“I love my kids’ birthdays,” says Lois Montagu, mother of two young children in Napa, California.
“For free Chatting Matthew Koehler, DC father of a 9-year-old daughter, said: “My wife and I are introverts.”
“Oh, treat bags are definitely a place to feel the pressure,” says Jessica Balls, a Nashville mum of two. There are also moms who have princess tiaras on top of that, stuff like that, lots of little toys and candy.Well, this is probably going to cost $15 or $20 per child.”
After various periods of pandemic hiatus, the birthday party scene has rebooted and parents know exactly what that means. Whole class or just a few friends? where are we doing this? I want how to do this? With weekends booked, parents say celebrations often head to the other end of the party planning spectrum. , obviously more mellow as the family embraces the casual atmosphere.
“I think everyone is so burnt out,” says Koehler. “They want to do something special for their kids, but they also want it to be an opportunity to simply invite friends over to their house so that it doesn’t become such a huge stressful situation. In his social circles, this means abandoning pre-pandemic house parties in favor of gathering outdoors in common areas, he says.
“People use public parks and school playgrounds after school,” he says. “They don’t have to rent a place.
Some, however, are happy that the festival has resumed. Montague, a doctor who joins her Facebook group for “party planner” mothers who work in the medical field, said the stress and burden of the pandemic years has actually increased interest in children’s birthdays. says. Her online group is “over the top and wonderful,” she says. “I think the coronavirus has made the opportunity to gather and celebrate something more rewarding than ever,” she said.
Of course, social media has fueled the urge to stage photo-perfect backgrounds. But the desire to indulge isn’t superficial, it’s a necessary form of balance, at least in her community. .
In Nashville, Boles has seen her parents’ community return to pre-pandemic birthday party patterns. That means she and her two kids have a gymnastics and dance studio, a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant and a trampoline park.
There’s one thing she doesn’t really like about this pre-packaged party approach. One of which is her cost (she spent her $500 on her son’s last birthday at a trampoline park) and all the impersonal, formulaic construction. But she adds that there are also certain advantages for families who can manage the price tag. Where can I make my cake?” So I appreciate having a one-stop shop,” she says.
In Montana, Susi Milligan recently stepped into the world of hosting birthday parties for her 6-year-old son’s friends and classmates. Some families only invite a few friends to their home. Others “go to pool parties at local hotels and fill the pool with blow-up toys,” she says. , threw pizza and a glow-in-the-dark bounce house party,” she added.
She finds diversity rather liberating. She doesn’t feel pressured to do anything big, but she just does what’s right for her child. (For her son’s birthday, she says, this meant inviting a few of his friends over for a snowball fight.)
“I still get torn sometimes,” Milligan says. “Does the invitation say ‘no presents’? Invite the whole class?” Her guiding principle is, “Try to figure out where our child is. What do we want to teach him, how can he feel admired and how can we help him love the children around him?”
Caroline Wilson, an educator and Memphis mother of a 6-year-old daughter and a 9-year-old son, has noticed a big and welcome change in the birthday party scene in recent months. . Before the pandemic, she says, parties were bigger and complete with bounce houses and princess performers, professional face painting and the sensations her parents put in. many effort or paid many of the money to outsource that effort.
But as parents adapted to coronavirus safety measures during the pandemic, those gatherings were instead replaced by smaller, more purposeful celebrations that seem to be taking hold. “My daughter is going to a birthday party just for the birthday girl and two of her friends. They’re going to do something special together,” she says.
She hears other parents echo her own relief about this change. “I feel like people are happy that we can rethink the way we do things,” she says. Maybe just a few friends hanging out. ”
Willson says she herself ordered her own color-coordinated streamers, bunting and cake toppers on Etsy and stayed up to decorate cupcakes. just so Until 2am the night before the party. (Her children never seem to have noticed.
“I felt like I had to do this gorgeous, all-out thing to be a good mother,” she says. everything There may be some things our kids care about, but we can still do those things. But for the rest, who were you doing this for?”