It’s kids party season. Glass of Moët?

Mr.3 is turning four this weekend.  His party isn’t until the following weekend, as it clashed with another 4th birthday party.  For us, once we hit mid-June, we enter serious party season around here: invites to birthday parties are flying all around the place.  I hardly have enough room on the pinboard to tack them all up, along with the bills.  Seems Mr.3’s advanced social skills have seen him added to quite a few invite lists this year.  (Very happy the kid has chatty, social nature; not happy am spending money I don’t have on countless birthday presents.  Should be paying aforementioned bills.)

Anyhow, I have always been one of those mums who does everything for the party themselves.  I make the cake – am only entering my fourth year of parenting, but have already spent many more than four nights re-making birthday cakes after failed attempts.  We have the party at our house.  We put up the decorations.  We provide the entertainment (late nights also involve painstakingly wrapped pass-the-parcels).  I do all the food myself, and all the cleaning before and after the event.

In other words, as I’m sure you’re aware, this spells complete exhaustion.  But I don’t mind…much…because this is what a real mummy does, right?

Ha.  Not this year for me.  Mr.1’s party was at home in April – I baked some cupcakes, dug out some party hats from the back of the cupboard (second child, 1st birthday party, doesn’t remember, IUKWIM).  But Mr.3’s party this year is being completely outsourced!  And I have never felt more stress-free in my life!  Oh yeah!  I am not even baking the cake! 

I will say now I cannot really afford the luxury of outsourcing a party.  But this is not some fancy party with caterers and decorators and clowns and face painting and a marquee – it’s just being held at an indoor play centre.  For his cake, Mr.3 wants a Cadbury freddo icecream cake (’cause they always have them at childcare when there’s a birthday) and I can’t sway him on it.  Thus, no baking either. 

Despite the whole thing not costing the earth, I still weighed up the options…even conducted little analyses in my head, of party cost vs. cleaning and prep time required, vs. personal stress level and impact on household…and decided I can’t be stuffed hosting this one.  And I am so happy with my decision!  (No mummy guilt, in case you’re wondering.)

I suppose what also assisted with my decision, is seeing some of the other parties we’ve been to lately.  Pass me my glass of Moët dahhling…for these are serious, high-end, kids parties. 

The most recent one involved hiring of a local hall – no biggie there I thought, until we walked in.  The first thing that I noticed, was that everything – right down to the little red cupcake wrappers and cute red tin buckets holding Perriers on ice – was colour co-ordinated.  It was a boy’s “construction” theme, and as we arrived, Mr.3 was given a yellow construction hat and a toolbox full of pretend tools (we got to keep the lot).  There were huge handpainted trucks for playing in, giant soccer balls, blow-up hammers (got one of those too!).  A huge, gorgeous red retro children’s table and chairs was set up for the kids, with (red) buckets full of little drinks, red tubs for popcorn and so on.  There was a pinata in the shape of a concrete truck, which I was told was flown in from the US for the occasion, “because we didn’t really have much choice available, you know, here.”  We also got lolly bags (ho-hum) to take home. 

The parents didn’t miss out either – along with the Perrier there was wine, champagne and hor d’oeuvres.  Professionally catered, of course.

I’ve also seen clowns, face painters…entertainers dressed up as fairies, pirates, stupid white bears.  Stunning helium balloon displays…gorgeous cakes, truly works of art, that probably cost more than my wedding cake.  These parties didn’t need old-fashioned games like pass-the-parcel. 

Or did they?

Last year, a friend of mine was organising her two year old’s party, and casually mentioned she had to go get the champagne that afternoon. 

“What champagne’s that?” I asked.

“Oh, you know…for the party.” Obvious embarrassment.

“You’re serving champers at Lily’s party?  Why?”

“Well they all are…all my mother’s group.  They’ve all had French champagne at their kids’ parties.  I can’t really not have it, can I, even though I don’t think we really need to have it.  Yeah I know…but….”

I went to that party, and there were about eight women standing around swilling Piper Heidsieck champagne while the kids went mental. 

