Over the last decade, and particularly since Pinterest got big, birthday parties have been over the top. Drip cakes, balloon garland, giant inflatable bounce houses, and even petting zoos.
Where did all this come from! When I was a kid I didn’t have any of that, and somehow still had a blast.
Everything now seems like a competition of who can do it best. Who has the best theme? Who has the best decorations? Who has the most guests? Who spent the most money? Who has the best post party social media posts?
I’ve gotten caught up in all of that myself. I remember Paxton’s first birthday. My boyfriend, Kyle, and I wanted to go all out, especially since he’s our first baby together. I found the cutest theme on Pinterest, The Big One. 𝘒𝘺𝘭𝘦’𝘴 𝘧𝘢𝘮𝘪𝘭𝘺 𝘭𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘴 𝘧𝘪𝘴𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨. For months I saved all the best ideas to a Pinterest board. I wanted everything to be perfect.
We did a cake smash photo session a few weeks before his birthday.
I spent 𝗮 𝗹𝗼𝘁 of money buying decorations on Etsy for his party that, thankfully, I was able to use for his pictures.
For the party, we rented out a room that could easily fit 40 people. My boyfriend has a pretty big family, and we invited everyone.
And everyone said they’d be there.
The week of the party we made sure everything was ready. I did my last shopping trip to Hobby Lobby. I made some signs for a photo booth. I filled tiny beach buckets with candy and toys for all the kids. I had a bunch of pictures printed for his monthly sign. I bought tons of candy, and food. I made an ocean themed sensory bin full of water beads. We had matching shirts made.
The day of his party was hectic. Trying to time his nap perfectly, so he wouldn’t be a mess during his own party. Getting everyone into their party shirts that they were not to get a mark on. Spending an hour setting all the decorations up.
After trying to make sure everything was perfect, you know how many people actually showed up to the party? Maybe half of the people who said they’d be there.
I was bummed.
I barely remember spending much time with him at his party.
We blew out the candles on the cake.
No one handed me a trophy for all my hard work.
I was thankful when it was over.
As we cleaned up the party and carried everything back to our vehicles I wondered why I had put myself though all that stress. What was it really for? Not Paxton. He couldn’t have cared less! It was just me trying to impress everyone. Show how much I really love Paxton.
Paxton’s second birthday was in the middle of a pandemic. Since we weren’t able to throw an actual party for him, we did a birthday parade.
There weren’t any fancy decorations.
We didn’t spend a ridiculous amount of money.
We had a blast that day! I spent it entirely with him, present and relaxed.
It was pure joy watching him smile as all the cars drove by honking and waving to him.
This is what it’s all about!
The truth is, you’re kids don’t feel more loved if you have a giant inflatable castle at their party. They don’t feel more loved if you rent out the trampoline park. Your kids don’t care about all that extra stuff. As long as there is cake, presents, and you by their side nothing else matters.