A Mother Far from Home

on becoming supermom

What I Learned at a birthday party


I planned a birthday party for my boss recently. I have yet to enter the birthday-party-every-weekend phase of life since my children are a little young for that, but boy did I get a taste of what’s to come.

Here’s what I learned:

1) Adults are way more concerned with party decor than kids. Back before pinterest we could only compare our party efforts to those of our friends and neighbours. Now, oh goody, we can compare ourselves to women all over the world. Three yards of multi-patterned fabric bunting with embroidered monogram. Pom poms, topiaries and garland – homemade – of course. When I was growing up there was a $2.50 Happy Birthday banner from Wal-Mart and some balloons. Did we have fun? I’m pretty sure we did. I don’t recall hearing a friend say “man, this party would sure be kickin’ if Jimmy had his name on the wall in decoupage letters.” Party favours. I mean really. No favour bag? Sorry, my favour was looking after your child for two hours and giving her sugar.

2) Kids don’t need fancy food. Gone are the days of cake from Publix and vanilla ice cream. Now it’s a whole new species. In 2012, we budget for birthday parties year round. Entire tables of food that make a pop sound. Cupcakes with life-size butterflies, rose petals and miniature dachsunds made of fondant. Cake balls and mini tarts and a whole assortment of food children don’t even like. Now, don’t get me wrong. I did slave away in the kitchen making cupcakes and rainbow coloured sugar cookies. Know what the kids wanted? Smarties and teddy grahams. I would have felt slightly demoralised had I not seen the adults scarfing down the cupcakes. Glad the chaperones were pleased.

3) Entertainment is where it’s at. There was a clown at this party. A clown who, for two whole hours, entertained the kids.  He played pass the parcel (Australia’s version of hot potato). He chased and ran and danced and sang. He let the kids hit him with the balloon animals he made. The children were screaming with laughter and the adults, well, they just sat back and ate cupcakes. My kind of party.

If us parents could stop competing with the phantom Pinterest Stepford Wives and forfeit the neurotic comparison game, we just might have more fun.

A Mother Far from Home

PS – What I Learned series….


Author: A Mother Far From Home

Around here we look at practical child-rearing and child-bearing issues. Look around and find down-to-earth parenting talk, tips, reviews, and some interesting lessons I've learned while navigating the waters of motherhood.

6 thoughts on “What I Learned at a birthday party

  1. I didn’t realize birthday parties had become so competitive! Some of our kid’s best parties were ones that kind of evolved as they went along… as with Matt’s pirate birthday cake which happened because the centre of the cake rose so high it looked like a hill. So I made some green icing to make it look like grass and used the Lego pirate figures we had for him to decorate it and make it look like a desert island with palm trees and treasure chest. He loved it. They ate it and then went out and played cricket in our tiny back yard! Favour bags had a mix of sweet and healthy type snacks. Life was definitely simpler a few decades ago……. : )

    • I have to admit, though, I love all the bunting and banners and deck letters and all the rest of it. It’s just funny to realize that it is mostly for us to know we’ve lovingly prepared an event for them because they aren’t usually fussed!

  2. Keeping it real, keeping it real. I’m really impressed with this solid head your shoulders hold up. Must be the product of some good raising.

  3. Could be :O) I agree with Joanne that parties used to be much simpler and about the little pleasures of life.

    • Now, I must say….I labor hours over bunting and garland and decoupage letters myself. I just realise that I am doing it as an act of service and love to them all the while knowing, they don’t really care 🙂

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