Finding the best kind of birthday party for your child... and you
It seems to be birthday party season around our family right now. Our children had three birthday party invitations for this weekend alone, plus our youngest turned 4 on Friday. That makes for a lot of celebrating, gift-giving, and cake-eating.
For our little guy this year we opted for family-only celebrating, which by no means leaves him neglected. We celebrated the morning of his birthday, and I took homemade cupcakes to school to celebrate with his friends. Then we had a birthday lunch with my parents, and on Sunday we will go out for a birthday dinner with my husband's family. Yes, even without a big birthday party, our youngest will be well-celebrated. I did tell him he can have a party with friends when he turns five, and he was okay with that.
Our family has tried a variety of birthday celebrating options over the years ranging from a weekend in Atlanta at the zoo and aquarium to a good old-fashioned party at home with friends, crafts, games, and cake. We had a joint birthday party for our two February kids one year at Oatland Island Wildlife Center, and we've had a simple birthday party with school friends at the neighborhood playground.
One thing I've noticed in talking with moms about birthdays is that many of us feel stressed at the thought of having a birthday party at our own homes. I feel the same way, which is part of the reason for having tried so many different party options over the years. And yet I find it a bit strange that we modern parents find stress in the old traditional way of celebrating a child's birthday.
When I was growing up it was standard to have birthday parties at the child's home. There would be game-playing, pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, pizza, and cake and ice cream. The end. Houses were not perfect, but the people were friendly and the kids had fun, which is the point, really.
So I wonder what has changed. Were moms of the past stressed by this party-hosting business? Or is there something different about us â€“ or about our society today? Could it be that the age of HGTV has made us moms, in our quest for a beautiful home, too self-conscious to host our kids' birthday parties without anxiety? Or are today's children so very different that they are too much for the average mom to handle in groups? Or are we so much more affluent today that many of us simply have spare money to burn on a party that was not an option for our parents when we were kids, and thus the standard has been raised â€“ or changed anyway?
I don't know why the kids' birthday party scene has changed so much. I just know I prefer in general to keep things simple. Especially with three kids to celebrate, I hate the thought of dropping hundreds of dollars per party. And yet I still stress over the thought of hosting a bunch of party-excited children at my home. So we'll see what we decide for next year's birthdays. What is your preferred way to celebrate your kids' birthdays?