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Birthday Party Burnout: I Just Can’t Plan Another Birthday Party

Birthday Party BurnoutMy little boy turns 5 years old in exactly two weeks, and — if past years serve as a guide — I should be planning a birthday party right now.

But, you guys. I just can’t.

Maybe it’s because the holidays were extra hectic this year, or maybe it’s because I’ve already mustered up all of the festive DIY spirit that I can handle and year five is where it all goes kaput.

Or maybe — just maybe — it’s because birthday parties aren’t what they used to be. Now that we have to invite an entire preschool class of little kids + outside-of-school friends that he just NEEEEEEDS to have at his party, the mere thought makes me very, very tired.

Back when he was turning 2 and 3 years old, he had maybe two or three friends. We gathered family and friends together at our house and created fun party themes with the movies/toys/books that defined a particular year.

For instance when he turned two years old, we had a Very Hungry Caterpillar Party that was so much fun to put together.

Eric Carle birthday party

caterpillar02

Our food menu was inspired by the book, as was the colorful “dot” decor and craft table (for a few friends and cousins.) Easy, creative, fun!

Then his third birthday party — also at home, also very small — celebrated his love of The Wizard of Oz. (Side note: His “Scarecrow” Halloween costume was pretty epic.)

"Somewhere Over the Rainbow" cake

We had a “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” cake, a Yellow Brick Road (that I made out of yellow paper, yellow paint, and a sponge), and a Make Your Own Wand craft station (for a few friends and cousins). Simple, creative, and very memorable.

But then last year came. His fourth birthday party.

superhero party

The invite list grew to over 20 kids because of preschool and outside-of-school friends, plus cousins and other family members — which was bananas. We made each kid their own personalized superhero cape to go along with the theme, and we made a bunch of homemade superhero party games to keep everyone occupied. And Spiderman! Spiderman showed up!

(Sigh.)

It was a really fun party that he still talks about, but no more. No more, please, I just can’t. Too much prep, too much crafting, too many people. If we keep this up every single year, what the heck will he expect when he turns 16? It’s time to reign it in, people.

So my husband and I decided to keep it small this year. The new LEGO movie comes out on his birthday, so we’ll take two of his best friends on a movie date. We’ll order pizza, have a low-key family get-together, and then maybe take a train into New York City for a special and memorable outing.

Easy. Simple.

Until last week when I walked into preschool pick-up to find my son surrounded by a group of excited little boys jumping up and down, practicing their superhero moves, talking about cake.

“I invited everyone in my class to my Batman LEGO Birthday Party,” he said with a grin as wide as his face. “Everyone is SOOOO excited to come to my party! This is going to be the best party ever! YESSSSS!”

(Sighhhhh.)

Don’t get your expectations too high, kid. Mama’s burnt out.

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