By Amanda Russo
I used to have a social life. I used to leave my house after the sun went down and stay out until it rose again. I partied.
Now, my social life consists of a completely different type of "fun." It seems like I am at a toddler's birthday party every other weekend. These pint-sized parties have become my social life, and though the experience can be cute, I have contemplated running out screaming more than once. Here are the five reasons children's birthday parties are actually torture.
1. They are a competitive sport
The days of a simple backyard BBQ where parents stood around a keg while the kids ran free are over. Back then, you were lucky if there was pin the tail on the donkey. Thanks in no small part to Pinterest, children's parties have become a vehicle to show off to other parents. We are forced to attend them instead of dropping our kids off like our own parents did, and then we have to notice that the birthday boy or girl's accessories match the top tier of the smash cake. How super perfect the parents must be.
2. The birthday kid rarely enjoys it
I spent $600 on my daughter's third birthday party and she basically cried and threw a massive tantrum the entire time. She wouldn't even blow out her candles! I know I'm not the only one because I have not only thrown a party like this, but I've seen the exact same thing happen to other parents. If you have felt the painful regret of planning a party that was the opposite of fun for your kid, please know that I feel for you.
3. Kids' music
The last thing I want to do on a Saturday afternoon is listen to a club remix of The Wheels On The Bus. The never ending playlist of kiddie versions of pop songs are even worse. I have no idea why party spaces feel the need to make everyone deaf with the volume of these terrible songs. Perhaps it's to drown out all that crying...
4. Awkward conversation with people you don't know
Oh, you're the birthday kid's second cousin on his mother's side? So nice to meet you. Your kid goes to school with my kid? Great. My daughter just shoved yours out of the ball pit? Super. We should totally exchange info so that we can have a play date and continue searching for something to talk about while our children basically beat each other up.
5. Eventually everyone hits "the wall"
Man, woman, child...no one is safe from the wall. It's usually about an hour and a half into a two hour party. Nap time has come and gone. My caffeine buzz from the pre-party coffee has worn off. Now I am supposed to force my child to smile for a group picture then load her up with a ton of icing followed by an attempt to wrestle her away from balloons that don't belong to her while rendering her immobile as I strap her down into a car seat? Good times!
Are your birthday party experiences anything like mine? Share with us in the comments and I'll be sure to send you an invite next year.
Photo courtesy of Amanda Russo
This piece was originally published by Amanda Russo on Mommy Nearest. Amanda is a certified preschool special education teacher. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter.