Approved by the What’s Up Moms Medical Advisory Board
You’re experiencing a bizarre sort of whiplash right now because on the one hand, it seems like just yesterday you brought your impossibly tiny baby home from the hospital, all swaddled up burrito-style… and yet, here you are, approaching the one year mark. The one year mark!
Baby’s 1st birthday is a huge milestone for you and the entire family. So if you’ve already got the wheels turning on a party you’re psyched to throw and you’ve got the funds and time to do it up, great. But, moms of the First World, let’s get this out in the open: you are not obligated to throw your kid a big, expensive 1st (or even 2nd) birthday party. Baby is not going to remember this party. Or not remember it.
So before you go full on Pinterest and tumble down a crafting/recipe/decor rabbit hole and spend several hundred dollars or more, consider saving that moolah for all those future birthday parties that you will be obliged to throw (heads up: soon you’ll be “kindly encouraged” to invite the whole class. Eeks.). Consider spending the day doing something fun as a family, like the zoo or the park – followed by a grownups-only date to celebrate. Remember, it doesn’t matter to baby. As long as you let her smash a cake — any cake — and you document the occasion with photos or video, you’re doing it right.
If you do host a birthday party, here are a few quick tips to make it smooth as can be:
Be exclusive – Not in a Mean Girls way, you guys! But remember, babies get easily overwhelmed, so keep the guest list manageable. This isn’t the time to invite everyone you know.
Deputize – Get a family member or ‘sitter to help you with odds and ends during the party so you can be a calm and present host. Splurge on a house cleaner if the party is at your home. Task a friend with taking pics and video. Trust us, you’ll appreciate the extra hands.
Keep your sh%^ together – Don’t melt down if your baby melts down. And by “if your baby melts down” we mean “when your baby melts down.” It helps to keep the party short – about 1.5 hours.
Distract and disarm – Babies don’t actually mingle. So they’ll need a few activities to keep them busy. One-year-olds love themselves a good tambourine, stacking toy or chunky wooden puzzle. Designate little play areas for them and you may actually get to have conversations with other grownups.
Now go line up that cake. Better yet, two — one for eating and one for smashing.