It's not as fun as it looks.
7. That one kid who thinks it’s their party. There’s always that one kid who takes over the show.
It's the highlight of every kid’s year, but the task of organizing your child’s birthday party can fill you with dread. No matter how far in advance or super-organized you are, there will always be those unpredictable moments that come with it!
1. The guest list dilemma. Sitting with your child going through the party list is like asking them to choose their favorite toy. They just can’t! So when their best friends change every week or they want to invite their whole class (and teachers!), there needs to be a strict guest policy. The shortlist usually gives priority to the following: kids who your child speaks/plays with daily, the kids whose parents you like, and those who invite you to their kids parties (it’s only fair!).
2. Searching for an anti-allergen birthday cake. Back in the day, there was only one birthday cake (usually homemade). All the kids would eat it problem-free, and the only emergency would be little Jack vomiting on a chair. But with today’s abundance of nut, gluten, wheat, egg and you-name-it allergies, vomiting is the least of your worries. Now, your mission is to find a cake (or several) that will not require antihistamines afterwards.
3. The ‘drop and go’ parents. You always get those parents who find any excuse to drop off their kid and run for freedom. We all know it’s not an emergency call…they’re off to hit the shops or to get their nails done. Unless it’s a genuine crisis, it’s a birthday party, not a crèche!
4. …The too-early parents. I’m glad you couldn’t wait to attend the party of the year, but an hour early? Really? When you’re still in your dressing gown, no makeup, rushing around putting up decorations, preparing food, and cleaning, the last thing you need is to spectators sitting around.
5. Party entertainment that is actually entertaining. Party games are the pinnacle of every party. After all, besides cake, what else are these kids here for? But little people are the hardest crowd to please, so you have to up your game (literally!). If you don’t fancy spending the whole weekend making a piñata (only for it to be battered to shreds in seconds), hire a professional. Kids' entertainers are paid to deal with a bunch of hyperactive 4-year-olds. More expense, but oh so worth it!
6. You’ll be a nervous wreck. You will be anxious about EVERYTHING! Will the day run smoothly? Is everyone having a good time? Where’s my child disappeared to when we’re cutting the cake? This means you will not have sat down for three hours, eaten any proper food (except some chocolate) or have engaged in a proper conversation due to your erratic rushing around. After all, you’ll be the talk of the school on Monday, so this better be a success!
7. That one kid who thinks it’s their party. There’s always that one kid who takes over the show. Yes, the one who wants to be the center of attention, bosses the other kids around, or wants to open your child’s birthday presents first. Sit down, little brat — it’s not your party, but you can cry if you want to!
8. PG-rated playlist. You’ve spent time compiling an age-appropriate playlist that is current to what the kids are listening to. But there’s always that one song (you’ve never heard of) that contains the subtle expletive or innuendo halfway through. The children are completely oblivious to this, of course, but the parents' disapproving looks say it all! Keep it child-friendly — sorry, Nicki Minaj.
9. The things you planned won’t even happen. You’ve planned a detailed itinerary of what will happen and at what time, but half of those grand ideas will never happen. Things change, kids are unpredictable, anything goes in the end. Schedule? Ha! Who needs it?
10. Finding wasted birthday cake in the sofa…or anywhere else. Your heart will sink when you see plates of half-eaten cake. A lot of effort has gone into the party preparation, as well as finding that very expensive anti-allergen cake (which was at a bakery miles away). So when you’re throwing away half-eaten plates of food or drink that has barely been touched in paper cups, you simply despair. And that’s not just from the kids!
Despite all these foibles, when everyone has gone, and your child tells you they had the "best party EVER," that’s really all that counts!
Roll on next year…