I have a confession to make: I am not a Pinterest mom. Or mum either but it seems to make more sense spelled the American way.
I occasionally add things to Pinterest, but let’s face it, nothing I put up there is going to change the world.
Ever. And I’m surprisingly fine with that.
Anyway on the weekend, we were throwing a birthday party for Miss Taylah and it got me thinking about my lack of Pinterest skills, and related, how kids’ birthdays have become so huge, they are pretty much the biggest events of most people’s social calendar. Think personalised hand crafted invitations, stylised bunting, and enough food to feed small african nations for a week. Which leads to confession number 2:
I do not throw those kind of parties. Nor do I have any desire to throw those kind of parties. Hence my lack of Pinterest-Mom status.
Now whilst I don’t have a problem with mums who do throw these kind of events, and occasionally envy their organisation and style, (alwaysJosefa’s are amazing), I do worry that sometimes we are creating a whole bunch of pressure for what a kid’s birthday should entail. The bar has been set high, and unless you meet all the criteria and your cupcakes match your balloons, it’s easy to feel that you have failed at not just being a party planner, but also a mother.
Which is not only unhelpful, but categorically untrue.
So with that I present to you my three point plan to party planning. From a mum whose only experience is 11 years of mothering, and four little people to celebrate with.
In my opinion, there are three things that are necessary for a successful birthday party, and no, it is not a Ben and Holly themed Pinterest Board. (And yes. I did totally create this board just for this post. I am committed people! 😉 )
Here they are, in no particular order….
A party has to be fun. No matter how old the child (or adult), no one wants a boring party. Now the idea of what classifies as fun will differ with age, but it doesn’t have to expensive, and it doesn’t have to be complicated.
Take a moment and think back to the great parties of your child hood, and what are the awesome moments that spring to mind? To me I see pass-the-parcel, musical chairs, a slip and slide in the backyard, climbing trees, attempting to eat donuts on a string, and the list goes on. I had a few more expensive parties, (like one at the skating rink that was awesome), but the best thing about that? The sleepover afterwards.
In fact all my really great memories of birthdays are not so much what we did, but the running around and playing, and later the midnight feasts and swims, that happened in the free time.
My tip for fun: a few structured activities, but plenty of time for free play together.
No party would be complete without food. Even as adults we gather around some kind of table to celebrate, whether it’s with coffee, champagne, or a five start meal, food is important.
For kids it’s the same, but it doesn’t have to be a banquet. I was discussing with someone recently her 5 year old’s party menu, and she didn’t know how she was going to have time to make the exquisite items she was planning. The party was at the park, so I suggested our staple park party food: chips, fairy bread, a plate of watermelon and cupcakes.
Seriously, serve fairy bread and cake at any party and you pretty much don’t have to worry about anything else.
Let’s face it, a party is just an excuse to see your mates and play, no matter how old you are. Some years that means you have a big event and invite everyone you know, but most years, it’s just your favourite people so you don’t have to spread yourself amongst the masses. For Taylah’s birthday we had three girls (one couldn’t make it), and it was the perfect size. Other years we do big parties, but small is often better I’ve found.
And that’s it. Seriously.
No it’s not going to have all the mum’s at school talking for the next six months, and you won’t have any pin worthy pics to upload to the internet. But if you’re really lucky, your child will throw themselves at you after the last guest has left, burst into tears, and say ‘thanks mum for the best birthday party ever.’
And isn’t that what you want anyway?