I have to confess: kids’ parties wear. me. out. But not necessarily for the reasons you think. Sure, it’s exhausting just to watch (let alone corral) a dozen toddlers souped up on cupcakes and ice cream, though that’s not what tires me anymore – I’m prepared for that kind of energy-suck.
What makes me weary are the overly grandiose parties for kids who don’t appreciate them, let alone barely know better than to poop their own pants.
Whoa. Did I come on too strong? I’m sorry. To be completely fair, I’m totally the mom who stays up until 2am making themed cakes from scratch (curse you, Pinterest!) and rents an inflatable bounce house/water slide combo (I might have also asked my husband if renting a horse was in the budget) and invites everyone in my address book (whether or not they have children my kids’ age is irrelevant).
What I mean is, I throw over-the-top parties for my kids (who, thankfully, have figured out how to not poop their own pants anymore), so I’m the one exhausting myself. I would like to put it on record that I 100% do not recommend this way of thinking to anyone. But special occasions are a big deal in the Buttram household, and it’s not every day we bring out all the bells and whistles for a big shebang.
Both of my kids are summer babies, so inviting classmates to birthday parties once school is out has been a challenge. I’ve struggled with not having enough little friends to celebrate the birth of my children with Wilton-dyed Crisco (ew). As we live life and our circles get bigger and bigger, it’s become a challenge to pare down that invitation list so we aren’t ordering a dozen pizzas and shepherding 30 soaking wet kids in and out of our house.
I once read (and obviously disregarded) this simple guide to inviting friends: base it on the kid’s age. Turning three? Invite three friends. Four friends for turning four, and so on. Super practical, easy to remember, the kind of life hack you’d expect from a parenting website.
There’s also the etiquette behind the actual inviting to consider: can you send a private invitation directly to the child’s parents or home address? If the only way to invite them is through your child’s teacher, then it’s better form just to invite the entire class and, in some cases, a requirement if you’re sending invites this way.
Navigating preschool politics is so much work for this overworked mama though, so here’s my latest hard and fast rule for who makes the birthday list cut: Do I like their parents enough to hang out with them while our kids launch water balloons at each other’s faces, and is there a good chance they’ll bring the wine?
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Jessica Buttram parents, writes, laughs, and eats too much chocolate. She has no practical advice and zero life hacks to offer for this whole parenting gig, but she makes a mean grilled cheese sandwich, and that’s something, right? When she’s not bribing her kids with Doritos to make them sit still and snuggle for just a few minutes longer, she can probably be found vacuuming Dorito crumbs out of the couch. Her family is her whole world, except for the part that belongs to coffee. You can find her @jbuttwhatwhat and meetthebuttrams.com.