And while I am all for a little drinky or two with my GFs (ALL FOR IT), I reckon those little kids could’ve benefited from a simple game or two.

Oh, say, like pass-the-parcel perhaps.


8 responses to “It’s kids party season. Glass of Moët?

  1. If you’ve got the money to go all out then sure, why not.
    I enjoy doing everything at my kids parties, thought there’s not really any stress because I don’t invite ‘other mothers’, only family and my own friends.

    I’m freaking out about Muffin’s 5th bday because I promised she could invite friends. I’m not ready for that. Not the mothers anyway, I don’t need that judgment lol

    I’m not really a ‘drinking at kids parties’ person. My sister is. We had a ‘discussion’ (I talked rationally and she got all defensive and angry) She had said she would be drinking, I asked her why she would need to drink at a little kids party and said she would be the only one there drinking, she said “but all MY friends drink at THEIR kids parties”, I said “yeah but your friends are all alcoholic trailer trash tramps” (mind you, in a joking way, as we have some of the same friends), and then was “I’m allowed to have a drink blah blah blah blah…” something.

    Though we aren’t talking about fancy champagne here, more like cheap beer and vodka.

    I’d rather remember my kids birthday thanks.

    • Thanks for the comment! You are so mature for your age…more mature than a lot of women in their mid-thirties that I know..
      Yes I think once they hit school age, you can’t avoid inviting their friends. One mum did tell me she had no parties with her kids’ friends, until they started at primary school. She saved herself years of effort and stress before that time 🙂

  2. Kids parties should be about the kids, in my not so humble opinion.

    We’ve done the big at home party thing and I barely survived. So now we go out to our local indoor sports centre and it is fabulous. I provide party food and cake, they get subway to cater lunch. There is two staff members who run games with the children. They alternate between the hard courts and the indoor beach volleyball court (giant sandpit!)

    Costs works out the same as when I did it at home and the kids have a ball and I have no clean up.

    We gave out books one year instead of lolly bags. That was a mistake, kids were VERY unimpressed.

    • Thanks for the comment! Yes the party for Mr.3 sounds like the same thing…half an hour of the party is spent on the indoor volleyball sand area doing games. So should be good. They do the food though, it’s all pretty much junk food, but…

  3. We’ve done both, that is, insource and outsource. Parties at the play centres are less work though I’m not sure if the home ones haven’t been more memorable, maybe due to the effort required.

    We’ve always have alcohol for the parents, not sure why though. Nothing flash just beer and wine, but the parents had to use kids party cups just a different colour from the kids cups.

    • We’ve had beer and wine for parents when it’s been at home..but all pretty casual..nothing like Piper Heidsieck champagne in crystal stemware…!

      Hope the kids at yours chose the right coloured cups to drink from..would’ve been an interesting party otherwise! 🙂

  4. This is a topic that keeps coming up amongst my mummy-friends (and aptly timed for me as I have my first “champagne party” today (it said so in the invitation, to which I thought “whaaattt??” and then realised the invitation was copied from the sales brochure for the centre.)

    I love the whole party preparation bizzo (and at this stage I get two for the price of one as my boys’ birthdays are close enough that they share a party). Part of it is that I know that they’ll soon decide they want an outsouced party with an icecream cake so I figure I only have a few years of hard yakka!! We’ve done one at home party and two at the local park and the latter were super-easy: a few car trips to bring the “stuff” to and fro then that’s it (while I am still finding cupcake wrappers in the garden almost 3 years after the at home one). But I do have the advantage of a November birthday for weather!

    I don’t mind the idea of champagne per se: if offering a glass to friends (or a beer for that matter) is your way of saying “celebrate” then why not? It’s every parent’s responsibility that the style of consumption is appropriate to a children’s event.

    • Thanks for your comment! You are very lucky your boys can share a party (for now anyway..) and that you have a November date! I’d definitely go to a park or the beach – kind of outsourcing, but not, IUKWIM 😉

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