Birthday Party Blues


Am I the only mother out there who genuinely DISLIKES planning their children’s birthday parties?  The mere thought of it puts me into panic mode…food, guest list (and hopefully not hurt feelings in the process), invitations, decorations, let’s not forget the money it will cost.  Gosh, these birthday parties are starting to feel like small weddings!  Small-wedding-birthday-parties= crazy mother who know one wants to be around!  Seriously!!  What happened to the days of pizza, a 2 liter of pop and a few giggly friends?  Can those days please come back into style?!  (Maybe some of this cynicism is coming from the fact that I just threw this wee-one’s birthday party this weekend!)

Waiting for her guest to arrive!

Just so you know, I’m not a total Debbie downer…I do enjoy the JOY it brings my little ones!  They love talking about it months before it’s here and I love how special it makes them feel.  The “happy dance” and squeals as the first guest arrives makes the stress quickly subside!  I just wish I could avoid the stress in the first place!

Also, I LOVE attending the really adorable, Pinterest-looking parties!  I ooooh and ahhhh the whole time I’m there.  I think those moms must have magic wands similar to those used by the fairies in Sleeping Beauty to throw Aurora’s birthday party.  Seriously, if you know where I can pick one of those up, let me know!

The birthday girl and her goodies!

So, you party planning gurus (I know you are cursing me for the first paragraph…lol) I need some help!   Maybe, I’m missing something…remember when I gave you this Christmas shopping advice?  Today,  I need your help and advice!  What are your tips for party planning?  How can I simplify and just enjoy?  Also, feel free to tell me to suck it up…maybe it is what I need to hear!


  1. Katie – I have so been there. I have always loved planning parties and enjoyed everything that goes with it, up until “crunch time”…those few hours before people starting arriving and my anxiety level would go through the roof and no one wanted to be around Mommy during that time. I am not sure specifically when it shifted, but I now enjoy every part of the planning right up to the moment the first guest arrives. I have given up the need to perfect the party…unfortunately, the party seemed more geared towards what the other adults might say versus what was really necessary or something my child would enjoy. So, I always let my child choose (within reason) the theme of their party and also help with some of the decorations and games as well – Pinterest has been a great source for quick easy ideas. I am all about repurposing so I try to gather items that can be used for various themes (ie buy a small batch of themed napkins, but then pull in the various colors for the other napkins, plates, cups, etc. – this saves on money as well – buy in bulk is usually cheaper.) The leftover colored items are then stashed away and I can usually use them again for a future gathering…almost every girl theme includes pink : ) I have also purchased a couple of larger sets of plastic plates and bowls….although cleanup takes longer it definitely saves on money. I also have a standard menu I use – usually just a couple of minor adjustments are needed. And I always make up a checklist of things that need to be done so I stay on track. My biggest effort is usually poured into the decorating of the cake, just because I really enjoy it. Again, just removing the element of perfection and realizing my child will never notice the little imperfections of their party is key to stress-free planning. Hope this helps a little. I am really thankful I got to the point of stress-free planning as I had to cancel my son’s party due to illness this past weekend and it was not an issue – yes, the cakes were already baked, decoration started, food bought, but we enjoyed just spending the day together and are hopeful to try again in a couple of weeks. I can not imagine what my reaction could have been if I was still in my old mindset – yikes.

  2. I think your question contains the answer…simplify and just enjoy!  We do a family party.  This is the first year I’ve tried to do anything in addition to that.  I’ve invited a few friends over for a “Birthday Play Date”.  The idea is to come over, play, eat cake, enjoy, and leave.  No fuss and muss.  Just simple.  Fellowship is more important and more memorable than party decor, food, and presents.  The memory will last a life time!

  3. Right now we just do family parties.  I am sure we will move to a friend party here in a few years.  But I love keeping is simple with a fun theme but just enjoying family!  We don’t have a big family so it just includes both sets grandparents and my brother’s family (with cousins similar ages).  I love it!  I would rather spend the time and effort to celebrate with family and cherish those relationships.

  4. I have the opposite problem Katie!! I love love love party planning and the actual party. I let the girls plan it all with me and we do the baking and decorating together. At 3 with Claire we let her decide who is at the party (with a little help). Claire and I have already planned her party that isn’t until APRIL! I’m weird I know. My parents always made a big deal out of birthdays and they still do-so much fun to celebrate their life!!

  5. I thought I would add that we only do family parties too as that usually includes close to 25 people if everyone is able to make it. I am not ready to do a friends party yet – even for my 8-year old. I like the thought of a birthday play date as mentioned in another comment.

  6. I thought I would add that we only do family parties too as that usually includes close to 25 people if everyone is able to make it. I am not ready to do a friends party yet – even for my 8-year old. I like the thought of a birthday play date as mentioned in another comment.

  7. Thanks for all the suggestions!  Glad to know I am not the only one who has felt the stress too!!  Totally agree Bekah, it is so special to celebrate their lives!  They are such a gift!


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