Saturday, October 31, 2020
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But Mommm: Pressure

by guest blogger, Deanna Cogdon Miller

Is anyone else out there feeling the birthday party pressure? Gone are the days of having a few kids over for cake and pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey. Over the last number of years as we’ve hit the birthday party circuit, we’ve found ourselves at pools, indoor playgrounds, bowling lanes, craft stores, grocery store kitchens and gymnasiums. In fact, in the two or three years since our oldest has been going to birthdays, I think she’s only attended one ‘traditional’ party in a home.
 
Our daughter turns six in August. Because of her summer birthday we were forced to figure plans out a little earlier than usual based on her obvious desire to invite a couple of her school friends. I knew that if we didn’t send the invites out prior to the end of the year, we would have had no way to contact a few of the kids in her class.
 
As I started calling around trying to figure out what our options were, I was struck by three things – 1) birthday parties get booked really early – timeslots are not easy to come by; 2) there isn’t a ton of opportunity to be original in where you go; and 3) it can be really, and I mean really, expensive to book places.
 
As I went through the list of places she and I had come up with, I started thinking that the most original thing would be to have kids over at our place. We could have snacks and cake in our kitchen. We could play some party games in the basement or in the backyard. We could do a craft. If it was a nice day we could run the sprinkler for the kids. Having it at home would even give time for her to open presents in front of her friends – something that rarely happens anymore. Admittedly, present opening can take a long time and you never really know how your child will react so I can see the benefit in taking them home. On the other hand, it is nice to see the excitement on a child’s face when they open something. It’s also an opportunity for them to learn to be gracious – saying thank you and not just throwing things aside if they already have them or are not as excited about them.
 
It was all sounding great and then my brain started thinking about the ‘to do’ list. Groceries, food prep, loot bags, house cleaning, game and activity prep, prize purchasing – it would likely take an entire day out of our precious summer weekend to get ready for the party (and then a few solid hours after the party to clean-up). I literally went back and forth in my brain for a few days before finally deciding.
 
Atlantic Cirque. Ninety minutes of circus school and 30 minutes of snacks. I caved.
 
This option has the least worry, running around and stress attached to it. Aside from some snacks, a cake and loot bags, it’s covered. The kids will have fun, get some exercise and try something new. Yes I miss the old school birthday parties. Yes I feel some mama guilt for not making the extra effort. But when it comes right down to it, the birthday is all about her – the planning, prep, implementation and follow-up is all about me.

 

Deanna is a Mom of three, wife, marketer and blogger – lover of travel, morning coffee, family time, belly laughs, good friends and uninterrupted showers! Follow her on twitter @DeannaCMiller