Thursday, 21 February 2013
A Modern Mom’s Guide to Birthday Parties
When I was a kid, my parents used to host our birthday parties the way everyone else did: cram 30 of your closest friends and relatives into your home and feed them pizza and cheezies and homemade birthday cake. Then proceed to try and corral a bunch of sugar-high unruly children into playing games like Pin the Tail on the Donkey and some game my mom probably made up which involved holding a coin between your knees and seeing if you could walk five feet to drop it into an old pickle jar. Of course, when I was a kid, this was the epitome of awesome and most likely created a huge amount of stress for my parents.
Last year for my son’s first birthday party, we had a party at home with all the relatives who had an interest in attending. My husband and I cooked up a storm and stressed out as we planned the whole shindig, which we hosted at my parents’ house because our house is too small to host 35 people in February. It lasted for hours as everyone lingered and chatted and ate and hung out. It was great because that’s what you do for a first birthday party. Plus, I was just coming off a year of maternity leave and I was desperate to manage some kind of project to stimulate my brain. The party planning was the perfect integration for my brain to ease back into the working world.
Fast-forward one year. After spending months trying to keep my life balanced, my kitchen floor (relatively) clean and the clutter of toys in my basement under a semblance of control, I decided it was time for a new approach. This year, there was no way that I was going to cook and clean and have tons of people in my home to celebrate my son’s birthday. Not on top of trying to maintain work-life balance!
After an afternoon of research into local options, I found an awesome venue (Ethan’s Playground) which would have enough space for a whole whack of adults and lots of great stuff for toddlers to play with. They provide everything but the food and take care of mom and dad like royalty. I scheduled the party nice and early on a Saturday morning, so the whole thing would be over by noon. Just in time for a nice long nap after the party. And all the guests could still enjoy the rest of their day. Finally, I ordered a cake, threw together some loot bags and bought a bunch of food at Costco. Ta-da! Instant birthday party. No cooking, no clean-up, and all over in two hours. Everyone was happy, especially the birthday boy. And most importantly, the birthday boy’s mom.
Realistically, which this approach may have cost a bit more than having a party at home (but really not that much more), it was well worth the added expense. I’ve never organized a party that was less stressful. It was the perfect party for a two year old. I think as time goes on, this will continue to be my approach for kids’ birthday parties. The venue may change from year to year… but one constant will probably remain – it won’t be at my house!
That, my friends, is a short and sweet story about this modern mom’s guide to birthday parties – sealed with a KISS…keep it simple sweeties! Mwah!