The Real Reason Why We Find Our Kids Birthday Parties Stressful
I woke up this morning, and realised to my horror, that it is just 15 days until my son’s birthday…and I have organised NOTHING! The instant and heavy pressure of anxiety settled in on my chest as I thought about all the work (and cost) involved in hosting a birthday party, and slap-bang in the middle of the school holidays too.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a good party as much as the next mum, but don’t you think that we (and let’s face it, it’s predominantly us women that shoulder most of the responsibility and work in organising and pulling off these parties) put ourselves under quite a significant amount of pressure over them. We spend hours upon hours baking and decorating cakes and assembling plates of food; little physical expressions of our maternal love, only for them to be gobbled up in seconds, or worse have the icing licked from them before being trampled into our carpet.
Did you know that the average amount of money spent on kids birthdays in Australia is between $500 and $1000? That’s way more even than parents in America, who spend on average around $254 USD on their kids parties.
My son appeared dressed in his school uniform, just as I was making a cup of coffee and trying to figuring out how I was going to find the money, time and energy to throw a party on par with his brother’s Minecraft Party, and get some invitations out quick smart.
“Only 15 days until my birthday” he said seeming to read my mind.
I felt the physical sensation of my chest tightening as the cost of everything ran through my head at a million miles an hour.
“Yeah I was just thinking about that.” I smiled. “What did you want to do for your birthday this year?”
“Well, its in the school holidays so can we go to LEGOLAND? It looks amazing! If Nana asks what I want for my birthday can you say LEGO, or money then I can buy some LEGO.”
“Sure. But I mean for your party.”
“Oh. Can I just have two friends for a sleepover so we can play the XBOX and have a Netflix movie night? There’s this really good game…”
And with that I actually exhaled deeply for the first time all morning as I realised it’s ME who puts the pressure on myself to make the parties bigger and better each time. My son will be happy to scoff pizza and spend some time with his two best buddies gaming and watching movies together.
“But can you make me a cake with The Flash on it?” he asked looking hopeful.
“Of course!” I said pulling him in for a big hug, making a mental note to remember it’s sometimes the little things that have the most impact. Whether we spend a $100 or a $1000 dollars on their ‘party’ it isn’t a reflection of how much we love them or of our worthiness as a parent. So, don’t be afraid to cut yourself some slack sometimes and keep things simple.
Do you put pressure on yourself when it comes to throwing your kids birthday parties? Do you revel in it or find it stressful?
TIP: My children are a little old now, but if you happen to have little ones between the age of 1-4 years old you might enjoy a new feature Netflix has released today that can make your child’s birthday special for them. Parents can now search ‘birthday’ on Netflix and find a series of 15 2-minute videos with kids favourite characters from King Julien to Barbie and Pokemon, who will wish them a special ‘Happy Birthday.’
Complete list of Happy Birthday videos: Dreamworks All Hail King Julien, Barbie, Beat Bugs, Dreamworks Dinotrux, Las Leyendas, LEGO Friends, LEGO Ninjas, Luna Petunia, Project Mc2, Skylanders Academy, Dreamwork Trollhunters and Word Party.
I can just imagine the looks on their little faces!
Have a great week!