5 Ways to Simplify a Child’s Birthday Party


Celebrating a child’s birthday is an important and special tradition, but parties can become stressful especially if you feel like you need to compete or keep up with the other parties you hear about or those your children attend. Perhaps your circle of friends is throwing elaborate and fancy first year birthday parties. Maybe your neighbor rented a tent and a pony last summer for her son’s fifth birthday. Maybe your child’s best friend had a huge party with a band to celebrate his 16th year. Whatever the circumstance, you can quickly feel the pressure to throw the birthday of the year (or your child’s life). Here are some of my ideas on how you might simplify your child’s next birthday party.

  1. Decrease the number of attendees. It’s normal for a child to want to invite every student in his class or the entire neighborhood.  Perhaps larger numbers mean more fun and presents for your child, but it also equals more time, energy and chaos. Consider decreasing the amount of people you invite. Ask your child to choose 2 or 3 special friends. If your child attends school send the invites through the mail or by email to prevent hurt feelings from other classmates.
  2. Decrease the duration of the party. A party doesn’t have to last the entire afternoon to be a fun. A party that lasts 2 hours is a reasonable and welcome length of time for both the host and those celebrating. 
  3.  Forgo party favors. Yes, it has become quite popular to pass out favors at a child’s party, but it isn’t a requirement. I have never passed out favors at one of our parties, and I have yet to receive the evil eye in response to my choice. Do any of us really need extra candy or small toys in our homes? A favor-free party might just be a welcome change for you and for those attending your event.
  4. Take the celebration to a free venue. There are many places that advertise and rent space for birthday celebrations, but they obviously cost money.  If you want to spend your money in other ways think about taking your celebration to a free venue. We have had a number of friends and family host parties at a local playground. We hosted a September birthday party for our oldest at a nearby beach, and everyone had a blast! A memorable birthday doesn’t have to happen at an expensive venue; so look at free options around you, and try something new.
  5. Skip the party. Two of our children share a birthday month, and this year we decided to skip hosting a party for them. Instead, we made a family trip to a children’s museum and enjoyed a day of fun. We told our children that this was the plan for the year, and they were completely on board with the change. Parties can be fun, but if you are looking to try something new and give yourself and your children a break, perhaps skipping the party is a good option for you.
    birthdaypresentI hope this post has given you some ideas to inspire your next party.  Please know that big, elaborate, expensive parties don’t have to be the norm. A simple, smaller, and meaningful event could be the birthday memory your child talks about for years to come.

What about you? How do you simplify your child’s parties?

Until next time,


My Problem with the Busy Mom

full life

A couple years ago I picked up a brochure from my local grocery store and on the back there was a small bio about the nutritionist who had helped to create the pamphlet. As I read a little about her I was struck by the fact that she was described as a busy mom. As I read her bio I was reminded of how frequently this little adjective (busy) was being used to describe moms. Each time I read or heard someone use this word to describe themselves or another mom I would cringe. This might seem like an odd reaction, and even I had to ask myself why I was so bothered by people using the word “busy” to describe a mom.

Moms are busy. I think that goes without saying.  Perhaps that is the first reason I am not a fan of using the word to describe this group of women.  It’s like describing an athlete as athletic or a painter as artistic. It’s redundant. I have children to care for, a home to keep, meals to plan and prep, homework to oversee, appointments to make, parties to plan, bedtime stories to read. (Do I need to keep going?  I could.) Moms are busy. It’s a given.

I also don’t like this description because it seems to imply that if you just write “mom” it’s not enough. Is it not enough to write, “She’s a mom of 4 who enjoys spending time inside and outside the home.  She is a homemaker, writer, and gifted guitarist.”? I guess that’s not enough because “busy” pops up before the word mom wherever I turn.

The third and most important reason I don’t like using the word “busy” to describe a mom is because I don’t (as a mom) want to live a life that is defined as busy. As I mentioned earlier I do believe that moms are busy.  The list of things that moms need to accomplish is endless, and usually with each additional child the list becomes longer. I can’t escape this. You can’t escape this. What we can do is avoid getting caught up in the busy.  The tag line for this blog is “living a full life without the busy”. We will certainly have lists for the day, the “to dos” that can’t be avoided, the tasks that come with the roles in which we find ourselves, but I want to be very intentional about how I fill my days and my life. I want to be careful not to get caught up in the busy. I am so much more than a busy mom.

There is a lot more to write on this topic, and I will be continuing this conversation. It is the heart of this blog.

What about you? Do you mind be referred to as a “busy mom”?

Until next time,