As the parent of two young boys, my husband and I both made the decision not to overdo it when it comes to our children’s birthday parties. Will a one-year-old remember the bouncy castle and elaborate setup you had in their honor? Granted this child was older, it proves my point that parents need to chill out when it comes to these kiddie birthday parties. Yes it is a special day to you, and yes people who RSVP should come–but does that mean you flip out and threaten small claims court if something comes up in their schedule? Remember last year when that mom threatened to sue another parent when their child didn’t show up to a friend’s birthday party? We’re talking about little kids, right?
Regardless, you shouldn’t expect a guest to compensate you for the money spent on your child. What if they purchased a gift that in your eyes wasn’t worthy of the price you spent on their plate? Would you still send a bill?
I have been to numerous birthday festivities for small children that were sometimes way too extravagant. One of my friends in particular began throwing huge parties for her child when she was a year old and found it difficult to top the following years. As her child grew older, she expected bigger and better things with each birthday that put more of a focus on who did what for her instead of what really matters. At one of her birthdays she rejected a gift because “it didn’t go with the theme!”
Some parents have no problem going the extra mile for their kid’s birthday and that’s totally fine. It’s your child and you have the right to do whatever you want. I personally enjoy more intimate gatherings during the early years that focus on family and close friends. This is not to say I don’t use my Pinterest skills and make a room look nice, but it’s on a budget. My husband and I put most of our money towards our son’s college savings plans.
We’ll do a little more with his their parties when they get older and can comprehend the idea of a birthday party. Hopefully we can teach them to have his cake and eat it too without setting crazy expectations about what should and shouldn’t be done. And if a parent has to cancel last minute–or even not show–I can only hope they give us a heads up with the contact information we provide. Heck we had a couple family members not show up to our wedding (and it was nice!). Rather than try to recoup the money, we focused on our special day and the ones there to celebrate it with us.
Our little ones are watching us and pay close attention to the things we do and say. There’s nothing wrong with a large birthday party so long as you set your sights on what’s important.