Sarah Deveau: Money Matters


Birthday Party Dilemma

Mommy Guilt: Spend on a Birthday Party or Not?

My middle daughter turns three on Thursday. I was planning on having a small party for her with a few select friends, but had to postpone it for work. Then I started thinking, do I really need to have it at all?

Last year, I invited her three little buddies over for a cupcake party. I splurged on kid-sized chef’s hats and cupcake aprons for $80. I raided my local dollar store for cupcake-themed dishes. I baked cupcakes using a mix and added a variety of food colourings to canned white frosting to give the kids some colour options. Then I filled ramekins with a selection of inexpensive candies (mini marshmallows, sprinkles) to give them even more decorating choices.

I taped large pieces of kraft paper to the wall behind the cupcake-decorating station, so the girls could colour on the wall between bites. The moms drank tea and ate cupcakes while their daughters donned aprons and decorated cupcakes. At the end of the party, each guest got to take home an apron, chef hat and a box of cupcakes.

Total cost including food and drink? $150.

Fast forward to this year. On Sunday, we had a family dinner at my mom’s house with cake and balloons and presents. At her preschool I’ll take in cupcakes and they’ll sing Happy Birthday to her. She just happens to be going to her occasional dayhome this week, where another cake and little party is planned.

And yet, I’m still feeling like she’s sort of getting the shaft. Because I haven’t planned her own party with her own friends in a play place or at home. I haven’t made my own invitations and won’t be decorating the house or attempting to create a stay-up-all-night Cake Boss-esque cake.

Argh! My husband thinks I’m crazy for even struggling with this. He says save the money because she doesn’t care or know the difference either. And she’s already participating in many celebrations. What to do?