A few months ago, there was a thread started by one of the members of my mommy group about when we were going to throw our kids a birthday party. (All of our kids’ are born either in April, May or June- every other weekend is party time for our group!) I responded that I wasn’t planning on throwing her a party while everyone else listed the date their child’s party was going to be. I know.. I know.. I sound like such a mean parent that I wasn’t planning on throwing a party for her. I felt a little bit bad about it but I hadn’t even thought about throwing her a party. It’s not because I don’t love her or don’t want to celebrate. We love to celebrate and party.
For her first birthday, we threw her a huge and elaborate party where we rented out Pretend City Children’s Museum and invited about 140 people. Our guests had a great time. Our one year old– not so much. She didn’t nap that day and was overwhelmed with the amount of people and attention so it was actually a really horrible day for her. I wish she could have enjoyed playing there because she normally loves playing at Pretend City. And since we rented out the whole place, it was not crawling with hundreds of kids. She was miserable and cried for most of the time… at least our photographer was able to get some decent pictures but if you look closely, I look stressed (because Little A was pretty miserable the whole time) and Little A’s face is red and tear-stained.
As much as I love celebrations and parties, here are some reasons why I decided to forego the party this year:
1. I wanted to wait until she made her own friends. I love my group of mommy friends and their children as well as friends from our different walks of life but if I’m really honest with myself, those are my friends or my husband’s friends and not necessarily Little A’s friends. Not that I don’t want to spend time with them or hang out with them to celebrate. But let’s face it, a party for kids 4 or under is usually for the parents and their friends. I’ve watched Little A “play” with her friends and it consists of her trying to take a toy away from her friend or of each friend playing independently but in the same vicinity. I’m sure once she starts school, she will make her own friends and I would be more than happy to help her plan a party.
2. I wanted to wait until she could help plan a party. I know what some of you are thinking. How can a little kid help you plan a party? I read this blog post from another blogger about how she had her 8 year old plan his own birthday party. She gave him a budget, reminded him of what he needed to do, and then let him do it (with guidance of course.) And to her surprise, he did a great job, took ownership of his party, had a great time, and appreciated how hard it is to plan a party. I think there is a great lesson that can be learned from it. How often do we as parents plan something elaborate and Pinterest-worthy only to have your child not appreciate it or say “that’s it?”
3. I wanted to wait until she could actually enjoy her party. Her first birthday party was at a place where the kids had such a blast playing and running around. But Little A was cranky or crying for most of the time. It broke my heart to see her this way especially since all of this was for her. I realize now that my child is a “slow to warm up” temperament and putting her in a situation where there was a lot of attention placed on her without enough time for her to “warm up” resulted in tantrums and lots of crying. And as I stated before, she didn’t have a nap that day so that made it even worse. Whatever party we have next, I want her to enjoy it and it probably won’t be until she is a little bit older. And it will probably be much smaller with just a few friends that she actually plays with and sees.
4. I wanted to do something as a family. This may sound selfish to some but I just wanted to do something with our family unit and the grandparents, uncles and aunties. Part of my reasoning is that when she is older, I feel like her friends will become more important to her so I just wanted it to be about family while she is young and still enjoys spending time with us (not that she really has a choice since where will she go off to as a two year old?) So for her birthday this year, we spent the whole day together– just the three of us. We took her to a character breakfast at Goofy’s Kitchen then spent the rest of the day at Disneyland. Then we took her to go eat her favorite Korean fish dish for dinner. That weekend, we had dinner with her grandparents. It was so wonderful to enjoy that time together as a family.
5. I don’t want her to grow up to be entitled. There is nothing that we wouldn’t do for our daughter but I don’t want her to grow up to be a brat or like one of those girls from My Super Sweet 16. I don’t want to raise a child who feels like she is entitled to everything. I want her to be thankful, humble, and kind. (Not that children who have birthday parties every year are not thankful, humble or kind.) It’s such a struggle to want to do everything and get everything for your child versus teaching them to work hard for it. I am trying to figure out a way to balance the two especially since I feel like as I grew up, my parents were really strict with us.
These reasons might all go out the window next year when her 3rd birthday comes around. I felt some mom guilt for not throwing her a party but I also liked how we were able to celebrate it simply.