about decorations or schedules!

    Our first birthday party was in our home, with all the toys pulled out and all my girls’ favourite purees and cereals for snacking on. No schedule, no present opening (I had requested that people not bring presents), just a big playdate with cake.

    Our second party will be at a public park, with food served next to the playscape. The only expense will be the snacks (include homemade cupcake so EVERY child gets their own cake) and the $15 for reserving the park pavilion. Isn’t it more fun if it’s simple?

  3. Wow! That is just nuts. No child will remember their first birthday party…it is mostly for the adults. It is sad to me the way people spend all this money on things that are so usless when there are so many, many things and people who desperately need money just to feed their families.

  4. Our boys just turned 1 this weekend–we did the homemade cake with family (plus cookout and few presents) on Friday and then met our friends at the park on Saturday–no presents and we passed out Little Debbies that come twin-wrapped as the goodies for those who showed up at the park. Very easy, inexpensive, and lots of fun for all! We paid $25 to rent the picnic area w/roof at the park given the rainy spring we’ve had, but that’s about the extent of our expenditures.

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