Okay, where are all my moms at? How much pressure do we put on ourselves to throw THE perfect birthday party for our children? It’s insane, right?! I have watched other moms go absolutely nuts with their kids’ parties. I’m talking completely Pinterest-worthy like they wrote the book on throwing the ultimate birthday party….for a three-year-old. We live in a time when Pinterest rules, and it seems to have set an unrealistically high bar for your child’s birthday party.
With my first child’s first birthday, I remember feeling so overwhelmed and discouraged when trying to plan his party. I am not super crafty, nor am I that motivated to become crafty (not one of my talents). I was scouring Pinterest for ideas, but everything that was super cute was going to be too expensive for my budget. We did not have disposable income for decorations that would get used for a 4-hour event.
In a moment of sadness, I pulled out mine and my husband’s baby books to take a look back at what our childhoods were like. As I started flipping through the pages, I noticed something that completely changed my “poor me, I’m an awful mom” attitude.
At every birthday there were pictures of us with a little cake (maybe decorated by the grocery store, maybe decorated by our moms), and some plates with cartoons or a fun design, and in some years there were a few balloons. And guess what? We were having a blast!! Neither he nor I have any terrible scars from not having insane themes and coordinating decorations at our birthday parties.
At that moment, I decided I was not going to spend any more than $50 on my children’s birthday parties, and I was letting myself off the hook! I was not going to feel bad about this decision. For my son’s first birthday party, I ended up spending $20, and it was such an awesome day.
If you are hesitant to get on board with this kind of thinking and are worried you will feel guilty for not spending hundreds of dollars on birthday celebrations, here are my top 5 reasons for doing this.
1. If you are in debt, you can not afford to spend more than $50 on a party.
Now, you may be thinking $50 is not very much money, but if you have debt, that is enough to spend on a party. The last thing you want to do is spend $300 on decorations you will throw away or not use again. What a waste! Think about what that additional $250 would mean for your debt payoff.
I’m not kidding, you may think this is insane and the money would totally be worth it, but trust me, you do not need to spend tons of money for your child to enjoy their party. Think about your parties as a kid, did the decorations matter to you? I’m betting they most definitely didn’t.
Now, if you are debt free and have the party budgeted for, by all means, spend away! Go nuts! I just want you to know, you do not have to be perfect. Let yourself off the hook. The birthday party is not a reflection of you as a mom.
Pin this for a reminder later when you are beating yourself up (I know you will because I did too!)
The party is a celebration of the life that was created. The decorations are just background noise compared to your child. If you are struggling with not spending tons of money on a party when you know you can’t afford it, I am telling you, it’s okay. It took me a while to convince myself of this, but once I did, it was so freeing!
2. Your child won’t remember the decorations at the party.
Think back to the very first birthday party you can remember every detail about. I’m talking napkins, plates, cake, what you did, who was there, balloons and any other decorations. For me, I honestly can’t remember every single detail of any birthday I had as a child. I can remember pieces of different years, but not everything about one specific party.
Are you the same?
Try to keep this in perspective when you are worried about scarring your child if you don’t go all out with decorations. The likelihood of them remembering or caring what the decorations were is slim-to-none.
3. Setting a money limit will keep the event in perspective
At the end of the day, the reason you are having a party is to celebrate the day this awesome life entered the world.
Decorations are not important; your child is.
That was my mantra while I was fighting the urge to overspend on my son’s party. It is so true. Nobody was judging the presentation of the party nor the amount of money likely invested in the decorations. Everyone present for the party is there to celebrate your child, not to be impressed by your decorations.
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4. It will teach your children what is actually important.
I’m not sure if my parents were out to teach me a lesson or if they truly couldn’t afford decorations, but I definitely learned from the experience. If you are making your own decorations, baking and decorating your own cake or making your own gifts, your kids will learn how to be creative and resourceful.
Leading by example holds true in your home with your kids. They are always watching and even without doing it on purpose, they will emulate what you do. If you are hyper-focused on everything being perfect and decorated to the “T,” it is likely this is what they will focus on in the future with their own children, or they may not be able to enjoy an event if it is lacking in appearance.
Let me be the example, I grew up with very modest birthday parties (as did my husband), and we will now do the same for our children. I am proud of how inexpensively we do birthday parties and I hope my children learn to focus on the person and not the “stuff.”
5. Parents can have a stress-free party
I went to a birthday party for a friend’s child once (under the age of 5), and it was super cute! I was just jaw on the floor impressed at how awesome it looked. Everything was decorated, it all followed the same theme, there were goody bags and food, also themed. I commented on how cute everything looked and she was like, “It should be cute considering I have spent over $500 on this stuff!”
At the end of the party (which lasted 3 hours), she was trying to give away the bulk of the decorations because she wasn’t going to use them again. I could see the stress on her face and knew the whole party she had been thinking about how much things cost.
If you keep the cost at $50 or less, you don’t have to have financial stress creeping in and ruining a day that should only be filled with joy. You can truly relax, not have any guilt and enjoy the party! At the end of the day when everything is getting cleaned up, you can feel good about not wasting your money.
When it comes to kids’ birthday parties, you don’t have to spend a lot of money. They very likely won’t remember the details of the decorations, it will keep the party focused on them, not the “stuff,” and it won’t compromise your budget.
Give it a try! Trust me, your kids will not be scarred by this. I’m sure there are a million other things we will do as parents they will think are horrible, but this is not one of them.
Are you going to try this?
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