Today is A’s first birthday. That’s right, I have survived one year as a Mom. Wow.
(Insert longish paragraph about how much I love my daughter, believe she is the cutest child alive, and though it was a tough year, I enjoy watching her grow.)
Okay- now let’s talk kids birthday politics. Geez. I never knew it was so difficult. First, we had to decided to have a party or not. We went with not. Reasons? 1) She won’t remember it. 2) We didn’t want people to feel obligated to get her some presents she doesn’t need. 3) We don’t have the money right now to throw a party. 4) Our dog doesn’t like children (as you can imagine, this is a much bigger long term problem) and having a bunch of kids over is really stressful when you have to manage the kids and a barking dog. So- no party. Instead, I think we will have a family day at the zoo. Problem #1 solved.
Next, I had to decide if we were going to go to all the other first birthday parties we were invited to. Maybe this makes me a horrible person, but the last bit of mat leave put us in a tight financial position and we just don’t have money to buy each of A’s little friends presents. Also, all these parties we got invited to were for babies in the Mom’s group that formed after a class I took when A was 8 weeks old. It was great at first, but slowly, the group started to split into cliches and some of us grew closer then others. It really is a lot to expect that 8 random Mom’s would be friends, simply because our babies were born in the same month. There were a couple of them I just couldn’t relate to. And then, when A was about 7 months, every other Mom in the group felt that 1:30pm was the easiest time to meet, and that was the worst time for us, as A always went down for a nap at 1pm. So I drifted farther apart from the group. And then I went back to work. So, apart from the one or two Mom’s that I would say I developed a real friendship with, I didn’t feel obligated to go to a whole bunch of first birthday parties. This didn’t stop me from feeling bad/guilty about it.
So that was the birthday politics for this year- not bad. But I was talking with a friend today, and she was mentioning giving out invites for her kid’s birthday party to some, but not all, to the kids 20 classmates. Now that is politics. How does one decide that? What if a kid invited your kid to their party- do you have to return the favour and invite them back? What if there is one kid that never gets invited to the party? Like seriously, this is going to be stressful as a parent. What if an other parent takes offense?
So I guess, what I am asking, while it is in my mind and I can get well prepared for next year- What is proper Birthday Party etiquette for your kids?
Next, on a related side note- I would like to petition the world of parents that we modify/shift the concept of Baby’s First birthday.
Be it resolved that, given the fact that a 1 year old will have no memory of their first birthday and that parents of a one year old child have experienced in the preceding year most, if not all, of the following
1) Sleep deprivation
2) Emotional stress/Parenting guilt
3) Financial stress
4) Intense ‘my whole world is turned upside down’ syndrome
5) Very little focus/care of self
6) All energy going towards the care of a baby
That the first birthday party should herein be renamed the “Parental First Year Survival Anniversary” and include parents who get to go out, see their friends, have a fun time, drink to much and generally celebrate the fact they are still sane.
Are you with me?