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I don’t know about you, but I am constantly feeling pressure to be the perfect parent. This is due to lots of things, like our culture and the fact that I’m ridiculously hard on myself. Oh, and Pinterest, too. Definitely Pinterest. How can something you love so much be so bad for you?
By now, you’ve probably figured out that I am NOT a Pinterest mom. But that doesn’t stop me from trying! Yep, I’m one of those people who has 20 boards with thousands of pins and I’ve maybe actually used 10 of them because, well, time.
The evidence of this lies in the planning of my older son’s 1st birthday party. I was a giant ball of stress throughout the entire process, pinning like a mad woman, and trying to work some magic that I, quite frankly, couldn’t afford (time-wise and money-wise). I spent $5,000 on that party; And my son slept through half of it! Not only that, I was annoyingly uptight throughout the entire party.
Was it worth it? Nope.
For those of you who are like me – thinking you have to be this mystical creature of perfect parent – stop it. None of that stuff is important – your kid doesn’t care about the fancy invitations or if you had a freaking billboard of his milestones on display. He, or she, cares about family and cake. That’s it. It’s that simple.
I mean, I grew up in the 80’s – my parties were in my parents’ backyard with some hot dogs and burgers on the grill and a cake. There were no party themes. The theme was “It’s my damn birthday” and that was more than enough! Our close family came and it was super laid back. My parents didn’t stress over any of this.
And you know what? Some of my greatest childhood memories are from those parties!
My second son’s 1st birthday is coming up in a few weeks, and I now have a few tricks up my sleeve to make everything more enjoyable.
Don’t stress about it. Have fun with it! They are only little once – enjoy it! If you make it simple, you’ll look forward to the party, instead of stressing over it and dreading it.
I stressed like crazy over my older son’s first birthday party and I didn’t have much fun at all. I just had my second son’s first birthday party a few months ago. Instead of going nuts trying to make every tiny detail super special, I ordered some subs, bought some decorations, and got a cake from my local grocery store.
I was so relaxed throughout the entire party and had tons of fun laughing and chatting with friends and family.
Have it at your house. If you don’t have the space, have it at a family member’s house. Before we moved into our new house, I had birthday parties at my parents’ house.
If no one’s willing or able, have it a park or an inexpensive restaurant. I’ve done this as well at a local pizzeria. It wasn’t fancy, but it was fun! Again, keep it simple.
Send out evites. Evites are awesome! They make life so much easier for you because you don’t have to buy stamps, go to the post office, or lick envelopes. You just pick and customize your design, upload your guests’ email addresses, and click “send”. You can easily see how many people have RSVP’d yes, maybe, or no.
They make it easy for your guests, too! They just click their RSVP choice and they can leave a message if they’d like. Also, they can easily pull up the evite at any time to access the party details (vs. a print invitation that they may lose).
If you just can’t bring yourself to do an invitation via email, then buy some at a party store or go with the custom invitations from Etsy (and spend the extra money on having them printed and mailed to you, if you can. This will not only save you lots of paper cuts, but it will also save you lots of time).
Buy some food and drinks. Doesn’t have to be gourmet! Pizza, soda, some adult beverages if you so choose. Food, drinks, and good conversation are the birthday party trifecta!
Bake a cake – even from a box. Or pick one up at a grocery store or a nearby bakery. You can never go wrong with an ice cream cake!
FYI – those super creative cakes look cool, but don’t always taste that great. Take my word for it. Save your money.
Don’t go crazy with games and activities. Pin the tail on the donkey was always a hit, right? And the convenient thing about kids – they have imaginations. Let them use them!
Set the tone of the party with music. Make a playlist on Spotify.
Take pictures! But take them because you want to remember this day and this occasion. Don’t take them so that you can show what a perfect life you have to your social media friends. This is important – if you are taking pics for the sole purpose of posting and boasting on Facebook, you’ll spend the entire day obsessing over getting the perfect picture, and you’ll miss out on the stuff that matters – memories with your friends and family.
When the party is over and the last guest has left, pour a glass of your fave vino, plop down on the couch, and congratulate yourself. Not only did Junior have a kick ass time at his party, but you did too!
I promise that if you follow these steps, you, your kid, your guests, and your wallet will have an ahhh-mazing time!
And all that money that you’re NOT spending on the party? Put it towards a family vacation or a savings account. It’s a win-win all around!
What do you do for childrens’ birthday parties? If you could cut back and save some money on them, what would you use that money for? Do you think the party would still be fun?