I think we should all take a second and acknowledge that party planning has gotten a bit out of hand. And Pinterest, I love you, but you are to blame.
Maybe before Pinterest people somewhere threw elaborate parties with themes, tiny flags for cupcakes, and printable party invitations. If they did, I didn’t know about it. And that was fine. I don’t remember my 5th birthday party having a theme–or rather the theme was “Katie’s birthday”. And that was fine.
I have planned pinterest parties before, bought printable packages off etsy, and taped special tags to party favors and wrote little signs to place by the food that perfectly coordinated with a banner sporting my child’s name. I’ve done it all! But right now I’m pregnant and tired. I’m also a little party-planned out from my sister’s upcoming nuptials. (Please don’t get me started on 2017 Bachelor/Bachelorette parties…Who are these people that have weekend jet-ski parties with 40 friends to drink themselves into being sad about not being single anymore? Who are their friends who can afford and have vacation time to go? Is this what you grow up to be when you have themed parties as a kid? What was so wrong with 2007 when we just went out to dinner and then went back to someone’s apartment and opened lingerie and drank margaritas? #notyoubeccailoveyou *end rant*)
So for my son’s first birthday party I decided to break up with Pinterest, channel my inner 90s mom, and have a non-pinterest perfect party. And it was FINE.
How to Have a Non-Pinterest Perfect Party
- No fancy invites. Just text your friends when and where to come. Use emojis if you’re feeling fancy! *insert dancing girl emoji*
- Keep the guest list manageable. Yes, you have lots of friends. Yes, I’m sure lots of people love your kid. But do you really want all of them at your house on a Saturday night? To keep myself sane we invited only 4-5 families. Sometimes when you have a lot of people over (and you’re an introvert) the mingling can be exhausting (this is why weddings are so tiring). So less people = less mingling, more actual conversation.
- No fancy decorations. I literally took three pictures of Barrett down off my walls and put them together on the counter. That was the decor. Cute baby pictures from the wall.
- Fix food kids like, preferably food you can eat with your hands. Probably the only spot you could maybe say I took a side-step to the PInterest side, I made homemade pizza; but it was my own recipe, it sounded better than pizza from anywhere else, and I’m cheap. We also had chips, fruit and dip, and veggies and dip.
- Trust that your friends have eyes and can figure out what the food is without cute little labels. Or if they have questions like, “Is there gluten in this?” “What’s in this dip?” they can ask and you can tell them. #so90smom
- Beg people not to bring presents. In my super-fun invite text that was all of 4 sentences I used 2 of them to say we really didn’t want presents. By the second kid you don’t need more toys and at 1 they definitely don’t care. This also freed me of the obligation to provide party favors (aka little crappy toys and candy that I hate and will throw away as soon as we are home from a party and I think my kid won’t notice). The only loser in this situation is Goodwill who is out a bunch of toys 6 months from now.
- Don’t worry too much about the cake. For my daughter’s first birthday I made an organic, sugar and dye-free cake cause it seemed like the “good mom” thing to do. For my second child he got cupcakes from Walmart that I didn’t even call ahead to order, just picked up the generic ones from the bakery shelf. And they were damn good cupcakes! He seemed to really enjoy the sugar, gluten, and food coloring.
- Let the kids be kids and let the adults be adults (aka the art of not planning activities and games). I asked my husband to get a bouncy house for the kids for the party. He said no. (He’s so good at channeling his 90s dad.) So we got a couple balls and brought out Barrett’s birthday present, a water table and just let the kids be kids: running around, screaming, forming little gangs, and
roasting a pigbeing high on sugar. No pin the tail on the donkey or sculpt the birthday boy out of play-dough– just kids playing and eating, adults talking, eating and hoping the kids all survive. Because after all, this is a celebration of survival. Getting through the first year with a baby is no easy task and it’s worth throwing a party to celebrate!
If planning an elaborate, Pinterest-worthy party is your JAM, kuddos! I am happy to come and party with you in pretty perfection! But if seeing all those homemade banners, color-coordinated tutus, and themed food labels makes you feel less-than about seeing your beautiful and wild child through another year of life, here is official permission (from a blogger no less) to stop, to let it go, to embrace your 90s mom persona (let’s call her Julie), and have a birthday where the theme is your child.
It’s not perfect, but it is perfectly fine.