I see it all the time, kids who are obsessed about their birthdays, the gifts they will get, the parties they will have, the people they will invite, cake they will have et cetera.  Some parents plan huge epic parties then next year feel the need to out do what they did the year before.

Having three kids means I would have to shell out and plan three separate parties each year.  Talk about outrageous!  After some thoughtful consideration, my husband and I decided that we had to set rules and standards now before things got too crazy.  So in our home we have family years and party years.  On family years each birthday is spent just with out immediate family.  Grandparents are welcome to visit, but not on the actual birthday.  That day is spent at home, with just us.

Party years we give the kids the option of having a party or something else bigger that they would enjoy.  This big thing or party is in lieu of a gift from mom and dad.  This year was my daughter’s fifth birthday, and her party year.  Instead of a party she chose to go to Indiana and visit her friends.  Our present to her was driving her up to Indiana and paying for all of the activities we did while we were there.  She completely understands that for her sixth birthday we will stay home and celebrate with the family.

Now maybe some of you are thinking that I’m a killjoy for not wanting a party every single year.  I’m not allowing my kids to have what they want each year, and so on.  And to you I say, “bah!”  Birthdays are just as much about the parents as they are about the kids.  I am celebrating that I was able to bring my little girl into this world and I’ve kept her alive for five years.  Mommy win, right?  Plus, family time is one of the greatest gifts you could ever really give a child.  Ultimately I am just doing the best I can to raise my kids with a strong sense of family, and teach them each that celebrating their birthday is less about parties and presents and more about the gift of love and life itself.


-Stephanie Wright

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