Screw the Pinterest Party: The Working Mother’s Bday Manifesto

A shot from the boys' first birthday, it snowed that day too!

A shot from the boys’ first birthday, it snowed that day too!

Let me first start with saying I LOVE birthdays. I LOVE any excuse to celebrate. I LOVE cake, and balloons, and presents. I mean who doesn’t? I’m just like you…except one thing…I HATE birthday parties. Now before I doom the prospects of ever getting myself or my children an invite again, because I do want to be there and eat cake, let me elaborate. I HATE my own, or my kids’, or planning them. PERIOD.

While every Pinterest mother is clutching her pearls and cursing me under her breath, let me plead my case. I was born on what was probably a beautiful sunny, summery day, however, my birthday usually arrives in a flurry of snow, ice, and wind. That gorgeous day of my birth was in Texas, but after my second one my parents decided to return to New York. That is when everything fell apart.

The third weekend of January almost always gets snow. Check the Farmer’s Almanac if you don’t believe me. My birthday memories are not of cake and balloons, they are of my mother frantically watching the weather as the cancel calls would come in. Of invites with alternate weather dates. Of resigning to the fact that it just might not be, again, this year.

My adulthood has been the same. I’d plan an outing with my friends each year only to end up stuck at home watching the inevitable white rain. It was for this reason alone that I swore “no winter babies.” I wanted a May baby, like my brother who never had his birthday party canceled. I tried everything to have that May baby, and then Infertility reared her ugly head. I learned that some things you just cannot plan. I got a May conception thanks to IVF…and my babies were born not just in winter, but exactly one day before my snow doomed day of birth.

So here we are again, the same weekend. Today my boys turn three, and guess what, it’s Saturday and it is snowing. But I have no stress. Thanks to my ridiculously busy working mommy life, and negative attitude towards birthday parties I decided to “just say no.” This year my children will go out to dinner with some family and then have a party at school. To answer the elder generation person who said “Throw your kids a real birthday party like I did” here are my reasons why I’m NOT:

1. I am a working mom. There are a lot of consequences to this that moms who were home with their preschool age children just don’t get. I’ve never had the time to make “mommy” friends. While what I call the Pinterest mom set got to go to their “mommy groups” I got to fight an hour of traffic every morning while worrying that the babysitter showed up in time for my husband to get to work. The friends I already had either never had kids, or moved away. I have one good friend with a child in my sons’ age group. One child does not a birthday party make. I don’t know the parents of the children in my kids’ class at school. They don’t know me. Apparently their kids don’t have real parties either because we never get invitations, but every so often my kids come home with a goody bag or parting gift from a school party. I’m guessing this is the protocol for the antiPinterest mom set.

2. I don’t have the time or patience to send perfect invitations, make decorations, scout out a venue like the Pinterest moms do. I don’t even have time to look at Pinterest. Seriously, it’s been so long I can’t even remember my password to that damn network. My Pinterest mom friends on Facebook post pictures of impressive shit they’ve done to make a full on party theme from Styrofoam cups, themes they start planning two months in advance. I wish I had the time for those worries. My worries are making it through the day with enough energy to tuck my kids in at night with a story and that I won’t get a phone call from school because I sent my children with snotty drippy noses and all because I don’t have any sick days left from maternity leave and I need the money to pay for them to be at their school in the first place.

3. How much crap do my kids need? My children are not only cursed with snow birthdays, they are cursed with the post holiday presents birthday too. As I got older I used this as a bargaining chip for bigger, better combined event gifts, and I use this theory with them. My kids got a life size ride on Thomas the train for Christmas 2012 and the high end Learning Curve Thomas table with every accessory and train imaginable last month. Both presents I spent a month searching Ebay for because they are discontinued collectors items, and drove to the “North Pole” to pick up. Seriously, hours in the car to lug this stuff home. Birthday parties yield more toys. The last thing my kids need right now are more toys, especially since they haven’t yet played with all the other holiday loot they received from the rest of the family.

4. They are only three. Do you remember your third birthday party? I sure as hell don’t remember mine. My friend said her daughter’s third birthday party cost somewhere in the five hundred dollar range. Have a cheaper party you say? I tried this when they turned two. We had people over here, brought food in, my friend even baked the cake for us no charge. Final bill still was close to three hundred big ones. I’d rather put that money aside and take them to Disneyworld when they are old enough to remember it forever.

Will it always be this way? Of course not. Perhaps when my kids enter kindergarten and they get invited to these so called real parties they too will have their own. Perhaps by then we will have moved to a place where snow won’t damper our spirits and mommy has time to reset her Pinterest password and make an entire Martha Stewart worthy tablescape out of a Styrofoam cup. Until that day comes we will bring cakes and favors to preschool on a weekday and pray the snow doesn’t keep us away from our family on the weekend. This is our reality, and it suits us just fine!



5 thoughts on “Screw the Pinterest Party: The Working Mother’s Bday Manifesto

  1. Tara, first off let me say how much respect I have for working mothers. I’m a stay at home mother of 3 who at one point tried to work. I couldn’t handle a job and our twins. It wasn’t the path meant for me. I felt so guilty not being home. I chose to sacrifice our financial stability and stay home. Every year I go overboard with the kids birthdays making homemade cakes and “Pinterest mom” items to save money. I have no choice because since I don’t work I don’t have extra money to spend on party’s. I feel guilty because we don’t have the extra income that most families have to give the kids nice vacations, brand new toys or now that the twins are teenagers electronics. Therefore throwing them a birthday party is comparable to my job. It’s in my imaginary stay at home job description. A nice bonus is that they do get presents from family and friends. I don’t suffer the weather issues, or holiday timing issues you’ve encountered. I completely understand why you dislike throwing parties. Your little free time is better off being used for quality time. All in all each mom has to decide what’s works best for them and why. It doesn’t make you a bad mom not throwing a huge birthday party for the twins, in fact I think it makes you a better mother for knowing your limits and being open to the fact that one day you might have to bite the bullet and surrender to hosting a few.

    • Thank you. You are lucky you have the choice to stay home. I don’t have that choice actually I HAVE to work. If I had my choice I’d be home planning parties.

  2. I am a working Mom to two now teenagers. I hated getting the invites to all the parties because that took away my time with my kids and my money to spend on these gifts. I had friends who every year did the big party and I hated every single one. We didnt need presents either. So I did try a few parties but also didn’t like them. Very stressful trying to coordinate activities for kids and there parents when they are young. I gave up and both kids lived. Enjoy

  3. I was getting away with small parties, with mostly family and maybe a few neighbor kids. Now that they are older- and have gone to fancy, big parties… they are asking for more. 😦 I wish we could have a pact that moms agree not to overdo it. And not just because some work, but because kids don’t need much to have fun.

    • I agree with you. But that is part of the Pinterest competitive mom phenomenon. Everyone wanting to one up one another. We are all moms trying to do our best. Why can’t we all work together instead of again one another?

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