10 Reasons Why I’m Not Throwing a First Birthday Party

It’s so hard to believe but Rachel’s first birthday is coming up in less than a month now, so inevitably I’ve been getting questions about what we’re doing for her party.  Well, the answer is this: we aren’t doing a party.  Not a REAL one anyway, not the kind everyone seems to be doing these days.  There are a few reasons for this which I will detail below, but let me first preface this by saying I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having big (or small) birthday parties for your babies/kids, especially if it’s something you actually enjoy doing.  Furthermore Rachel & I have been to two first birthday parties in the past six weeks or so & we’ve had a great time at both.  And yes, part of me feels bad that I won’t be “reciprocating” by hosting a party for Rachel for her/my friends to attend.  However, I really just can’t muster up the energy to throw a party, & here’s why:Happy First Birthday

  1. The logical part of my brain- which is a big part of it- says “Why bother?” because she won’t remember or really understand any of it.  Maybe that’s beside the point but I can’t erase it from my head.
  2. I’m a serious introvert so the idea of hosting a party & having a bunch of people in my house all at one time is enough to make me want to cry.  For real.  I just can’t handle it.  Plus our house is small & really not ideal for hosting more than a handful of folks, & there is no way I am renting a venue for a one year old’s birthday party.

  3. I hate decorating.  It is so not for me.  Banners & balloons & all of that cutesy stuff just isn’t my cup of tea at all.  Ughhh.  (Can you tell I never use Pinterest?)
  4. Rachel’s birthday is close enough to both Thanksgiving & Christmas that I figure everyone will be busy with events related to those holidays anyway.  Maybe that’s just an excuse but I’m running with it.
  5. Rachel doesn’t need any more toys or clothes.  She really doesn’t need any THING at all, yet I know if we had a party people would feel obligated to bring gifts even if I specified “no gifts” on the invitation.  If you’re reading this & really want to get her a birthday present, please consider just getting her a book because you can NEVER have too many books.  Or there is always the option of cash or a check which we can deposit in her bank account.  But really, she doesn’t need any more STUFF.hungry hungry caterpiller
  6. None of our family lives near us so it’s not convenient for them to come down here or for us to drive several hours to them for a party, especially when everyone will have just traveled for Thanksgiving &/or will soon be traveling for Christmas.
  7. Parties cost money & while we are by no means poor, we aren’t making nearly as much money since I left the hospital & am only working part time at a clinic.  The reduced income is totally worth it because of the time I get to spend with Rachel, but it does mean we need to be more careful with discretionary spending.  And I just don’t care anywhere near enough about throwing a party to “waste” money on one.  I’d rather spend that money on her one-year pictures (which we’re doing next week).birthday cupcake 1
  8. Birthdays have never been a big thing for my family or my husband’s family, so it’s just not part of our mentality to make a big deal out of birthday parties.
  9. We love Rachel to pieces but we do not think hosting a party is a requirement to express our love for her.
  10. I am lazy.  There, I said it, so you don’t have to.

I think what we’ll end up doing for her “party” is just getting a cake when we’re visiting our families for Thanksgiving, & we can sing “happy birthday,” take lots of cute pictures, take turns cuddling & kissing her, & that will be plenty good enough for me.

halloween rachel

Here’s Rachel in her Halloween costume which I got from a friend’s yard sale.  We did not go trick or treating but I had to put her in the costume long enough to take a picture.  As you can see, she was not amused by being a peacock.  But she was a cute one nonetheless!

A few days ago I saw a post on Facebook about a mom who was incredibly stressed about her kid’s first birthday party.  She even posted pictures of the intricately decorated cakes she had made for her older children’s first birthday parties, saying how worried she was about making another one just as perfect.  I had to restrain myself from telling the woman to stop being so ridiculous & find something real to stress about.  I know that sounds awful, but seriously, ladies: none of us could possibly ENJOY fretting ourselves half to death over a party for a child who is too young to really know what’s happening & certainly won’t remember it.  I mean let’s be honest.  These parties are 99% for the parents, not the kids.  And that’s totally fine if that’s really what you want.  But there are enough real things for us to worry about as moms that to add more stress to our lives by forcing ourselves to throw elaborate birthday parties is frankly just insane.  I have a suspicion that a lot of moms throw these elaborate parties because they feel like they have to “keep up with the Joneses” so to speak.  Well, as far as I’m concerned, if anyone judges me for not throwing a birthday party for my one year old, those are the kind of people whose friendship I am not interested in having anyway.first bithday cartoon

I guess what I’m trying to say is this: if you want to throw an elaborate party for your kid, by all means, go for it.  But if it’s going to become a source of stress & frustration for you, then for goodness sake, don’t do it.  I know for me it would just be stressful & annoying which is why I’m skipping the whole routine.  End of story.

