Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Birthday Blow-outs

I just read an article (I think it was in Newsweek), about these lavish, over the top, themed birthday parties parents are now hosting for their kids. It's the new thing to keep up with the Joneses. These aren't your run-of-the-mill birthday cake, pin the tail on the donkey parties, these are parties where parents spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to hire magicians, face painters, theme party specialists, the whole shebang including dozens of kids, so little Mary can have the biggest freaking blow-out a five year old has EVER seen. Not like she'll really remember it in six years anyway.

Those parents are sure making my run-of-the-mill cake and icecream, pin the tail on the donkey party for Unruly look cheap. I'm a cheap, lousy mom. I've ruined her life FOREVER because I didn't give her that experience of a special day and spend a scad of money doing it. Top that with my absolute refusal to enroll her in any kind of Gymboree class and it equals absolute failure as a parent. I've intentionally stunted her future. How will she ever be able to forgive me?

Just kidding. We had a blast at her party. I spent well under $100 for the whole thing and the kids went home happy and exhausted. Isn't that the point of any party for kids anyway? I don't think a six year old truly appreciates the effort and thought that goes into one of those theme parties, and honestly, they really don't sound all that much fun too me. Most kids just want to run around with their friends, get presents and pop balloons.

I just don't get why some parents feel the need to be so extravagent to host these insane parties for the little darlings. Could it be they feel guilty about working 40+ hours a week and on weekends instead of fitting in time with their kids? Does Little Suzy really need to have a fully-catered princess party with makeovers, crowns and hired hairstylists? What's wrong with letting those little buggers just run around like lunatics for a couple of hours...what's wrong with just letting them be kids instead of always trying to structure their time?
Unstructured time is the best time for exploring and learing, in my opinion. Too much structured play stunts their creativity.

Ok, I'll be the first to admit I should spend more quality time with my girls. I work more than I'd like, but I make sure the time I do have with them is generally time with them doing, whatever. We play board games, take nature hikes, visit the zoo so often I know all the animals on a first name basis and read stories out loud so often I think my vocal chords are going to dry up and fall out. I've also extensive experience as a unicorn, lion, zebra, dragon, scullery maid, queen, horse, eagle, princess and space alien.

I don't feel I have to make up the time I missed spending with them with them by whipping out enormous checks for a fancy cake, a catered party and a bounce house. Those things are NOT going to make up for all the times I wasn't there when I probably should have been. Being there more often will.

I'll never be a stay at home mom and I'm fine with that, I just have to learn how to juggle everything (and I mean everything!) more efficiently and effectively so the kiddos don't feel like they somehow deserve lavish birthday parties!

1 comment:

Mocha said...

I still haven't learned to juggle everything. Some things just had to give.

Homemade cakes, being with family, and laughing with my kids is far more important than those themed parties.