Childrearing

I’m Skipping My Son’s Birthday Party This Year

By  | 

kids birthday partiesMy son is turning 3 this weekend and I’m skipping his birthday party. By that I mean there there is no party. Nada. Don’t get me wrong: the kid is deserving of the world. He’s sweet and charming and I adore him. But I’ve given it a lot of thought and, well, I’ve decided that my son won’t know the difference between 20 kids running around in his honor at an indoor playground, for instance, versus a more mellow pizza dinner at home with his older brother, maybe a cousin or two.

In typical first-time-parent fashion, I started throwing full-on birthday parties for my firstborn, now 6, beginning at age 1. There was the giant family brunch, replete with seven kinds of dessert, one of them a Wiggles birthday cake big enough to feed an army. There was the indoor playground extravaganza in which I invited all my friends and their kids, no matter what age, to run wild in a moldy, run-down space that set me back hundreds of dollars (at least). There was a trampoline party, a couple of Sportball ones… you name it, we’ve done it.

For child number two, I’m way more laid back. So laid back, in fact, that I have yet to throw him a proper birthday party. And I go back and forth between feeling totally guilty (doesn’t he deserve what his brother had?) and confident with my decision (a 3-year-old doesn’t need a giant birthday party!).

Part of me thinks that life is short and so why not throw a party to celebrate a very special 3-year-old? I also think of all the birthday parties we’ve been to over the past year and how it would be nice to reciprocate. But another part of me thinks my little guy would be just as happy eating cupcakes at our kitchen table with those who love him most. I’ll get a couple balloons, a nice gift. And there will most definitely be some candles in aforementioned cupcakes. Isn’t that enough?

By the time his fourth birthday comes around, my son will be in school full-time. That‘s when I plan to go all out and throw him a proper party. I’ll invite his whole class, he can even choose the activity. But, for now, I’m going to stick with guns and keep it mellow. Because, as my own mom is quick to point out, he won’t know the difference either way!

I just wish that these pangs of guilt would disappear. It all seems very “First World Problems” to me. And yet I’ve been thinking about this whole birthday-party dilemma for weeks. But I’ve finally decided: pizza and cupcakes it is. Throw in some family bowling and, hey, it sounds like a pretty good non-party to me…

(Photo: iStockphoto)