Feel free to call me "The Grinch Who Stole Kids' Joy," because I can honestly say, I hate kids' birthday parties. Well, I guess hate is a rather strong word; a word I reserve for more severe situations and ideologies, like bigotry and sexism. So, instead, let's just say I very much dislike these celebratory events. Most of my disdain for the parties comes from the fact that they perpetuate the worst type of gluttony and consumerism. And, somehow, kids' birthday parties have become yet another form of competition for parents. It's as if a group of moms and dads got together, discussed how little drama they have in their lives, and created an event that promotes judgment.
I've been to some extravagant birthday parties for children. I've seen petting zoos and inflatable castles. I've been to parties where parents rented out the entire space and hired professional decorators and photographers. I've eaten custom cakes that cost as much as a week's worth of groceries for my family of four. I've been to lavish pool parties and ruggedly hipster campsite parties. And, I must say, most of these parties are excessive and showy. I am not sure when birthday parties became a competitive sport, but somewhere along the lines the sweetness of celebrating our children got lost, and the message turned into "look at how amazing I am for throwing the best kid party ever."
Now, before you tell me all about how bitter I sound, I must admit that I throw these parties as well. I throw parties for my kids because, and I have to be completely honest, I don't want my kids to feel left out. I don't want them to be "the only kids who don't have a party." I falter under the pressures to throw a fun party for my kids, even though I can't say I love attending these parties. In fact, I dislike kids' parties for the following reasons: