Friday, March 13, 2015

Why I Don't Throw {Huge} Birthday Parties For My Kids

So, my little Mia Joy turned 2 years old yesterday!!! Yay, Mia!!!! She truly has brought much joy into our family and home :). But as I was thinking of something special to do with her for her day, the thought crossed my mind that I am an oddity as a mother when it comes to birthdays. I'm not sure I've ever met anyone like myself ;). But here's what we've done for our kids' birthdays so far, and the reasons it may seem very unconventional...

We don't invite people over to celebrate.

Yeah, yeah, I know. But I actually have several reasons why I don't "go all out," and a few of them are actually valid ;).

First of all, I don't have it all together. My kitchen floors are covered with juice stains and muddy foot prints more often than they are clean and sparkly. Every system of toy organization I have attempted so far has been effectively demolished by busy little hands in less than a week. You get the idea. I don't mind visitors, but for me to get everything in shape for alot of people to come over, I would have to give up time with my kids.... on their birthday. To me, that sends the message to a little heart that wanting other people to think we have a spotless home is more important to me than spending time with them on their special day. I don't like that.

Another reason, is we have 4 little blessings {#5 will be here in August}, and we would be thrilled to have more. If I set the standard now that birthdays are supposed to be huge Pinterest occasions, what am I going to do if the Lord chooses to let us add more babies to our family? Because by then, they'll expect a huge event in their honor. I can't be planning 5... 6... 7 parties every year, when we have things more eternal we need to focus on.

And, probably my BIGGEST reason? I do not want my kids to learn that they "deserve" anything, just because it's their birthday. The Lord allowed them another year of life. The life He gave is more than enough. The blessing they have been, and ARE, to our family is what I'd like to focus on for their birthday. I just don't think fancy decorations and too many presents teaches that. I think a huge party teaches them to be superficial, to expect life to be all about them, and to hold high standards of what others must do for them. Gifts aren't bad, celebrations aren't bad, doing something special for someone isn't bad. But, I believe it should never be expected.

They may or may not receive a gift from Eric and I on their birthday. 

Yes, we buy gifts :). But, only if we know there is something that would be very special or useful to that child. We don't give "obligatory gifts." Again, what does it teach a child if they come to expect gifts every year? That people are SUPPOSED to buy them something, just because it's their birthday? I do know that certain people show their love by giving gifts, and one of our children is that way. So, I am not saying it's bad to give gifts. I AM saying it is bad if a young heart believes everyone has to get them something, and is upset or disappointed when that doesn't happen.

So what does a birthday look like in our little family? 

 Well, we all talk about what the upcoming birthday baby would really like to do on their birthday, and then we work together to try to incorporate that idea into their day. It might be making a train or construction site out of that night's dessert. It might be letting the birthday babe decorate the supper table how she thinks a fancy tea party would be, and letting her have a special cousin come to eat with her. For Mia, Ely really thought she would enjoy seeing all the animals at the zoo. So, when the rain clears, Mia will get a birthday zoo trip. Were there gifts involved? Sometimes. Did the kids expect them? No, but they were really excited and surprised when daddy brought the gifts home :).

We wake them up on their day with a reminder that it's THEIR birthday!!!! Yay!!! We spend as much time as life will allow that day, letting that baby do special things (ex. They get to pick the book we read before nap. I might even let them pick out their own clothes. I might let them do something they've previously been too young to enjoy, like help wash dishes or try honey for the first time). I have each sibling tell their brother or sister something they really like about them, and why they are thankful for them. I *try* to make something for supper that night that I know they really like, and when we pray before the meal, daddy gives thanks for allowing us the gift of that special child. To me, THAT is special :).

What are some special things you do in your family for birthdays? I would love to hear everyone's ideas and special traditions :)


  1. We do a lot of that too. However, I must confess that we let the older ones invite friends over if they want to. :) I also go to the dollar tree and let them pick out special paper plates, cups, and decorations. And they all love to get a couple of helium balloons. So while it doesn't have to be expensive, it can be what they want. We also take them out for lunch on their birthday or close to it. Since we aren't in the habit of eating out a lot that is pretty special for them. They get to pick the meals for their birthday too. It does sound like we do a lot, but when you really think about it, it's just a lot of small things that add up to a special day.

    1. Agreed. I don't think there's anything wrong with letting them.know they are special and a blessing to the family :). It's just the huge, Pinterest, "have to get gifts" part i don't like ;)

  2. We don't do the big parties either! Just us...cake, a gift. Maybe the grandparents.

  3. We don't do the big parties either! Just us...cake, a gift. Maybe the grandparents.