I’m just gonna come out and say it: I hate kid birthday parties. A couple years ago, we had The Boy’s 5th birthday party and I didn’t invite my local BFF, who had no kids at the time. And she was kind of taken aback, because, she’s my local BFF, and she was like, “You didn’t invite me to The Boy’s birthday party?” But honestly, it never occurred to me to invite her, because who the fuck wants to go to a kid birthday party unless they absolutely have to? Like, seriously, entertaining one or two kids is hard enough. Being in a room with 10 or 20 of them that are hopped up on sugar? Yeah, that is pretty much a nightmare.
One of the ways kid birthday parties can be less awful is if the other parents are cool. Over the years, we’ve had mostly awesome kids and parents going to the awesome daycare where The Boy used to go and The Girl still goes. The kids have one friend from there who I really hope one of them marries, because her parents would make kick-ass inlaws. Parties with them aren’t so bad. If you don’t really know the other parents, though, as is often the case now that The Boy is in elementary school, it’s just awkward. It’s like being on a first date, which I don’t ever want to have to do again, like, isn’t that why you get married? But with even more pressure than a first date, because what if the other parents are Judgy McJudgersons and won’t let their kid come over for a play date after they discover you’re not a perfect parent? And now you kid will never have a social life?
But the thing I hate most about birthday parties is the party favors. Jesus, the horrible crap that we all end up bringing home from other kids’ parties. Tiny tins of play dough, glow in the dark rings, a bouncy ball. My kids act like that stuff is the best toy they have ever seen in their lives and they don’t want to give it up, so we end up with bins full of the junk. I have to sneak them out of the house when the kids are in bed or we’d be buried alive under a pile of plastic crap that was made in China. And I am just as guilty as the other parents of giving out crap as party favors, because that’s the only way to make party favors affordable. I mean, after spending money on food and decorations and your own present for your kid, there isn’t a whole lot of money left for the party favors for the 20 kids that The Boy insisted we invite because they are all his very best friends in the whole world I really mean it mom I love them all so much please can I invite them all to the party don’t make me choose between Caden and Aidan and Hayden. Ugggghhhhh.
I am really looking forward to when my kids are old enough to just get dropped off at birthday parties. I know the teen years come with a whole host of other problems (if we get through high school without anyone getting pregnant, I will do a victory dance), but at least I won’t have to stand around chatting awkwardly with people I barely know while wondering how I will smuggle yet another 4-pack of crayons out of our house.