A child’s birthday party. Four words that are sure to send chills down every parents’ spine.
Whether you’re hosting them or just having to take your kid to one, is it really how us mums want to be spending our time?
Well, no. Not really. But of course we do it, because that’s what us mums (and dads under duress) do.
My eldest has been in pre-school since September so this is the first time I’ve experienced the whole birthday party thing properly. We’ve been in a bit of a party bubble whereby there’s been quite a run of them most weekends for what seems like a LONG time.
And that’s even without being invited to several I know some of his friends are having to go to. (Definitely dodged a bullet not being invited to the ‘arts and crafts’ one though. Thank FUCK he’s not friends with that girl at pre-school!)
Over to me
So of course now it’s my turn.
This week my eldest turns four, and obviously I feel obliged to throw him a birthday party like all of his friends have had.
Slight problem is the twins also turn two this week. (Whose idea was it to have three birthdays within the space of three days?) So the birthday party is a joint one and getting bigger by the minute. (You can read about how it ended up going here The highs and lows of throwing a kids’ birthday party)
Last year we did the same for their first and third birthdays, but it was in our garden, with lots of close friends – pre-ordered party food on trays, squash, beer and prosecco, job done. Luckily it was at the start of the heatwave so nobody had to come inside and trash my house.
Mind you, by the looks of this picture, it was all TOTALLY worth it for the twins, don’t you think?
This year I decided not to take the risk of bad weather and trashed house, and I’ve booked a hall. And that’s basically when the panic set in.
Is it just me or do most mums planning a kids’ birthday party feel a massive amount of PRESSURE to make it a good one?
Some people might think I’m being overdramatic (I totally am, btw), but shit the bed, I’m DREADING it!
I have 32 kids to entertain on Saturday. THIRTY TWO!
I can’t even keep my own three entertained for more than two hours inside without a) a meltdown b) plying them with snacks c) reaching for some sort of electronic device.
What hope do I have with 32?
Obviously the most important thing is that my boys have fun. (I have to say that, right?) But is that what us mums are really thinking? REALLY? If you’re totally honest with yourself.
Nope. What is ACTUALLY playing on your mind is what the other mums will think of you and the amazing/average/pretty shit party you throw.
Birthday party = Judgement Day
We don’t want to be JUDGED! Let’s face it, that’s what this is all about. Nobody wants to be the mum who throws the crap party. There, I’ve said it for all of us.
And I know I’m not the only one, because some of the mums (whose parties I went to) have said exactly the same.
I’m not worried what my close friends think. They’ll muck in and help (break up the fights) and not think anything of it. Whether it’s rubbish or amazing.
It’s the mums you don’t know, or have only ever said hello to at the school gate that you fear. (In my overdramatisation of the whole thing, of course).
Reasons throwing a kids birthday party can stress you out
Random thoughts in the middle of the night may have already included:
- What will they think of your party?
- Will they think your children are total dicks high on sugar showing off because it’s their birthday?
- Is the local school sports hall just a little bit shit?
- How the fuck am I going to decorate an entire sports hall with dinosaur crap in just half an hour at the same time as ensuring my twins don’t escape out the door?
- Why do the balloons I’ve bought look like slightly dodgy condoms?
- How will the mums feel about 32 kids risking life and limb trying to get on a bouncy castle at the same time?
- Will they be too scared of the big kids to let their little ones into the ball pool?
- Do I need more activities for the kids?
- Do I have to feed the adults?
- If so, what do I give them?
- Should I provide drinks for them? (In an ideal world, I’d love to be sipping something alcoholic but I guess a coffee is better than nothing)
- How the fuck am I ACTUALLY going to keep 32 kids (ranging in age from one to 9) entertained for two hours?
- What do I feed the kids?
- Do I do party boxes or a full on buffet?
- If I do a buffet, that means I’ll have to cater for the adults and I am too tight for that.
- If I do party boxes, is there REALLY any point putting a token satsuma in there just to look good to other mums?
- At what point between 12-2pm do I feed them so nobody voms all over the bouncy castle?
- Do I have to do party games? Pleeeeease don’t make me have to do party games. For the love of God, no.
- What kind of music do kids want? Mine love utter shite like Parry Gripp’s ‘Cat Flushing A Toilet’ but is this REALLY the image I want to portray?
- Do I even have anything to play music on loud enough to fill a sports hall?
- Fuck! What about party bags?
- Can I realistically pay someone to make an insanely amazing dinosaur birthday cake and pass it off as my own? (Answer, no. But will try anyway).
- Should I have just booked an entertainer to do it all?
- Why didn’t I just book the local soft play and let them handle it all for me?
- Seriously, again. WHY DID I NOT JUST BOOK AN ENTERTAINER?
