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I've Never Thrown My Kid a Birthday Party

BooBoo is 4 years old, and I’ve never thrown him a birthday party.

Of course we celebrate his birthday, my gosh, but we celebrate it in a very homespun way. I make his cake, we give a few gifts, and we do something special as a family to celebrate him. One year we went to the beach, another year we went to an aquarium, the other two years I can’t remember without going through the photo archives.

I’m not all about birthday parties for a lot of reasons (these 6 being the main ones), but as I witness my fellow parents planning bigger and better parties, I’m more sure than ever in my decision to keep birthdays simple. It’s not about the money per se (although, geez), it’s about what bigger and better means. Sometimes it feels like bigger and better is becoming smaller and less impressive as the next parent outdoes the last; where kids are given more for less reason. Maybe it’s just a L.A. thing, but I wasn’t raised like that.

I wonder, who are these extravagant parties for anyway? Is it for the kid or the parents? I happen to think it’s for none other than the Joneses.

My kid gets invited to ridic birthday parties all the time. You bet we attend and bring thoughtful gifts, but invitations to grand birthday parties hardly make me feel obligated to throw my own.

Growing up I had maybe three or four birthday parties in 18 years. While they weren’t an every year thing, they were all kinds of wonderful. Friends, cake, presents — what else could a kid ask for? Well let’s see, I suppose kids could ask for extravagant venues, gourmet cupcakes, goodie bags that put my gift to shame, and entertainment. I can’t keep up with all that, and frankly, I don’t have to.

I’ve had no less than four conversations in the last couple weeks with mothers busy planning birthday parties they really didn’t want to throw. When I read Christine’s Mom Confession: I Don’t Want to Give My Kid a Birthday Party, I realized so many of us feel the same way. Every last reluctant party-planning mother loves her kid, but that doesn’t mean partying by today’s standards isn’t a major source of stress. I don’t need that. Not right now. Maybe not ever.

So this is my plan: I’ll continue with our little homemade cake and family activity as long as I’m able. The day BooBoo wants a party, we’ll have one, but it’ll be small because when it comes to celebrating what really matters in life, less is always more.

How do you celebrate your kid’s birthday?

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