It is that time of the year again! Only this time, I am taking a stand! But let me begin with…Today, my youngest child turned three. It was great! We had a simple dinner, just my husband, birthday boy, and his sister. The servers did their annoying birthday song, and as a once-upon-a-time server who used to thank the restaurant Gods that my place of employment did not practice such a gimmick, we not only requested it, but we endured it.
(funny side-note: I believe these servers may have enjoyed themselves watching my son slap his forehead and shake his head at their ridiculousness.)
Following dinner, we played some video games and made our way home to bed. That’s it! Now, before I begin my rant, we have birthday festivities planned for this child this coming weekend to include very few of the things I’m about to let myself (and all you other moms who are consistently trying to one-up yourself from year to year) have it!! So, here it is…………… STOP THE KIDS BIRTHDAY BULLSHIT!!!!
Consider the following:
Every year we decide on a theme. My daughter has had a luau, a princess, a crayon, a Justin freakin’ Bieber, among other silly themed birthday parties. So let’s say she decides that the next birthday party should be a Monster High party (since it’s all I hear about these days). Here is how this plan would develop:
a. We MUST search Pinterest, all online party shops, all local party shops, and the birthday party catalogs that conveniently show up in my mail box (black magic) in the weeks leading up to her birthday, for ANY and ALL Monster High related birthday paraphernalia.
b. We MUST buy the following Monster High crap: dinner plates, dessert plates, napkins, cups, banners, balloons, picture booth, table coverings, decorations, goody bags, goody bag stuffers, six-foot tall cardboard cutout (I am not shitting you… check our kid with the Biebs)!
c. Let us not forget the themed birthday cake. BUT… we should probably make or purchase some cupcakes as well. You know, because even though we have had an excess of sugary frosted goodies EVERY FUCKING YEAR, we MUST be sure there isn’t the slightest possibility of running out.
*I’ll mention abundance of food again later!
It isn’t just about who is coming to the party, but how are we going to get them there? Well, OF COURSE, we will not only announce the birthday party in a cutsie invite via Facebook, which is typically geared toward our adult friends who may or may not have kids that are friends with our kid, but we also need to make sure we remembered our Monster High (continuing with this fun example) invites that she can hand out to her school friends. Wait though… that’s not all!!
Because now we have discovered how adorable picture invites are. Those ones where your kid looks all cute and smiley and stuff. You know… those $2 per card invites that will end up in someone’s garbage can a week from now. But, we MUST order enough of those to send to our family members and some of our even closer friends…or… to the kid down the street who delivered their picture invite to your front door a few weeks ago ;) !!
Now, I will thankfully state that I have not yet become that mom who has hired a clown, a performer, or better yet… paid money to have farm animals shit in my yard so our kids can get covered in goat spit for fun. But, I have fallen victim in the form of a bouncy house, a karaoke machine, a ‘picture booth,’ and a stupid piñata at EVERY SINGLE birthday she has had. But wait, keeping with the theme….let’s see… what could we do for Monster High? I KNOW!! Dance party! Complete with Monster High theme music, kids’ fave jams, props, costumes, and we cannot forget a smoke machine and maybe some strobe lights or a disco ball. See! Out of control!
This is the one that really starts to send my husband over the edge, because I literally just don’t know when to stop. I’ve elaborated a little on my need to not only order a VERY over-priced themed cake and likely provide cupcakes as well, but cake must have ice cream. Then it is important to decide whether there will be lunch or dinner involved.
I often try to chose a time where we won’t be providing people with an actual meal, but I’m not sure what the point of that is since I usually provide a meal of snacks anyway. We need chips, which must have dip. But we also have tortilla chips, which must have salsa. This is a great opportunity to make all the cream cheese dips I like to make. They need crackers. We need candy. We need cookies. We need nuts. We need drinks. DRINKS. Juice boxes, soda, and water. That’s not all. Beer for the men. Mixed drinks for the ladies. Wine for my mom. Oh yeah… all snacks MUST be held in/on a bowl or plate that matches the theme. Duh!
Okay… you get it!! I’m out of my mind! But, I don’t think I am alone. Ladies (and maybe gents, but I’ve gotta be honest girls, this is our thing!), why are we doing this to ourselves? Why are we doing this to our kids? My husband, who is likely reading this and shaking his head and laughing with defeat because he reminds me every year that I am going too far, asked me the perfect question: Is this party for her (or him), or is it really for yourself?
He’s right! Who am I planning this for? Let’s again start with theme: Who says serving cake on some plain white generic plates is gonna hurt anything? Does anyone really give a damn about strategically placed themed balloons? Guests: Really? Picture invites? Shut-the-front door on that crap. Nobody cares.
You’re just making the next mom’s life more difficult (and expensive) sending that crap out!! Entertainment: What happened to a simple game of pin-the-tail-on-the-freakin-donkey? Or… just “go play with your friends in the backyard because this is the only time you get them all in one place at one time!!!” Food: People will not starve! AND, when they leave I won’t have to worry that my jeans won’t fit for the next week or two because all that junk I over bought is still sitting on the table waiting for me to devour it.
More importantly here though… what am I teaching my children? I think as parents we always want our little people to have the best that we can provide them with, but over-indulging them sets their expectations at a level that is unacceptable. It is not reality and it teaches them nothing about valuing and appreciating just the mere fact that their friends and family have come together to celebrate their special day. There is no need for fancy props and gimmicks in order to honor our kids birth and existence.
So, put your bottle of Xanax away girl…and stop that kids birthday bullshit! There is no need for that kind of stress in your life and I promise you, your kiddo will love his/her celebration all the same. Cheers!!!