Birthday parties are a big deal to kids, and to parents. Children want to one-up their classmates and, well, the pressure’s on parents to do the same. Gone are the days of picking up cake and ice cream at the local grocery story. In fact, a new published in the Journal of Consumer Culture shows that parents are going above and beyond to plan a spectacular birthday event. Is it time for parents to go back to parties that are less personal and less beautiful?
According to Today, researchers at Monash University in Australia ran an analysis on 15 years of the ads in magazine “Melbourne’s Child” plus interviews with mothers who threw birthday parties for kids between ages 5 and 7. What they found was that moms were really getting into the DIY party thing, but got overwhelmed when they sat down with their glue gun and glitter and realized just how much time it would take to get the whole thing together. Many of the women who responded felt that it was possible to spend too much money on a kid’s birthday but time? Never.
Why the pressure? Maybe it’s Pinterest’s fault, making everyone’s birthday party looking more stylish and adorably homemade than yours. Sweet centerpieces, personal party favors—it’s frustrating when the kid next door has a beautiful party and you can only manage to pull together matching plates and napkins with your baby’s favorite Disney princess.
But here’s the thing: good moms throw parties right from Party City, too. It’s really sad when that kind of specific display becomes the measure of a mother. The mom that brings out a tray of perfectly decorated homemade cupcakes definitely doesn’t love her baby more than you love yours. Besides, kids should know that every birthday doesn’t have to be a big one. You’re doing yourself a disservice by making every year’s celebration a Pinterest-perfect affair. You’ll have to keep topping yourself, and then where will you be able to go? Save the big stuff for milestone birthdays. The most important thing is a kid feels special on their birthday, and if that means just a cake, a song and a small outing, so be it.
Do you think kids’ birthday parties are getting out of hand?