Kids Birthday Parties – Where We Went Wrong

Remember the good old days (meaning the 1980’s), when kids parties were a few friends and some balloons. You would open up your presents, likely a he-man action figure, or if you had a rich friend – a ghostbusters proton pack with blaster.

Maybe for a milestone your parents would have it at Chuck E Cheese, then make you play on all the free jungle gyms instead of in the arcade. It was still awesome.

A few days ago a news story came out about Kylie Jenner’s daughters first birthday party. The party’s cost was in the millions. Which got me thinking about my own kids and the parties they have been to. My daughter just went to a party of a figure skating friend, she came home excited and said “Dad, I got to hold a Boa constrictor (giant snake) at the party”

“Excuse me”

“It was bigger than me!”

“Yeah, we also got to pet all kinds of exotic animals, even a chinchilla”

I immediately began a panic attack coming on, because in the moment I had confused chinchilla with the Mexican Bigfoot “Chupacabra.” Big relief.

It’s no longer enough to take your friends to a trampoline park, the place must be rented overnight for a jumpy sleepover. If you aren’t googling “Where can I sell a kidney” while planning your kid’s party, you probably aren’t doing enough. The fact that we have a 12 year old and only one mortgage is a win in my book.

So where did we go wrong? I grew up as normal as any kid could. My parents were amazing. Protective, but in an 80’s parent kind of way. Never rich, but it never felt like we were poor. They always found a way. These days my mom and I will talk about those days and she will tell me the stories of how they did it. I had no clue. And that’s exactly my definition of a great parent. Give the kid the best life you can possibly give them. I learned from the best. Which then sent me down a path of “have parents always gone overboard for kids parties?” I think yes. My kids are a serious soft spot for me. If they are asking for $200 to buy a fortnight gun and pumpkin head costume, I will quickly slap the back of a head. But for a birthday, I want them to feel like they are on top of the world.

So while writing this blog I have come to the conclusion that we haven’t gone crazy. Parents have been going crazy for their kids forever. When I say “remember the good old days of parties with some balloons and a cake?” I’m realizing that was a big deal. And whoever that kid was on that day felt like a king.

Granted, I do get annoyed when my daughter’s friends parents rent out the trampoline park for a sleepover, but I know they are just trying to make their kid feel special. I will always try to make my kids feel special, and I will probably end up giving in to my daughters demands when she turns into a pre-teen. It’s not like I need both kidneys, right?

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