A couple days ago I shared a post entitled Birthday Party Guidelines All Parents Should Follow.
It was fairly popular here and on the Facebook page.
I feel pretty strongly about this subject.
It has nothing to do with the fact that we don’t have any money right now. It has nothing to do with the number of children we have.
It has much more to do with the number of birthday parties my children are invited to and the fact that I have pulled my head out of my behind in the past two years.
There is a site called Google Analytics which provides you with statistics for your website. You can see how many people are on your site, how many people are reading each particular post, which posts are the most popular, what towns/cities/states/countries the people who are reading you posts live in, how many pages people read per visit, etc.
So that birthday party post got a decent amount of traffic for about 36 hours, and then, as most posts do, the traffic to it kind of died down.
Until last night.
Last night there was a huge spike in traffic to my site. Like ten times the normal amount.
I thought there was something wrong with Google Analytics.
Hundreds of people were reading my “birthday guidelines” out of nowhere. At like two o’clock in the morning.
I knew that post would rub the over-the-top birthday crowd the wrong way.
What I didn’t anticipate is that it would be posted on the Being Mommy Facebook page.
I didn’t even know there was a Being Mommy Facebook page.
But when a couple readers told me this morning, I checked it out. There are like 4 million people who follow that page on Facebook.
So I found where my post had been shared.
And then I read one comment just totally shredding me. And then another.
If there is one thing I have learned, it’s not to read too many comments.
They are dangerous. And I have been known to go off a tiny bit on some of these people.
So I got away from Facebook. But then the comments started showing up on the blog.
And they were really mean.
I was accused of hating celebrating my child’s life.
Can’t believe this person actually has children?!! If you hate celebrating your child’s life, then to ME you have serious issues….like Selfish much!!
I was told I had lost my mind.
You have lost your mind. Kids deserve to have a birthday party every year. Maybe not big but they still need one.
I was told to quit making shitty, judgmental blog posts.
Encouraging people to not completely eliminate them, but to scale back on the one, and two and three-year-old birthday parties is ridiculous?
Suggesting we stop inviting entire preschool and kindergarten classes to parties is judgmental?
Have you ever been to one of those parties?
Your kid plays with two or three kids out of the whole class.
It’s comparable to inviting every single person you are “friends” with on Facebook to a party at your house.
In my opinion it’s a waste of money.
I was told You don’t have to cut corners on some of the most beautiful life experiences for the sake of college …
Chuck E Cheese is not a beautiful life experience.
It’s a fucking punishment in a germ-ridden hell hole where you run the risk of contracting an infectious disease and leaving with a ten percent permanent hearing loss.
I was told This is ridiculous.
Um… No. What is ridiculous is spending over $5000 on birthday parties for your child before she is even completely potty trained.
Yes. Someone actually admitted to doing that.
That is ridiculous. Even if you have a whole cellar filled with bags of money and a treasure chest full of gold dubloons and a fucking money tree in your backyard, that is stupid.
Now you can accuse me of being judgmental.
Oh yeah, and for those of you about to leave a comment wondering why I feel the need to use the f-word, read this fucking post.
While those comments were mean or just annoying, the one that bothered me the most is this one:
I just threw a party for my 6 year old at pizza hut. Bought 6 pizzas for $7 each. Invited 2 classes of kindergarteners so 50 kids and families and payed for admission for everyone on first Sunday of the month so it was $1 per person instead of $12 per person. I also made a two tier cake that cost me $20. I didn’t buy her anything and she made out like crazy…
Forget the fact that there were 50 kids invited to a 6-year-old’s party.
But that last line.
I didn’t buy her anything and she made out like crazy.
She made out like crazy???
That is the problem right there.
Celebrating a human being’s life is not measured by how crazy your kid makes out.
But that’s what we are turning it into.
Everything is out of control and over the top.
We are teaching our children that excess isn’t only good, but that it’s needed.
I agree 100% that every kid should be made to feel extra special on his or her birthday.
But spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars on your kid’s birthday every single year is not a necessity.
And it doesn’t necessarily make him or her feel special.
I think it might make your kid feel entitled, though.
And let’s say we put the money aside and forget the financial aspect of it.
We are overcomplicating everything.
I don’t know a single mom who doesn’t say “I can’t keep up.” Who doesn’t feel like she’s at her wits end. Who doesn’t feel underappreciated and completely overwhelmed.
And that is what My Birthday Guidelines post is about.
We as a society have gotten to the point where we make every single thing into a huge deal which, in turn, makes nothing a big deal.
Nothing is special.
Nothing is sacred.
There are now preschool graduations where the kids wear caps and gowns, for crying out loud.
Nothing is reserved for when you are older anymore.
We don’t make our kids wait for anything.
And our preschoolers aren’t demanding this stuff.
They aren’t requesting caps and gowns at four years old.
We are doing it to them.
And we are doing it to ourselves.
I know all of these really douchey comments are from people who stumbled across the blog and have no idea who the hell I am.
They don’t know me.
They don’t know my story.
They clearly don’t have a sense of humor.
They don’t know how every birthday is special here in our house.
They don’t know about Number 4’s seventh birthday.
They don’t know how much fun Number 3, 5, and 6 had at their combined birthday party last summer.
And that’s not really who the post was written for.
It was written for those of you who get it.
This is a blog. My blog.
And one of the reasons why it has become fairly successful is because I speak my mind. You might think it. But I say it.
Another reason why I have a faithful group of readers is because I put it all out there. And because I openly acknowledge I am a work in progress.
I’m certainly not without flaws. I fuck up a lot.
But I want to be the best version of myself that I can be.
I am going through all this shit with everyone else.
The feeling overwhelmed, the money troubles, the kids being assholes, the marital bullshit, the fucking weight loss battles.
All of it.
I’ve been through a whole bunch of shit.
Death of a brother, physical abuse, miscarriages, divorce, mental illness, bankruptcy, ex wives, weight gain, weight loss, childbirth, potty training, kids with anxiety issues, food stamps…
You name it, I have pretty much been through it.
And I do a lot of reflecting.
A fucking lot of it.
And I’m just passing along the things that I find are helping me. And I’m passing along those moments when I realize I’m doing things that aren’t helping me or my children.
And encouraging you to do some reflecting as well.
Because it’s fucking hard. And I think we often don’t realize that we are making it even harder for ourselves.
There was one other comment from this post that I read…
Someone who has seen the light.
I spent so many months hand crafting decorations for parties, hours making food, and shopping for the parties and I NEVER ONCE GOT THE ENJOY THE DAMN THING!!!
This is part of the reason for my recent decision to simplify.
I think we have confused ourselves. I don’t think most of the aspects of these parties are actually for the kids anymore.
But it’s not just parties. It’s everything.
We aren’t trying to impress our kids.
We are trying to impress our friends. Or people we don’t even know!
And we are trying to outdo them.
This extra pressure doesn’t make our kids happier.
And it doesn’t make us happier.
Am I saying don’t throw a great party for your kids a couple times during their childhood?
Am I saying don’t get a cool cake or make some decorations that you know they would really appreciate?
Hell no! Nobody loves a great party more than I do!
But I am saying they don’t need a big fucking blowout every year.
What they need is for parents to keep them in check.
They need to be grateful for the things that matter. Family. Health. The fact that they are alive to see another year.
They need parents to make sure they know how hard you have to work to make a dollar.
They need the adults around them to teach them to be financially responsible.
And yes. They need to know that the people who brought them into this world think they are the most special gift that they have ever received.
But the way you do that definitely doesn’t include 50 six-year-olds, and it probably doesn’t take place at Chuck E Fucking Cheese.