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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- We love Rachel to pieces but we do not think hosting a party is a requirement to express our love for her.
- 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.
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.
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.