Sadly, I had to cancel my daughter’s birthday party for today. Impending bad weather. AGAIN! Needless to say, she was not all that happy about it. I don’t blame her.
Birthday parties are out of control. I am not preaching. I’m stating a fact. I am a guilty party as well. Trying to give my kids cool birthday parties like their friends. Spending an exorbitant amount of money on a venue. More money on party favors, decorations, etc.. It’s just something that has to be done. I don’t want my kids to feel left out because their parties aren’t as fun, cool, etc.. as their friends. So we suck it up and give them that really awesome party.
We’ve been to parties at really neat places. Laser Tag. Gymnastics. Nature Centers. Amusement Parks. Art Centers. Pottery Studios. Some had ponies. Others with waterslides. We’ve done the same ones, too. We did one party at home when my son was very into army. It was a camouflage army party and all the 6-year-old boys dressed in camo, we played army games and I set up a Basic Training obstacle course. My husband then took the kids on a march through our woods. The boys had cupcakes, juice and snacks and I sent them home with a goodie bag full of crap. But my son said this was the coolest party he’d ever had. It was a lot of work, I admit, but it didn’t cost that much. And the kids had fun.
My sister in LA thinks it’s ridiculous and lectured me about the state of kids’ birthday parties in general. I listened. Nodded in agreement with much of her examples, but then said at the end. “If you had kids, you’d feel differently.” She said she wouldn’t but I am not sure she could know what she would feel if she looked into the faces of her own sad children begging for something their friends had.
In any case, my daughter’s party will be at a local gym where she and her friends will be treated to the foam pit, tumbling, and fun with gymnastics. For 1 hour and 45 minutes.
Here’s the breakdown of costs:
Gym for 1 hour for 14 kids = $225
Chatchki party favors for 14 kids = $50 (and this was the $1 items at Michael’s Crafts including 14 lip glosses, 14 bubbles, 3 balls for boys, pencils for the girls, stickers, Disney Cars magic write books, and a felt book mark craft they can do.
Hello Kitty table-cloth, plates and invitations and thankyou notes = $18
Goodie Bags = $2.50 ( they are brown paper bags that I will stuff and adorn with the most adorable labels my friend designed for me. Price still pending.
Cupcake mix and frosting = $5
Juice Boxes and Pretzels = $4
Balloons = $3.99
Yikes. Swallow. The grand total is $308.49
Here’s the thing. Yes, it’s a pain in the wallet. Yes, it is out of control. Yes, we could spend less by having it at home. But I look at it this way. My kids are young only once. By the time they reach 10, or sooner, their birthday parties will be a sleepover and pizza. And that is fine. But for the couple of years when they are young, for them to have that really great party at a really great place like their friends, well, so be it. It’s only money, right?