A Lesson Learned: Birthday Parties

We have done only very simple family-only birthday parties for both of the boys. Granted, there are 7 cousins ages 5 and under, so there are still plenty of kids! The reason we have only done famiy is mostly because I want the party to be more about them and less about my (not-so-good) party-planning abilities. I look with admiration (and I’ll admit it…a little bit of envy) at both real-life and blog friends who create beautiful, intricately-planned birthday parties for their little ones.

And then I feel guilty. Why didn’t I do that for my child? I should have made it more special! I’m a terrible party-planner and hostess…why do all of those details stress me out?

And then I remind myself again…birthday parties are for the kids, not for the parents. The birthday boy/girl is probably just as happy to have a few people who love him/her and cake than outstanding decorations and TONS of people. Plus, if throwing a “huge” party is going to stress me out and make me cranky at my own kids for their birthday…that’s not really fair to them either. On the other hand, if parents like planning parties and it doesn’t stress them out…more power to them! That (unfortunately) just isn’t me.

I’m glad I reminded myself of this. Our “simple” birthday party got taken down to an even simpler notch. Big Brother’s family birthday was planned for Friday night. On Thursday, both Prince Charming and I had the stomach flu (my second time in 3 weeks). I planned to make a Veggie Tales cake (since I normally try to at least make the boy’s cakes) and I was going to make dinner for both our families. But I wasn’t feeling up to it. So we pushed back the party 30 minutes…I picked up a cake, some ice cream, and a few balloons from the grocery store and everyone came over for just cake, ice cream, and presents!

And guess what…Big Brother couldn’t have been any happier!!!


  1. Just remember: Fun is fun and you don't need to impress anyone.

    We've always celebrated birthdays only as a family, unless it is a big one 1, 10, 16…
    and I USED to BE an event planner.

    I also think if you make such high expectations of parties and gifts for your kids, they will expect them. We've had good years and rough years, so what do you tell your kid when all of a sudden you/Prince Charming is laid off and their birthday isn't the social event of the year? Besides, BIG parties often make kids overwhelmed. Always do what's right for you and your family.

  2. We also only do family parties. It's more personal that way. They get cake and presents, and then they have something to tell their friends about later on. Plus, at the end of the day, mommy is still in a good mood, not so stressed out that she is sending everyone to bed early…

  3. I love family birthday parties! Growing up, we celebrated most birthdays with our family and then on some of the big ones I had a party with friends. And even those were pretty low key (like a sleepover). We've had both kinds for our oldest, mainly b/c our family is not close enough for all of them to come, and also to indulge my own need to create something (I LOVE coming up with themes/ideas/decorating-it's a sickness). But you're right, they are happy with simple; we are celebrating them after all! It's all about being a family and celebrating the wonderful miracle and blessing they are! Happy birthday to your precious boy!

  4. Im sorry Brent and I missed all the mayhem! I heard everyone had a great time. I hope you are feeling better. We had a great time in SC but I am happy to be home. We missed the kids SOOO much! I hope Caleb liked his puzzles.

  5. It's nice to see a picture of you! I've been reading your blog for quite a while (and have gotten lots of great ideas–thanks), but it's nice to put a face with the name. Great picture of your family!

  6. I LOVE that you don't feel pressured into doing an over-the-top, HUGE party with tons of people there. My son is just turning 3 and isn't in daycare or preschool yet so he doesn't have friends his age and we have only done the family parties. I live in an area where it seems that a lot of people want to out-do everyone else with over-the-top, expensive parties and I'm not looking forward to the days when my son will be invited to them and I'll feel the pressure to reciprocate. While I'm fine not spending a ton of money for some fancy party, I don't want to feel guilty every year if I don't do a major party for my son. I think select years are okay for big parties, but I think most years, small, simple, and just family is much better.

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