By nature I am a very social person, an extrovert through and through. I love do lots of activities, playdates, outings, meetups, parties, all that good stuff with my kids. And my 3 year old – he is every bit at as social as I am, if not more, because when you’re 3 everyone is your best friend. My little social butterfly has lots of friends, and as I’m sure you can guess, that leads to lots of birthday party invites. The past 3 years we’ve attended more toddler birthday parties than I have in all my 30+ years of life combined.
I have a love-hate relationship with kids birthday parties. On the one hand they can be so much fun for your kids – they get to hang out and play with their friends, do fun activities, fun snacks, cake, and my toddlers personal favorite: juice boxes. There is no denying that attending a birthday party will make my son happy. All that good stuff aside, I have made the decision to RSVP NO to all the 4th birthday party invites we get this next year. Here’s why we are saying no:
There never seems to be a “perfect” time to schedule a kids birthday party, but more often than not they are smack dab in the middle of the day. On the off chance that my toddler does actually take a nap that day, the party is guaranteed to right in the middle of said nap. The rest of our weekend plans have to be shuffled around to accommodate the party (or parties).
The Sugar Rush
What’s worse than a toddler without a nap? A toddler with no nap that has had copious amounts of sugar. I know you’re all nodding your heads with me on that one. Cake is to be expected at birthday parties but there’s usually countless other sugary sweets that we like to limit on a regular basis (yeah those coveted juice boxes, too).
The Gift Guessing Game
Unless we are super close with the birthday boy or girl, I am at a loss of what kind of gift to get them. What are they in to? What do they already have? Will the parents totally hate this gift? I always feel pressure to make sure it’s something good – although my default these days is books.
The Social Squander
While this isn’t something everyone has to deal with, it’s one that I struggle with quite a bit. I have a very active 3 year old who loves to run and play, but I also have a baby with me that needs my attention on her too. Hitting a party without my husband is stressful, especially ones at a park or similar place with lots of space to play. There is no standing around chatting with the other moms, I am more than likely getting in all my steps for the day while simultaneously breastfeeding a baby. I leave exhausted and ready for a break, and often times without having said more than 5 words to other moms at the party. Those times when my husband is there, we divide and conquer, just giving each other “the nod” from across the park when it’s time to head home.
The Family Time Predicament
This is the number one reason why we are saying no this year. My husband works long hours all week so when he is home on weekends it is our favorite (Dad time is the BEST!). Having back to back weekends with parties makes it so hard to spend time together as a family – whether that’s doing something fun together or just relaxing at home. That time together while our kids are young is precious to me and this year I am making it a priority.
Of course there is pressure to say yes to all the parties – part of it is a little FOMO, but part is the guilt of saying yes to some but not others. As moms we need to give ourselves permission to just say no. We don’t need to give a reason, we can just say no when it doesn’t serve our family at that time. I’m here to tell you that birthday party invites don’t have to be a thing of discontentment anymore – you CAN and SHOULD say no and ditch the guilt.
Want to read more about birthday parties? We’ve got you covered! Check out The Year of No Birthday Parties, Party Politics: Who gets invited to your kid’s birthday? and How To Plan A Stress Free Toddler Birthday Party