18 Oct Sweet’s Birthday Celebration
Sweet’s 4th Birthday
Our daughter, Sweets’, 4th birthday is rapidly approaching, and as glad as I am that she enjoys the simple things, I can’t help but wonder if we are doing the right thing in not throwing her a birthday party.
When asked what she’d like to do for her birthday, she cheerfully stated that she would like to have girl time with mommy, and then allow her brother and daddy to join us for Yo-Sanity (an amazing Frozen yogurt spot near our home). Even when her brother tried to convince her to go bowling or golfing with friends, she stood her ground and firmly stuck with her original plan.
I’m so use to thinking I have to do something big. And with the self-pressure of making sure things look a certain way or keeping up with the Jones‘, I just couldn’t imagine this girl time with mommy being a birthday celebration. In an effort to do more, I asked if she would want friends to join us for girl time, and she agreed it might be fun to invite them to Yo-sanity. I offered to take her to get her nails done, and she decided, “we can do that when I turn 5, Mommy. You can just do my nails at home.” This just seemed unheard of and strange to me. I seriously couldn’t wrap my head around it.
Last year, we went to Yo-Sanity for her 3rd birthday because we didn’t have the money to do much else and didn’t know many people. This year money is still tight, but I seriously expected to do more than spend time together.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with this idea. Again, I just didn’t expect it from my soon-to-be 4-year-old. I began to think,
“maybe we as parents, and society, create images of these elaborate celebrations for our children, giving them thoughts they would have never dreamed of or come up with on their own.”
We have been to some pretty amazing parties, and yet none of this came to mind when Sweets thought about how she’d like to celebrate her special day.
As a middle-class family, living paycheck-to-paycheck, I am beginning to realize that when we try to do more than we can afford to do for our children, we:
- Innately teach them this concept of trying to keep up with the Jones‘.
- Tell God that what He has provided us with to give to our children isn’t enough, and
- Tell our children that elaborate plans are better than simplicity. We teach them more is better.
Now, I’m not saying that if you can afford to do elaborate, and that’s what your kid is requesting, not to do it. What I am saying is that we have to do better at living within our means and teaching our children to do the same. Also, while they are young, you may want to be careful as to what you are getting them use to when it comes to celebrating birthdays. I desire for my children to have their own ideas when it comes to celebrating their birthday, and just because a friend may be celebrating their birthday one way, doesn’t mean they have to do the same.
I am looking forward to our girl time together and can’t wait to make the day all about our princess.
Here are just a few tips for ways to celebrate children birthday’s on a budget:
- Ask your child what they’d like to do for their birthday. Often time, you’d be surprise how simple their ideas are compared to our ideas as parents.
- Give them options and don’t try to do it all. You can’t keep up with the jones’ no matter how hard you try.
- Set a realistic budget.
- Ask them who they would like to spend their special day with. As parents we often want to do more.
- Have a mindset of quality versus quantity.
- Teach your children to value presence over presents.
- We do this for Christmas too, but have your child make a list of one thing they want, one thing they need, one thing they can wear, one thing they can read. You can pass this list amongst those who ask what your child would like for their special day. (Sometimes I add one toy and one learning game/tool).
- If you have more than one child, allow each of them to have a birthday party every other year to spread things out.
- Don’t forget to pray and ask God His plans. (this should actually come first)