Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Finally, Not Guilty!

There is one parenting blunder being highlighted in the news that I am NOT GUILTY of -that's always a good feeling isn’t it...?

Over-indulgent birthday parties.

Now, we aren't just talking about MTV's "My Super Sweet Sixteen" (a show that disgusts me, but I watch like a deer caught in headlights), but hundreds and even thousand of dollars being spent on parties for children as young as a year old. This has to be born of some strange parental guilt, don’t you think? I can't think of any other reason to spend and plan a party that will not only stress the kid out--but that they'll never remember anyway.

My older one says his friends "think I'm mean" because I don't do the "Soccer Zone", "Chuck E Cheese", "Roller Fun" parties. Birthday parties consist of my immediate family, maybe a friend or two, good food, a fun cake and presents. Not only am I "mean" about not hosting ostentatious bashes, but I don't let my kids go to the 3,000 parties they get invited to each year. They can pick ONE -their best friends'. I am not paying $35 every other week for presents for kids that mine are barely friends with just because their mom and dad are trying to make up for whatever they're trying to make up for... So yes, I'm a “mean mom” that prefers small, intimate parties where I can spend my money on presents for my kids instead of 30 goodie bags for someone else's kids.

There's a quiz to see if you are guilty of party overindulgence...

Here are some examples from the Parties Without Pressure website of Parents gone wild...
  • A one year old’s party in a Minnesota community has 60 guests. The gift opening takes two hours; the party infant sleeps through most of it.

  • A three year old’s parents in the same community rent a fire station for party #1, and a private club with a pool for party #2.

  • A six year old girl and her friends in St. Paul get makeovers and dance in public as part of a “starlet” package at a party business.

  • A six year old guest who is disappointed by a St. Paul party without gift bags, declares, “This is a rip off!”

  • Seven year olds in rural Minnesota get picked up by stretch limos to transport them to a friend’s party.

  • An otherwise balanced mother in St. Paul obsesses for two months about a two year old’s birthday party and works solid for a week to prepare.

  • Twin Cities parents who dread at-home parties gladly spend $450 for a build-a-bear party at a mall.

  • A Minneapolis mother switches away from a “pirate theme” for her nine year old’s party because another parent has recently used the same theme.

  • A wealthy New York father throws a $10 million party for his 13 year old daughter’s birthday, including the band Aerosmith and $10,000 gift bags.
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