I love my kids but I dread Birthdays. The sound of that event makes me tired. There have been birthdays which seemed tougher than actually going through child birth. Before you judge me and think I am heartless, let me declare… I love my kids a lot! I do not enjoy throwing or attending kids birthday parties. Ironically you will see me compensating a lot for this guilt by overdoing and tiring myself. Deep down I want to convince myself that I am a fun mom 🙂
Let’s start with how it began-
7 years ago in a very cold, foggy December evening we celebrated my older one’s first birthday with family and friends at a fancy banquet hall. The one year old was dressed from head to toe in brand new clothes. To his displeasure he met a lot of new faces who pulled his cheeks and sang Happy Birthday. He was cranky and super sleepy but we didn’t care because it was his ‘Happy Birthday!’ People gave him shiny gifts bigger than his body and envelopes of shagun which he just wanted to chew, lick or taste but we didn’t oblige him at all. His family looked different today. Well dressed and over enthusiastic and narrating his recent antics to guests. The Birthday boy slept before the cake cutting and was made to cut the cake in a semi conscious state with a lot of noise disturbing his siesta. Everyone ate yummy food but he had to still eat his homemade khichri. He was passed around like a parcel within family members and he finally decided to test everyone’s love by pooping. To his surprise no one wanted him with poop and he found himself back to his mom. That was the start of many Happy Birthdays.
Over the years I have realized Birthdays are not easy. They are a direct reflection of how much effort a mom puts.
Why I dread Birthdays-
1. Birthday Theme- Nowadays you have to have a theme. Even when you go to the shopkeeper to buy paper plates he will ask you “ Madam what is the Birthday Theme?”. A theme increases the planning workload.
2. Invitation card- There are very gender specific choices from sparkly pink to Spiderman Red. Now you can make your own on apps and send musical ones. This is just extra work.
3. Decor- blowing some balloons and putting streamers used to be décor but thanks to social media and Amazon now we have props, a photo wall, birthday banner and the works.
4. The Birthday Dress- The Birthday boy or girl has to look special. The clothes are shopped way in advance and so the planning starts way before than the D-day.
5.Menu- Kids are picky and no matter how tasty and healthy are your sandwiches and homemade muffins they will eat the frozen smileys. You put food on the table for photo ops and to show the parents.
6. Entertainment- Throwing the birthday party was not enough now you have to entertain the kids also. They expect games and fun. From a magician, game coordinator, face painting and fun experiments everything is available if you are willing to shell out the big bucks.
7. Cake- Homemade cakes by moms are gradually getting extinct. Mostly because of the increase in the workload, easier options available and kids demanding cartoon characters that are beyond our baking skills.
8. Return Gifts- I hate this one the most. Kids are brutally honest. They will rip open the gifts before they leave the party and tell you on your face if its a hit or a miss. A mix age group means shopping different return gifts. We buy not to please the kids but for their parents to notice we spent some money on the party.
9. Gifts- The birthday gifts are not merely gifts but a message by kids parents to be read carefully. The quality, price and thought of the gift conveys the emotion. You can easily make out the new gifts which were bought from the shop because they will be professionally wrapped with a card whereas some gifts will be the recycled ones lying at home. The recycled gifts are not bad but again the type, age group and the gift’s packaging condition speaks volumes. Moms make a mental note and it gets reciprocated in future. Gifts define relationships.
10. The Winding-up- Do I need to even explain this? I hate the winding up after the party.
Now we have online Birthdays in 2020 thanks to an uninvited guest called Covid-19.
Birthdays are celebrated online but trust me you will find yourself running like a headless chicken trying to make your baby chicks happy. Invitations will be sent to family and friends for a zoom party, with décor, cake and party food for a legit party feel . The birthday kid has to be entertained for the lack of the actual birthday party so you might find yourself overcompensating leading to exhaustion that feels like a deja vu of childbirth. Just like childbirth planned or unplanned the end result is always happiness.
So a big cheers to all the tired moms who bake, create, plan and celebrate. Give yourself a big pat on your back for whatever you could do. Happy Birthday to your little one from me to you 🙂