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Birthday without a Party?

I have a confession to make…I didn’t throw my kids a birthday party this year. Come to think of it, I didn’t throw them a party last year either.

#momfail … or maybe not …

Birthday without a PartyFor the past two years, we’ve set aside our kids’ birthdays as special days filled with family fun and their favorite things. Two of my kids have birthdays five days a part. So on each of their days, we started the morning with their own special breakfast: blue pancakes for my oldest and scrambled eggs for our middle. We picked a day and spent it exploring a special attraction, and this year we experienced China at the Children’s Museum in Brownsville. [Related: Day Trip to Brownsville] To wrap it all up, I cooked their favorite meals for supper (spaghetti and tacos, thank goodness!) and baked them the cake or cupcakes of their choice. And, of course, we opened presents. 

No frills. No fuss. And I have to say, I LOVED it. 

Don’t get me wrong, I love a big, beautiful birthday party. The decorations. The party favors. The food!

The Perfect Party

Three years ago, we put on a super hero-themed birthday bash to celebrate our four-year-old, who was crazy into super heroes, and his one-year-old sister. Every super hero needs a sidekick, right?  I spent the days and weeks leading up to said party perusing Pinterest for the coolest super hero party ideas. After much toil, indecision and menu changes, I made it all come together with hand-made super-hero masks, a larger-than-life Spiderman piñata (because, really, you can’t have a South Texas birthday party without a piñata!) and enough character-themed finger foods to feed a small army of hungry friends. It was awesome! But by the end of the party, I was spent — physically and financially! 

Truthfully, even our “awesome birthday bash” was a drop in the bucket compared to most of the South Texas birthday parties I’ve been to. I mean. Wow. I don’t really even know where to start. The entire kindergarten class gets invited to the jumper place and when I walk in I realize that our gift for the birthday girl is of smaller value than the party favor my son is going to bring home.

Now, that’s a #momfail if I’ve ever seen one. Maybe the truth is that I love it when other people throw big, beautiful birthday parties…

Birthday on a Smaller Scale

There are some definite benefits to going smaller — instead of bigger — when it comes to kids’ birthdays.

1. Ability to Focus — When we put on a big party, my attention was on just that: the party. I was worried about food and RSVPs and the weather. In contrast, the past two years have been all about the kids and their favorite things.

2. Ability to Breathe — Let’s just say my anxiety and stress level has been night and day. For me, big party = big stress. When you have multiple littles, anything to cut down on the stress is worth it, in my book.

3. Ability to Cherish— I actually don’t remember a lot of details from our big, huge party because I was running around making sure everything was perfect. I don’t really think I even got to enjoy the pool or my kids. On the flip side, spending special days with them allows us to make special memories and cherish their spot as part of our family

BirthdaysThis past year, especially, my kids asked if they were going to have a party. The honest truth is that we were on vacation and time slipped away from us and we just didn’t get it together. So, next year, I’ll get the date set early and we’ll work on a party to remember, complete with themes and coordination and everything Pinterest that I can manage. Or maybe we won’t. Either way, I know that I will make it a priority to focus on my kids and cherish the special place they have in our family. 


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