March is birthday month in my life. March brings birthdays for both me and Mabel’s Labels. I also have a daughter with a birthday this month.
I recently had a parent ask if I had any birthday party activity suggestions. Just thinking about the question exhausted me. In my 15 years of parenthood, I have had countless birthday parties. Actually, it’s not countless – just adding up my children’s ages tells me that by the end of March, I will have hosted 63 children’s birthday parties. It’s no wonder I suffer from a bit of birthday party fatigue.
We’ve done it all – bowling, indoor playgrounds, parks, magicians, reptile guys, musical chairs and the list goes on. Any way you slice it, at this point in my birthday party throwing career, the novelty has long worn off.
This can help you appreciate that six birthday parties a year is a big ask for someone who does not get inspired by Pinterest and has never baked a cake. Birthday party fatigue started kicking in seven years ago after my fifth child was born. Since then I have simplified things.
Here’s my survival strategy:
- If I have the party at my house, I do not stress about the state of the place. It’s only going to get trashed anyways. But what will the parents doing the drop off think? Yeah, not really caring.
- No birthday presents. Guests are instructed that no presents or gift cards are allowed. I make it very clear on the invitation and people respect my request. One mother always brings me a bottle of wine. That, I accept.
- Useful loot bags. In return for not bringing my kid stuff they don’t need, I refrain from giving our little guests junk too. The result: less going into the landfill and fewer sugar bugs on the teeth. I might chuck a little something at them by the door as a way to notify our friends that it’s time to hit the road and avoid tears.
- Birthday party timing is key. Book it for the 2:00pm – 4:00pm time slot, which gets you off the hook for having to provide a proper meal. Get some cake and juice in their gobs, and your work is done!
About the Author:
Julie Cole is co-founder of Mabel’s Labels Inc., the leading provider of kids’ labels, and a proud mom of six.