Kids birthday parties can be overwhelming to say the least. There may be a lot of simultaneous meltdowns (adults and children alike), napping birthday kids, dirty diapers, and plans that go awry.
Moments before our one-year-old's last family kids birthday party started, my sister said, "You've worked hard, slow down, and enjoy this kids birthday party." Having already stressed for three years straight with my oldest, I did exactly what she said for our youngest.
It's also intense to be a guest at a kids birthday party. The first party I attended for my toddler's school, I tried to make a good impression with my best casual - not trying too hard outfit. I tried to remember names.
I got a charge out of peeking into my little one's world of friends I didn't yet know. I felt welcome and too tired to care. Since then, I've accidentally worn clothes covered in dirt and ketchup at those kind of "events".
Kids birthday parties come in all different shapes and sizes. There are low-key ones, like ours, which are pretty much family and still exhaust me.
There may only be cake in intimate simple settings with closest friends and some little ones. The parents and kids each have a blast and no one gets lost. You can leave before cake if you want and bring your own anything.
There are kids birthday parties at children's museums, ice cream parlors, activity zones, miniature golf courses and pottery and art studios. There are elaborate county fair theme parties with live ponies, Hello Kitty, Hungry Caterpillar, Planes theme parties, bouncy houses and more.
There's no judgement when things don't go according to plan. Pass your baby off immediately if you want to. It's one big communal village where everyone helps each other.
If you sense judgement - talk to someone else. Compliments and love should be plentiful.
Take care of yourself and don't worry if someone else's kids (or your own) sleep with you at night, you survive on coffee and wear your baby the whole time. So long as everyone is safe, it's a success!
Kids birthday parties are now my big opportunity to socialize. I used to take for granted seeing my friends almost every evening in my single days and multiple times a week before kids. Today, I'm thrilled and honored to be a guest.
Kids and parents, try to just have fun and conserve your energy with no airs. My co-worker with a tween cautioned me not to feel pressure to attend every kids party, it's impossible. She urged me not to compete. Phew, since I would be losing on every level. :)
Thank you to all our friends and family for their hospitality!
What are kids birthday parties like for you?
From the archive: Mom & Dad, resist the parent guilt
From the web: It's Ok that my kid's friends parents aren't my friends (
Moms who drink and swear); Easy Cake Decorating Tips (Listing Beyond Forty); The worst things about kids birthday parties are the other parents (BuzzFeed)