Guest Post: Why I Despise Kids’ Birthday Parties

When I accepted the job of mother, I didn’t read Event Planner in the job description. Like most roles, it was thrust upon me. I managed to avoid it for the first few years, but once my twins were school-age, the pressure mounted.

Spring Cupcakes: Not How I Want To Spend My Spare Time (Photo courtesy of CleverCupcakes via Flickr)

I despise kids’ birthday parties for many reasons:

1 Themes Okay, why do we need to have themes? What is wrong with the theme of fun? Why do we need to buy balloons, cakes, streamers and hats that all have Barbie or Transformers on them? And why do themes always seem to support gender stereotypes?
2 Loot Bags I’m pretty sure loot bags resulted from the machinations of some overly zealous marketing team at a dollar store. My kids don’t need any more cheap plastic crap that’s been assembled by some exploited worker in the developing world. Plus, possibly more importantly, whatever happened to the notion that it’s sometimes good to give without getting anything in return?
3 Presents Even if it’s not the cheap plastic crap mentioned above, my kids have enough stuff. The problem with parties that invite the whole class is that the birthday kid gets twenty gifts. No one needs twenty gifts.
4 Cost Very few parties my twins have attended are held at the birthday kid’s home. And, of those that are, many hire a company to organize the fun. If you have a spare few hundred dollars, why not donate it? My kids’ therapy fund is open to financial contributions.

What’s wrong with inviting a cousin or friend over and letting the kids make their own fun without adult interference? What’s wrong with baking great-grandma’s cake recipe, the one in the shape of a…cake?

Or, to paraphrase my children, what’s wrong with me that I don’t want to throw them a birthday party?

—Ironic Mom (aka Leanne)

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