I’ll be the first to admit it – I can’t seem to throw my son a low-key birthday party. I didn’t write about this topic here last year because I was embarrassed at the extravaganza that was my son’s first birthday party.Â Now, I didn’t go to the lengths that these parents did to entertain my child ($38K, c’mon!), but I did rent out a party space, hire entertainment and feed my guests smoked salmon.Â It all worked out well, but after an undisclosed sum later,Â I swore up and down that we would tone it down for next year.
But my son’s birthday is around the corner again, and I am finding myself in a similar situation.Â I’ve booked a venue, a cute playroom where they have music and singalongs, and I decided on a menu, albeit one that is more appropriate for aÂ two-year-old vs. a 60-year-old.Â I’ve talked to a party coordinator at the facility (what theme do I want? Huh? No Elmo?) and am currently working on goodie bags. I thought about having the party at our house, but when I figured out the cost of hiring someone to clean up cake and grease off our walls I figured it was worth the extra money to outsource kiddie clean up to someone else.
I even spent time and energy in selecting the right invitation.Â One of my friends is in the invitation business so we were able to mix a play date with some serious stationery shopping. (The options for kidsâ€™ birthday party invites are tremendous â€“ it took me over an hour and two episodes of Dora to finalize it.) I tried to keep the invite list short of course, as we all do with weddings and bar mitzvahs, but when youÂ have to include everyone in your preschool class (it’s the rule and probably a good one), your husband’s business associates, your two playgroups and other oldÂ friends,Â it can get unruly. Unfortunately, my â€œperfectâ€ venue charges extraÂ per child after the first 15.Â I was a bit miffed about that but only realized it after I sent out 45 invites. By my crude math that would mean I’d have to get a 33% response rate to make my minimum quota.Â That might beÂ good for a randomÂ marketer’s survey, but no mom only wantsÂ a third of her son’s friends to show up to the party. Well, at least not this mom.
Yes, my tongue was very dry after licking all these envelopes.
I never pictured myself as a mom who would ever engage in such behavior.Â I canâ€™t believe Iâ€™m actually thinking about ALL MY FRIENDS who haven’t RSVPâ€™d yet, but I have to admit it â€“ this birthday party thing is actually FUN. Knowing my son will be hamming it up with
20 30 of his closest friends makes me giddy. Even if he doesnâ€™t quite get that heâ€™s going to be two years old.Â Figuring out the music and the celebration routine for the party is cute. I realize that this all probably sounds like a little much to the rest of the world, but I donâ€™t yet feel that things are that out of hand. (Ok, maybe the super-sized invitations werenâ€™t normal, but I digress.) I mean, itâ€™s not like Iâ€™m getting that crazy triple-tier-Sesame-Street thing-y that I saw in the fancy bakery window the other day. Cake is actually one place where I refuse to go over the top. The sheet cake from Jewel is incredibly yummy.
Plus, all my mom friends and I have fun attending each othersâ€™ parties. We laugh and gossip and it gives us something to do on a Sunday morning in March.Â Hell,
I most of us donâ€™t work anymore, so we need something to do. (That was a joke. Not the work part, the needing something to do part.)So I guess what I am saying is, I donâ€™t think itâ€™s that bad to throw your child a bit of an indulgent birthday party if you want and have the means to. I donâ€™t think thereâ€™s anything wrong with 20 30 kids playing, dancing to music and laughing even if it costs me an extra $50. I like the fact that my son has some peers to celebrate and learn from. Iâ€™m not saying that I will do this every year, but as long as it remains enjoyable forÂ me my son, Iâ€™m going to keep doing it.
And it sure beats the heck out of trying to get pizza sauce stains out ofÂ my carpet, don’t you think?
Note: I did NOT under any circumstances hire a party planner for my son’s birthday. It just so happened that on staff at the venue where we’re having the party is a “birthday coordinator” who helps you arrange food delivery, etc. Â You couldn’t pay me to do that job.