My Thoughts On First Birthdays

Unpopular opinion time.

A baby’s first birthday is a big deal, there is no denying that. But how big should it be?

Liam will be a whole year old in 15 days, and Kyle and I have made the decision to not throw him a birthday party. I know, I know. I’ll give you a moment to pick your jaws up off the floor and compose yourselves.

That’s right. No party. No big cake, no balloons, no streamers. Why not? Let me tell you.

A lot of things need to be considered before diving into throwing a huge bash for your little bundle of joy, who is not so little anymore. The first thing you should consider, in my opinion, is your CHILD. Specifically, their personality. Yes, your one-year-old does have a personality.

First and foremost, this is your child’s party. A celebration of their life up to this point, and their accomplishments and milestones from their first year. And who wants to have a party thrown for them and have a miserable time? All babies are different, so this may not be relatable to some, but it certainly is for my little guy.

Liam, much like his mama, has a bit of social anxiety. He only lets a very select few hold him, and if you are lucky enough to let him grace you with his cuteness, it is only for a short period before he panics, and searches for mommy and daddy. I suppose, in a way, I am partially to blame for this… sort of. You see, I’m a stay-at-home-mom in a small town, where I don’t know a single soul. We only have one vehicle, but I don’t drive anyway. My fiance works 70-80 hours a week, and on his one day off every other week, socializing isn’t exactly at the top of our to-do list. No, it goes more like: rushed grocery shopping, rushed bill paying, rushed odds and ends, rushed trip to the laundromat to do our mountain of laundry… you get the idea.

So, baby and I don’t get much human interaction, aside from family get-togethers for major holidays holiday, and occasional, planned meet-ups with Kyle’s mother (who is pretty much the only person Liam will remain content with). I wish it were different. I wish Liam was the kind of baby who could be passed around a room full of strangers, and keep a smile on his face. I’ve received so many judgmental glances from family members, when they beg to hold him, even after my warnings about his stranger anxiety, and then he fusses after a solid 60 seconds.

That’s just how he is.

So, back to my original point. Does your baby handle strangers well? Or even family? If not, then is it really worth it to put them in an uncomfortable situation, just so you can attend a party? No. Not to me.

Next up, we have noise. Now, Liam handles noise well. Heck, he’s a noisy boy himself. He handles loud TVs, music, sudden noises, peoples’ voices, etc., all really well. But many babies don’t. Large, noisy crowds, even if filled with familiar faces, can be very stressful for little ones. Even in the arms of mommy or daddy. Popping balloons, screaming little kids, and other sudden loud noises can make for a very bad time if your baby doesn’t handle noise well. And, as we all know, nothing kills the mood at a party quite like an inconsolable, screaming baby.

Now, remember how I said this is a party for your child? Well, it is, but it is also a party for YOU. You, your partner, whatever. This is a celebration of you, and everything you’ve made it through over the last year as well. All of the late nights, early morning, poopy diapers, feedings, stepped on toys, tears and fits, teething pain, baby-proofing as they learned to crawl and walk, and chasing them throughout the house. It is a celebration for you as well. So, while keeping your baby’s personality in mind, what do YOU want?

For me, there’s the stress. I stress easily. I don’t like parties. Even my own. I don’t like birthday parties, I don’t like New Years or Christmas parties, or Halloween parties. Like I said, social anxiety. Even with family. I don’t like feeling like I’m being secretly (or not-so-secretly) judged for every decision I make. I also have a tight budget, and stress out easily when I need to plan get-togethers. So… why go through the stress of planning, cleaning, buying party supplies, blowing up balloons, dealing with who to invite, settling on a date that accommodates peoples’ schedules, maybe even finding a location, if you’re not going to enjoy yourself either? If you’re unhappy, your baby will be unhappy.

That does not sound like a good time to me.

Will they even remember their first birthday party? Probably not. Will they remember how much stress you put on yourself to pick the perfect napkins to match the plates? Doubt it. Will they even know what is happening? Nah. I’d much rather make some baby-friendly cupcakes (don’t even get my started on my opinion of spending oodles on fancy smash cakes…), and snap a few cute pictures, surrounded by the people who have had the biggest impact in Liam’s life up to this point.

