Kids parties. Ugh. While I love the idea of celebrating kids for their birthday, the actual celebration can be exhausting, right?! Whether you’re throwing or attending, kids’ birthdays can leave you feeling overwhelmed and drained.
But—kids’ parties should be fun! So, here’s the “Lazy Mom’s Guide to Surviving Kid’s Birthday Parties” because I’ve found that when I take the lazy way out, I often enjoy the experience more.
Tips for the Lazy Mom throwing the birthday party
Tip #1: Don’t throw a party
I’m serious. Instead, have a get-together. Shifting the way you look at the celebration can make all the difference. A party “requires” things like balloons, entertainment, themed food, and Pinterest-worthy take-home treats. A get-together? All you really need is a place to host and maybe some food and drinks. If you’re at home, you’ve got plenty of toys to keep the kids busy, or if you’re too lazy to clean your house? Have the get-together at the park. For the lazy mom, a get-together requires a lot less work than a party, and the kids are often just as happy.
Tip #2: Think small
Whether you throw a party or host a get-together, take a big look at your guest list. We survived a party with 25 kids (thank goodness the other 10 couldn’t attend), along with their parents. When the kids are early elementary age or younger, parents tend to come along too. And the siblings. So, consider this when you create your guest list. If you need to, proactively communicate to people that you’re having a small party this year and that you appreciate their understanding (as a lazy mom whose kid goes to a lot of birthdays, I’d appreciate not making the cut!).
Tip #3: Outsource
Feeling lazy? Pay people to do things. And sometimes, it ends up being cheaper too. We’ve thrown five birthday parties where we’ve done all the work. And now we’ve done two where we’ve gone to a location that does everything for you. The latter option has made life so much easier. The choice was originally made not from laziness, but from wanting to avoid being overwhelmed with everything that can go into a party. So, if you want your child to have a birthday party, consider going to a place like a kid’s gym, a trampoline park, or a bounce house place where they’ll take care of almost everything for you. And price-wise, it’s equivalent doing everything ourselves or outsourcing.
Tip #4: Don’t get caught up in the details
When reviewing details with the location for our most recent party, the people asked what color plates we wanted. And balloons. I said whatever they wanted. I let grandma pick the design for the cake. I picked up $1 crayon/coloring book packs from Target as gifts. I know the important part is having people together who love my son and who want to celebrate him. The rest, I’m letting go of. Some may say I’m lazy; others might say smart- I’m probably somewhere in between.
Tips for the Lazy Mom invited to the party
While I want my kids to have parties get-togethers, and I want their friends to be there to celebrate, I don’t always want to attend parties. I understand it’s a nice thing that my kids get a number of invitations, but it’s also exhausting. I only have two tips for this.
Tip #1: Say no
I’m not offended when someone declines a party invite. I’m often relieved. It’s okay to say no, especially if the timing, location, or other detail conflicts with something going on in your family. If you feel like you have too much going on, politely decline. It’s okay.
Tip #2: Make gift-giving easy
I used to stress over gifts. I wondered what the child had, and what they’d like. Would I somehow offend the parent with my choice? Too much mental energy. Now, I give movie passes (assuming they’re of movie-watching age). Who doesn’t like going to the movies? And if they don’t, they now have movie passes they can regift to someone else! If movie passes aren’t appropriate for your kids’ friends, find the equivalent (like an accessory store gift card that you can get at the grocery store) and give that as a gift. Be lazy—make it easy!
Listen, when it comes to being a mom, there is so much we take responsibility for. It’s easy to get lazy in certain areas of life and it’s also easy to assume that we can’t be lazy about birthday parties, but, I challenge that idea. I enjoy birthday parties more when I approach them with a lazy attitude. Give it a try and see how you feel!
Sara Robinson, MA is the founder of Get Mom Balanced. Growing up she always knew that a traditional 9-5 job would not work out for her: she likes variety, creativity, free-time and also wanted to fit in a family. She is a mom of two young boys, teaches mental skills to athletes, and now helps support moms finding balance with all that they juggle. When she's not sitting behind a computer she can be found hanging out with her boys, mostly laughing, reading and having dance parties. Go visit her site at Get Mom Balanced.