Never Say Never

Well, it’s been forever since I blogged.  Life has been a bit of a blur lately.  I truly do not know how moms who work full time survive.  I feel like I’m running ragged a lot of the time & I only work two days a week.  Then again, being a stay at home mom is in some ways the hardest job I’ve ever had, so maybe it all evens out in the end.

Anyway, this past week was one of the hardest weeks I’ve experienced since becoming a mom.  I gave Rachel cheese twice last weekend & discovered the hard way that she is most likely not yet over her dairy intolerance.  Thankfully she can handle me eating dairy now (mainly just cheese & butter as I’ve found I actually prefer soy milk & soy yogurt).  In addition to that her acid reflux seems to have made a comeback- AND she got two new teeth.  Needless to say the poor girl was downright miserable!  I ended up taking her to the doctor last Monday & we have restarted her Zantac which thankfully is really helping.  The doctor also told me to bump up her ibuprofen dose due to her weight, & that too has helped tremendously.mommy luxuries

Anyhow, with everything going on with her, Rachel became extremely clingy last week, moreso even than when she was a newborn.  I could not get her to nap anywhere other than in my arms & the second I put her down she would explode in tears & screaming fits.  I felt so bad for her but I was also losing my mind.  Part of being an introvert is that I get touched out really easily.  This was never really a problem before Rachel was born, but it’s something I knew would be a struggle for me as a mom.  And last week I just reached a breaking point.  introverts cats

I have said for months I would never do cry it out (CIO) but after four days of her napping nowhere other than my arms (or a few minutes in the car) I just couldn’t take it anymore.  I talked to several friends whom I really respect as moms & they all told me that there were times when they let their babies CIO for various reasons.  I finally came to a place where I knew that my mental health was being negatively affected by not trying CIO- & that was negatively affecting my ability to be a loving, nurturing mother.  Furthermore, I realized that as long as I could be sure that Rachel wasn’t hungry, wet/dirty, or in serious pain, it wouldn’t truly hurt her to let her cry for a few minutes, especially if it was for the sake of allowing me some precious alone time to mentally recharge.  Additionally I know that Rachel naps great for the babysitter when I work, & she obviously isn’t napping in her arms every time.  There have been a few “speed bumps” but for the most part every time I’ve tried CIO Rachel has only cried for a maximum of about five minutes before falling asleep, usually only two or three minutes.  And she is napping longer than she did in my arms because she’s achieving a deeper sleep!  I am still happy to let her fall asleep in my arms at bedtime because I do love the cuddles (& she’ll actually stay asleep when I put her down at night- I guess because she’s tired enough by then), but I truly do need her naptime to have some alone time to mentally recharge & keep myself sane. introvert fish

To be clear, prior to last week I never felt I needed to do any sort of real sleep training with Rachel because she has for the most part always been a good sleeper.  We have a great routine for bedtime & other than when she’s teething she has never fought naps too hard (with the notable exception of four months when she was just grumpy a lot, but back then she would fall asleep while I wore her in the carrier & she’d actually stay asleep when I put her down in the crib).  I certainly don’t think every parent should try CIO, & that’s not even really what this post is about.  introvert mom

What I’m really trying to say is that as moms we should probably never say never because we’ll inevitably eat those words someday.  And more importantly, we as moms have to advocate for our own mental health.  Sometimes that means doing things we’d ideally rather not do.  For some moms this means giving up breastfeeding, while for some of us it means trying CIO when we would much rather not.  For some it may mean going back to work part or full time despite having planned to be a SAHM.  I have great respect for moms who don’t get touched out as easily as I do.  Trust me, many times I wish I were one of them!  But at the end of the day I’m a saner mom if I don’t let Rachel sleep on me constantly.  And a saner mom is ALWAYS a better mom who is more capable of providing the loving, nurturing care that her child needs.  And at the end of the day, that is all that really matters.

I can’t end this post without saying thank you to all the moms who have supported & encouraged me from day one, especially those who messaged me last week when I was truly struggling.  Y’all are the best.  I really does take a village!