- How many times can I justify spending a small fortune on a kids birthday party by reminding myself it’s for three of them?
- Fuck it, why am I even bothering with a sodding party at all?
- Is it over yet???
So you can see I’m really looking forward to it, can’t you? And notice it’s only judgement from other mums that bothers me. Couldn’t give a shit what the dads think. But chatting to other mums it seems I’m not alone.
Why can’t we just go back to the good old days of pass the parcel in our parents’ dining room with cheese and pineapple on sticks for 8 kids?
Wish me luck, people!
And find out how the whole thing went here.
Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee
How did I do?
Did you enjoy this post? If so, you might like some of my others. Have a read of one I wrote this time last year – Surviving a year with three boys under three – the good, the bad and the ugly, or my attempts at keeping up appearances and failing miserably in Yummy Mummy or Slummy Mummy?
If you like a bit of social media madness, pop over to my Facebook page where you’ll be able to have a laugh at what ridiculousness goes on in my house with three very small boys on a daily basis. Warning – there is often sarcasm, and usually swearing. There are also great travel reviews and some AWESOME giveaways. Feel free to join my Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee – Shits and Giggles Parenting Group too, where everyone shares their hilarious stories.
And if you want to work with me, feel free to give me a shout here or at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get back to you.
I’m still traumatised by my son’s fourth birthday party – 10 boys on a bouncy castle, it was like something out of WWE! And now I’m already stressing about my daughter’s birthday, in three months time, and I’ve not even decided to throw her a party! #itsok
You’re not filling me with confidence! Thank god I only have to do one a year for the time being.
This post gives me severe anxiety for what’s to come and like you I have 2 children with birthdays 2 days apart so really close birthdays I wouldn’t have a clue where to start so when you’ve done your dinosaur party with bouncy castle and alcohol disguised as coffee can you write about it?
Ooh alcohol in the coffee – there’s an idea! Yes, if I survive, I’ll write about it 🙂
I have just nodded my head and felt your pain all the way through reading this post. Thankfully my two boys are a little older now and an afternoon out somewhere finished off with a cheeky Nando’s with a couple of friends seems to suffice these days. My daughter however, that is a different story. Her last birthday involved 19 seven and eight year old girls at our house for the afternoon and 7 staying for a sleepover. The boys literally barricaded themselves in their bedroom with technology and enough snacks to survive and I hid in the kitchen with wine.
Oh god, I’m not sure what’s worse. A hall party or a sleepover!!
All I can say is it was great that there was six months between our kids’ birthdays, so we could recover and be half-way enthusiastic for the next one. Not for the faint-hearted. But it was always great when they went well! #ItsOK
I can’t really offer much comfort because I get stressed over the birthday parties too….but you have three children and only one party, once it’s over that’s it for another year so I’d say that was pretty good planning. On my eldest’s 4th birthday party my youngest son Edward had some weird blisters on his lips so my husband had to leave me doing the party on my own and take him to out of hours….it was Impetigo. 🤦🏻♀️Nightmare! Next time if I were you I would do Endsleigh or Drakes Den. They are much easier.
I did a hall party without an entertainer once. Won’t be doing it again… I’m sure you’ll be fine though…(and the kids did love it) #itsok (or maybe not?!)
I’ll let you know! 😩
I always breathe a massive sigh of relief when our Birthday parties are over. It’s like a whole day passes before the party even starts, leaving you completely exhausted from the entire thing. Good luck #itsok
Oh god! Bonus though, the wine is already in the fridge!
Kids parties are stressful! I always worry no one will turn up!
Luckily they all turned up!
Absolutely loved this! Giggled quite a bit then came back to reality and realised my daughter’s first birthday party is in 4 weeks! Oh the pressure!
Ha ha, good luck!
No real support to give you Helen, just a welcome to the shithole of hosting a child (or three’s) birthday party… every year!!! It is almost as stressful as giving birth (ok might be overdramatising like you, but you get the gist), almost as expensive as a wedding and quite manic. But a mum’s gotta do what a mum’s gotta do!!! Breathe… #itsok
Ha ha, thank god it’s now over for a year! #itsok
Nailed it! Why do we care so much about what other people think?
We really shouldn’t but we do!
Dear Helon, I should say I enjoyed reading your post. It was hilarious at the same time the practical difficulties one go through in the name of fear was explained very well. Every mother wants to give their best for their children on their birthday and hence I guess a little bit of overthinking along with ridiculousness is allowed. Thank you for sharing your experience.
I have a rule only to do ‘big’ parties when they start school, & even then only a class one in reception – a bit harder with twins though I guess! #itsok
Yes, and when you have all 3 birthdays in the space of 3 days. Not a whole lot of choice!