Why Do We Go OTT With Kids’ Birthday Parties?


It happens every year, three times a year. Kids’ birthday parties. Each time I say to myself “This one will be low key.” Each time I find myself stressing out over little details to make it perfect.

My daughter just turned four. I decided to do a simple family party at home, no bells and whistles. It was extended family and the only other kids coming were her siblings and two cousins. Easy peasy.

But then of course, I choose a theme. For some reason I decided it was all about unicorns. So even though I had balloons in the cupboard, I bought special unicorn balloons. Then came the unicorn themed food – unicorn poop (homemade chocolate balls with sprinkles) and blue glitter jelly with rainbow lollies.

Then there was the cake. You can’t have a unicorn themed party without a unicorn cake. Did I buy the cake? Ha! No! I was going to be the best mum ever and MAKE the cake, with a specially ordered unicorn horn from eBay. Do I have any skills in the area of cake decoration? Absolutely not. Did I lose a lot of sleep over this cake? Absolutely yes.

At the end of the day, my daughter had a fabulous time and loved her cake (thank goodness!) but I still have a fridge full of unicorn poop and rainbow jellies that didn’t even make it to the table.

I had been really sick in the lead up to the party and a few of my other grand plans didn’t come to fruition. This was actually a blessing in disguise. Because if I’m completely honest, she would have been just as happy with a $4.50 woolies mud cake with a sparkler in it, a few ordinary balloons and a bowl of maltesers. The only person who put pressure on me was myself. Why? Who am I trying to impress?

Pintrest and social media show us these amazing OTT kids parties and we feel that is the standard we need to aim for. But why?

Some people are born entertainers. They love getting into the details of decorations, extravagant layouts and orchestrated entertainment. Other folk, *ahem* like myself, aren’t. Why do we push ourselves to be something we are not? What are we teaching our children about expectations and what it means to have a good time?

When it comes down to it, kids don’t really care about the themes and fancy decorations. They care about being with people who love them, being the centre of attention for their special day and having some fun.

Grown ups sure can learn a lot from kids.



About Author

Renee Meier

Renée is a freelance writer, perpetual student and aspiring novelist. In her spare time she's the sole parent to 3 rambunctious little people. She survives predominantly on coffee and squishy hugs.

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