Birthdays…

Looking back on my childhood from what I can remember… birthdays were always a simple and family oriented event. We would all come together for dinner or a late lunch, and cake and ice cream. I would play with my cousins, running around the house making messes and having so much fun! I did not start celebrating with friends from school until I was in kindergarten and even then it was like everyone went to chucky cheese and then the following weekend we would have a big family party. We stopped the family parties when I was maybe in middle school… but looking back I miss them!

Since my little girl was in day care, she has been invited to birthday parties and princess parties where they all dress up and have tea and cookies, and play. There is actually a place here in town you can pay $250 for your toddler/child to come for 4 hours and do this with their friends… seriously! First of all who has that kind of money to waste for 1 day just for fun… secondly, why? There are a million other things you can do as a playdate for your child and their friends…but I digress this is about birthdays…

I have never taken my daughter to these birthdays. For one: it started when she was still in diapers and couldn’t even remember the kids names. For two: I guess I am just selfish in this case but I think it would’ve been pointless… I dont know the parents, my daughter doesn’t know these children… and I am not a very social person to just start a conversation with people I don’t know in their house with their friends…

Recently my little girl, or as she likes to say “I’m a big girl mama”, just turned 5. She starts kindergarten in the fall and I am starting to feel anxiety already about these impeding birthday invites. I can’t deny my child these much longer, and now that she has “solid” friends from pre-school that she plays with and knows all by name, it’s become inevitable she will be getting more invites soon…

We recently took a trip to visit my family, some of whom I have not seen in years, and we visited over a weekend that was just after my little ones birthday. As a surprise for her, they threw a little party and gave her gifts, we had dinner and cake… it felt like the old times when I was a kid growing up with all my cousins and little brother…

She had a blast! Running around with my little cousins and playing with all the toys. It made me think… am I depriving her of these fun times as a child? She doesn’t have any cousins near by to play with. Just baba, mama, her little puppy and her baby brother ~ whom can’t really play yet ~ so her friends from school would be the alternative. However, we live several towns away from all her friends so what to do?

I think one of the biggest things about birthdays now a days, is that everyone is trying to outdo each other. With new ideas everyday coming from everywhere on Instagram and Pinterest it makes it so easy to outdo your neighbor. When one person has a simple dress-up princess party or superhero party, the next person has to rent they giant bounce house, pony rides and iron man himself! Then there are the activities or games for the kids to play and the gift bags for the kids that came ~ its the birthday girls/boys day but you spend more money on the thank you gift bags than you do on your own child it seems. Maybe its different in other countries? Maybe its just the USA thats gotten away from the basics? But again, do I stick with the changing times and give my daughter a party she won’t remember in 5 years, or do I keep it simple and stick to family and keep on trying to instill in her the importance of family and simplicity?

…I’d like to hear what others have done or plan to do? Am I selfish or too strict?

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