So my youngest daughter is just 2.5 months away from turning 1, and you know what that means… birthday party planning time! Some might even say I’m already behind. Every year since our oldest was born three years ago, I promise my husband that the following year will just a be simple pizza-party family-only affair. And every year, as her big day draws nearer and nearer, I start to have second thoughts about not baking a million matching cake pops and inviting a bunch of kids she probably won’t play with, until I’m talked down from the crazy.
In today’s Pinterest/blog/Instagram-heavy world, a kid’s birthday party has morphed into a wedding-sized undertaking. Back in my day (who sounds old now?) my mom bought a cake, put up some streamers and invited a few friends over. Or I ate pizza and cake with my siblings. The end. Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to go to a first birthday party that cost hundreds of dollars and have loads of entertainment from professional bubble blowers to a petting zoo to a DJ (yes, for kids!) to a vintage photo booth! And then be sent home with carefully crafted favors with homemade s’mores or something equally precious inside. What happened to those cheap plastic bags with a plastic kazoo inside? All the pressure is enough to make any mom crazy. And we all know that first birthday parties are for the parents anyways. As it should be. You kept a living being alive and healthy for an entire year! That’s a huge accomplishment worth celebrating. But after that first one, I say do yourself a favor and let it go until your child is old enough to start asking for things and remembering them. Because there will be tons of those years left.
But if you really think you’re doing this for the baby that probably won’t appreciate a million strangers staring at them as you plop them in front of a cake they’re expected to gleefully smash into, you’re deluding yourself.
Because, let’s be honest, it’s not like my 1-year-old is going to remember the fabulously color-coordinated candy bar I had on elevated vintage books. Or even eat the candy.
What do you think? Have children’s birthday parties gotten out of control?