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!