kids birthday parties today

How Kid’s Birthday Parties Today Have Made Me a Bad Mum

A simple kid’s birthday party has changed. A LOT. Much like formals (see previous post) are upping the ante, so are kid’s birthday parties. 

Meet the Super Mums

Han: (aged 7): Emma’s mummy made traffic-light jelly cups for everyone in the class today, what can we make the class for my birthday?

Me: (Stunned silence) What the…? She made the WHOLE class traffic-light jelly cups?? All 30 kids?? Is that true? Is her mum home full-time?? With servants?

Han: <giggling> No mummy!!! Her mum works in the CITY every day.

Of course she does.

I was flummoxed and a little terrified. Who were these women? And where DID they find the time and energy to do all that? And what was my excuse with my little part-time cleaning job?? Were they the Stepford Wives? Could it be? Living right here in my little town of Springwood?

It wasn’t the first time I’d been upstaged by full-time working mums who found the time to do Pilates, cook from scratch and bake 300 cupcakes for the Girl Guide fundraiser. I wish I could say I was making that up, but the Girl Guides actually asked me if I could do that. The question was quickly retracted due to the horrified look on my face as I stuttered with upward inflection, “300??? THREE. H-H-HUNDRED. C-CUPCAKES?”. It was quickly offered to a more capable full-time working woman without a stammer. If you want something done, give it to a busy woman as the saying goes.

I always considered myself ‘busy’ or perhaps I’m confusing ‘busy/productive’ with ‘chaotic/disorganised frenzy’, because while I appear to be as flat out as any other woman, I don’t ever seem to have a clean bathroom or an empty laundry basket and dinner is frequently out of a tin.

How kid’s birthday parties have changed since I was a child

I’m just struggling to adapt to how things have changed regarding birthday bashes for kiddies since I was a girl. It appears to have gone from having your best friend over for dinner and a store bought cake, to inviting the whole class over for gourmet pizza and individualised birthday iced-mini-muffins, as well as hand-delivering some delicious homemade treats on the actual day – to the entire class! I resentfully imagined these well-groomed Super-Mums arriving at the school in their SUV’s with their traffic-light jelly cups, donning aprons and perfectly straightened hair – unlike me in my activewear, no makeup and 5 value packs of Freddo Frogs from IGA.

Feeling like a BAD MUM

I resented it. It made me feel like a failure as a parent. A BAD MUM. Don’t you want to take out a second mortgage so your kiddies can feel popular? I actually don’t.

I have given in over the years, as budget allowed, alternating the ‘party’ year between my children. We’ve roller-skated, ice-skated and we’ve done the backyard parties. I’ve made terrible replicas of cakes from the Woman’s Weekly cookbooks dozen of times and its all gone down very well. I do love making a fuss over my kids on their birthdays, despite how it might sound, and I also believe you can do it simply and on a budget.

I think it’s healthy for kids to learn that they have a limited number of guests, and in turn, they won’t always be invited to everyone else’s parties, because I know this to be true: I’m not the only ‘bad mum’ out there.

Leonie Moss is mum to two lovely teenage girls. She loves to illustrate, write and be creative in her home in the beautiful Blue Mountains. Leonie has 4 cats and aspires to one day become a crazy cat lady. 

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