So why do it? Because your family want to celebrate? Because you’re afraid of being judged? Well, with all due respect, it is not their baby. Pressure from family plays a huge roll in the decisions we make as parents, and it definitely shouldn’t. This is YOUR baby. This is YOUR time to celebrate. There will be other holidays, and other birthdays. But, in my opinion, this one is a big one, and should be for you and your little one.

Now, that’s not to say it has to be just you guys. We may not be throwing a party, but we want Kyle’s mother to be there. She loves Liam just as much as we do, and I honestly couldn’t imagine her not being there to celebrate this milestone with us. But, honestly, she’s the only one I want there. Just the three of us, and Liam’s grandma.

Of course, as I said before, this may not be relatable to some. Maybe your idea of celebrating all that you’ve accomplished as a family is to throw a big bash. Maybe you have a loving, supportive  family, and they make you feel comfortable, and you want them there with you. And maybe your baby takes after you, and is outgoing. Maybe they love being bounced, cuddled, and smothered with love and affection from everyone they meet. But not all babies (or parents) are like that. And that is perfectly fine.

These are just a few of the reasons why I’ve decided that I don’t want to throw a big party for my little guy. I want to quietly celebrate all that we have overcome, and accomplished, in the first year of his life. I want to reflect back on each and every special moment with the man that I love, and our sweet boy.

I know you want to make memories, but that doesn’t mean that you need to include everyone in the making of them.

Unless you want to, of course.

But, when he turns two… that’s another story.

Thank you for reading!

Jan

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Published by

Super Jan

I am an exceedingly average, 20-something female. Very opinionated, and slightly vulgar. I am a retired World of Warcraft player and podcaster, a Netflix binge-watcher, a YouTube addict, and stay-at-home mom to a tiny future superhero.

35 thoughts on “My Thoughts On First Birthdays”

  1. Very well said! A first birthday is a pretty big, exciting day. But I have never understood the big parties for a one year old. When my daughter turns one, I have no intentions of throwing a party. Her dad’s side will probably want to, but I’ll cross that bridge if it comes. (I’m not into big/birthday parties at all and I would just feel awkward, and would rather they don’t try to throw a party.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re not alone! My fiance’s side loves parties, but I had to put my foot down (gently). 🙂 We just had a quiet day at home, just the three of us, and some cupcakes, haha!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post, Jan! Yes, I had a 1 year old birthday party for both of my kids. I remember my son was not all into it, so it may have just been for me, but oh well. That’s fine too. I think all babies go through the anti-social stage though. My babies, when they were months old, would go to anyone when we were at church, but when they started recognizing faces, they demanded on familiar faces, namely mine or dad’s. But, I do understand foregoing the stress. Enjoy your bundle of joy!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post! I have a little while until I make those decisions but I can see your point. As long as you have cute pictures the rest is blah….

    Now for me, I’ll prob succumb to the pressure but I love event planning. If I didn’t then I wouldn’t. I support you completely though!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your input! I know a lot of people who love planning and throwing parties, like my sister-in-law! I’m just not like that, haha. We did have a great day though (his birthday was yesterday), and it was perfect. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I think this is great! To me first birthdays are about celebrating and being thankful your child is healthy and still with you, and every birthday for that matter! Celebrate how it works for your family and own it! Love this post! You know what’s best for your little guy 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Love this and totally agree! and it’s nice to find someone who also dislikes most parties. Everyone thinks I’m odd because I don’t like that sort of social gathering! Hope your boy enjoys his special day with you x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Girl, just look at these comments! I thought I was alone in thinking this way, but look how many other people feel the same! Thank you so much for your kind words. 🙂 You are definitely NOT odd!

