Good parents throw birthday parties

Birthday cupcakesWhen I became a mum, there was one aspect of motherhood that I was determined to succeed at: the throwing of a successful child’s birthday party. After all, good parents put on good parties, no?

It seems to me that the ability to plan and host a child’s birthday party is a staple part of being a good parent. From the carefully designed, hand-crafted invitations, right down to the unique and personalised gifts in the party bag, if you can’t do a good party you have failed at being a good parent.

Or have you?

My daughter turns three years old in a couple of months. Since she was born, the arrival of spring has always signified the arrival of birthday party thoughts. From who’ll be invited to what kind of cake we’ll offer, I’ve really thought about every little detail. Granted, things haven’t always gone according to plan (stale sandwiches last year, way too much pink plastic tat the year before) but the thought was there.

This year though, things will be different.

I had planned a big party. My intentions were to hire the village hall and outdo my efforts of the previous two years. I was going to find a children’s entertainer, make enough sandwiches to feed an army and spend a fortune on party bags. I was going to. But now I’m not.

Frog is old enough now to be able to tell us what she wants to do for her birthday this year. “I not want party Mummy,” said my little girl as we drove home from nurery the other day. “I not want anything Mummy.”

Surprised, I offered a few other options; a family day out, a trip out for lunch, a visit to friends. It turns out she is happy not to have a party. In fact, she positively can’t be bothered with one.

Instead, she wants us to drive all the way to Devon to see my parents, go horseriding wearing a new pair of jodhpurs, go out for a fancy lunch, eat homemade birthday cake, go to the beach and then listen to Olly Murs on repeat. I know, totally low maintenance.

Part of me was a bit disappointed not to have one final, big party before we move from the area. Part of me wanted to invite all her new nursery friends and watch as she mingled with all the groups of kids. Part of me could completely accept that the idea of a party was, actually, more for me than her.

But while part of me was in mourning for the party that never was, the rest was positively joyful. No need to organise a huge toddler birthday party in the middle of what will be my busiest month of the year? Fine by me.

And if that means I’ve lost some invisible mum points so be it. Now bring on the horseriding!


  1. says

    Having got really excited about having a birthday party for Talitha, I am now toying with the idea of not throwing her one either. She just wants to hang out with family anyway. June is also very busy for me as we’ll most likely be moving then. There’ll be many years to come with parties. Maybe we should both give it a rest this year. You could have a farewell bash though?

  2. Kate says

    So, here’s the thing……..i am RUBBISH at kids parties!!!

    This is unfortunate, having 3 children, but try as I might I just seem to fail in this department!!!

    I was thrilled, therefore, to find that Big (who turns 8 in just ovet a week), simply wants to take her 3 “Besties” to the Cinema & then on for Pizza afterwards!!!

    Now that I CAN manage…….

  3. says

    Your child is nicknamed Frog too so you are obviously right in every way πŸ˜‰ For what it’s worth, I think you deserve points for putting your daughter’s wishes first. πŸ™‚

  4. says

    I’m a very bad parent as I am yet to throw a proper birthday party. There is cake cause we all love an excuse to eat cake and that is about it. I am hoping when we reach the 3rd birthday the wee man still won’t be interested!

  5. Louise says

    That is lovely that she’s happy not having a party. I have no plans for my little ones next birthday other than a nice day out x

  6. says

    I am completely on F’s side. Kids birthday parties SUCK! Don’t mourn it, be very grateful – the time will come when you’ll long for a day of horseriding and she’ll be begging you for fifty of her closest friends to take over the house πŸ˜‰ xx

  7. says

    We’re in the midst of party season for our NCT group, some of the parent’s have gone for the full on party as you described. We just did a BBQ and let the kids run around in the garden doing what they wanted. They loved it and I’m think a lot of kids are probably like Frog and just aren’t that bothered by a party

  8. Ghislaine Forbes says

    Save your energy for helping F shape the parties of the future. Remember the swimming “street” party, the Tudor dressing up party, the film making etc Lots to look forward to. F will have a wonderful day. I’ll look out for the pony for the day, but make sure you prime her that it goes back to the riding stables after the ride not home with F! love ma x

  9. says

    My boys didn’t have parties till they were both four. Mini would always choose something else over a party and will turn seven in June and is going to have his FIRST birthday party!

  10. says

    I went all out for Dylan’s first birthday party and all he wanted to do was take a nap! They are definitely more for us than the children at this age so luckily she saved you some hassle and money! Sounds like she has a perfect birthday treat in mind though x

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