All these questions race through my mind every time a birthday creeps up. Is it just me or is there less and less time between them every year? At least it seems that way.
I love celebrating my children’s special days but I do not love the unnecessary stress I usually put on myself to make it the Best. Birthday. Ever!
Of course for their first birthdays, it had to be just right with the perfect decorations, party favors, cake and all the tiny little details. But what have I set myself up for with all the birthdays that followed?
STRESS, my friends, and lots of it.
Even though I know in my mind that it does not matter what color tablecloths I use, or if the cups match the theme of the party, it never fails that the little details always get the best of me. Instead of focusing on the important things, like who will be there to celebrate and all the love that surrounds the child on their special day, insignificant things take precedence.
Well, for my sanity I made a conscious effort this year to not stress the small stuff. I mean seriously, who really cares if all the utensils, paper products and activities all perfectly coordinate with the theme?!? Nobody will notice or remember a year from now, even a week from now, all the little things.
So here is what I did for my 4 year old’s party this year…
- Rented a shelter at Saluda Shoals Park (Water Oak, right by the playground, splash pad* and restrooms). You automatically get 3 hours and there’s a $50 damage deposit which you get back!
- Rented the train ride the park offers for an hour
- Had Moe’s cater the food and deliver/set up (Who doesn’t like chips and cheese dip??). Bonus: all utensils and paper products were included.
- Brought water bottles and juice boxes purchased from Sam’s
- Ordered two custom cookie trays from Blue Flour Bakery (so unbelievably delicious and barely any leftover, WIN!) instead of cake
- Had one activity: Make Your Own Bracelet table (Plastic snap together bracelets and some beads – from Michael’s)
- No decorations (shelter does not permit balloons, piñatas, sidewalk chalk, etc.)
*The splash pad opens the last weekend in April so the kids just ran around.
All in all, it was the least stressed and easiest set up and clean up for a birthday party to date. I am all for having birthday parties outside so the kids can run and play, when weather permits. Luckily, my kids have an April and early November birthday so it’s usually just the right temperature outdoors.
Here are some additional ideas for places to have birthday parties or any other gathering that are low-stress:
- Jake’s Place at Northwest Family YMCA – indoor three-story play area with plenty of room for kids to run around (no worries about possible bad weather)
- SC Pedal Parlor – Not for kids but great for adults (I sent my husband and 10 of his friends for his birthday one year)
- Restaurant party rooms – Miyo’s has been a favorite of mine
If birthday parties stress you out like they have for me in the past, I encourage you to embrace the alternatives. Don’t compare yourself to the other fabulous mamas or over-the-top Pinterest ideas, but instead do what you do best – YOU! Cookie tray and all.