      Like

  6. I am completely with you on this one. People get way too out of control for kid birthday parties. I can relate to your social anxiety as well, but I tend to ignore it for the good of others and then end up depleted after events. Trying to work on that. Good for you for recognizing your social anxiety and not giving in to something that other parents go overboard on. Your little guy is going to be happier without being overstimulated and you’ll enjoy it more, too. I kept both of my kids 1st birthdays low-key and have no regrets.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. God for you! I was honestly expecting a lot more moms to say they threw big parties, but I am pleasantly surprised at how many mammas share my feelings on the topic! 🙂 Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. We only had immediate family over for a BBQ, and even that was more stress than I could handle lol! Evie had a great day though, luckily it was sunny for a lot of it so she had space to get around outside as she wanted. I’m not sure it would have gone as well if we’d been trapped indoors all day. Do what’s right for your family. Better a few photos of just you guys smiling and enjoying yourself than photos of a large group and you stressed! Hope he has a great first birthday x

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I always thought I would throw my son the biggest 1st birthday party ever just to celebrate his first year of life. About a month to his birthday and after seeing him grow and watching his little personality mature I realised that this big party wasn’t even for him but it was more for me. So I scrapped it, scrapped the stress and enjoyed a day out doing what he enjoyed and he was soo happy! This post is spot on! Love it 😊

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  9. You might want to consider doing just a family party. Immediate family. Cupcakes and a cute my first birthday bib. Parties don’t have to be extravagant. Because of my health problems we can’t always have big parties but I always make sure the boys get some kind of party even if it just streamers, their favorite cupcake or cake and balloons to bat around the house (no friends, sometimes no aunts, uncles and grandparents). But you’re entirely right, the child isnt going to remember the first birthday. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 🙂 Absolutely. I feel like next year will be better, because we will have a better understanding for his favorites, like cake and color, etc. But right now, he doesn’t have favorites for anything really!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. We didn’t have big parties for any of our boys (I have 3) 1st birthdays. But, as someone else said, we don’t really go mad here in the UK. Some do, but each to their own.

    My eldest, who is now 7, still has a bit of a meltdown at Christmas and birthdays as he gets so overwhelmed with all the excitement so, as a result, we do a treat day instead of a party. As a family. A day to remember for us all to enjoy.

    It seems to work and the kids love it so stick to your guns, be proud of your choice and enjoy the fact you’ve made it through the first year! 🍻👍🏻🎂
    X

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I wish that it wasn’t such a big deal here! I’ve heard from friends from didn’t throw parties, or kept them small, and other people said rude things about it. People can just be so unnecessarily awful!

      Like

  11. Good for you! My husband’s parents DEMANDED that we have a party for Major for his first birthday and I’m still bitter about it. Frankly, I thin that the first birthday should be a celebration of the parents: you did it! You survived your first year and you didn’t break the baby! I was like, send me some wine and a good meal, we will give this kid a cake to smash and then we will keep it moving!

    There is so much pressure on this birthday thing. Wait until preschool where all of the friends are having bashes at such-and-such place and you have to do all that AND come up with goodie bags. I’m totally opting out. It gets so intense!

    Liked by 2 people

  12. We handled Little Boy’s first birthday by explicitly making the party about us. The invites were for a “We survived a year of parenthood!” BBQ. A bunch of our friends came, we ate burgers, and we all watched Little Boy try cake for the first time. It was fun and very low-key.

    I’m all for people doing what they enjoy, whether that’s a big blow-out or nothing at all. Like you said, no child remembers their first birthday party.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That sounds like it would be fun! 🙂 I suppose I might be more inclined to do something similar if I had any friends out here, haha.

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  13. You know I remember the stresses of all my baby’s first b days! I now have watched 2 grandkids turn one and their parents stressed to make the pic perfect party! Your take on your sons first is a good one. It fits your baby and isn’t it his day? Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Love it! We’re having a party but I wholeheartedly agree with you! And after this year, we’ll probably only have “parties” for milestones or special birthdays. Otherwise it will be us, grandparents, and siblings. And we each only have one sibling. So we’re talking 10 adults. And we see them all on a regular basis.

    I am definitely stressed but also know it will be a good time! Enjoy your little one’s day however YOU want! Where has this year gone???

    Liked by 1 person

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