#whatwouldyoudo? Birthday Party Or No Birthday Party?

#whatwouldyoudo? Birthday Party Or No Birthday Party?

When it comes to our children’s first few birthdays there tends to be two camps. The all out, all the money all the fuss birthday party, which actually is pretty much everyone for the first year. I get it, your child only turns 1 once, or 2 or 3, they are the apple of your eye and you want to celebrate them. After all I still want to celebrate my birthdays with others so why I shouldn’t I celebrate my children’s?

There is however a second camp, the camps that legitimise the why we don’t have to celebrate birthdays with an all out foray. ‘They don’t understand a birthday’ ‘we’ll just spend the day together and sing them happy birthday’, ‘big birthday parties are a waste of time and money at this age’.

We’ve all heard it.

You may have seen over on Instagram or indeed this here blog that my littlest toddler has just turned two. Being the cruel mother that I am the day went by without huge celebration. The poor little man didn’t have much of a first birthday either, I do believe we took him to the pub. He enjoyed it though. I am sure. Can you tell what camp I am in?

Before you decide however keep this in mind…

You see the problem with being the often unfortunate second child is that sometimes all the fuss is not made.

We did the big, pointless, first birthday for the first-born. Decked the garden out with all kind of baby paraphernalia and a BBQ invited all the babies and all the family and friends. In reality it was pretty atrocious. My second born was still in neo natal care, despite being 4 weeks old. I spent the entire day running around trying to make sure everyone’s drinks were full, they were fed and happy, whilst nipping out to express my milk every  2 – 3 hours. I didn’t even see a great deal of the birthday girl. It all culminated in me crying at about 6pm as I still had not made it to the hospital to see my boy and I couldn’t bear to think of him let in his incubator without anyone coming to see him all day. With that I was swiftly booted out the door and hot footed it to the hospital quick sharp, eyes still hot from all the tears.

I confess to even having a second birthday party for the first born’s second birthday, despite swearing vehemently that I would never have another party. Again, it is all the effort hosting a shebang in the garden, we hired inflatable things, toys and again got the barbie out. Once more I don’t recall seeing an awful lot of my children, instead running around hosting, topping up glasses and serving food. I assume my children had a great time. Oh and it rained.

Garden partyy

So no more I said. That is the end of the birthday parties until they go to school, when no doubt they will have a birthday party from the age of 5 – 21. So be it.

We’re living up to this thus far. The boy did not have a second birthday party. In fact on his actual birthday he went to nursery. It is the one day a week that we pay for. Both children enjoy it and have a good time there doing lots of varied and stimulating activities. I know they will make a fuss of him and he will enjoy it. Judge however you see fit, I don’t care. I picked him up early and we had a small but lovely birthday tea.

He loved his presents, well his sister did. She ‘helped’ him to open them and then play with them.

Zara and toby playing with birthday presents

I suspect she will get the concept of ‘birthday’ when she turns 3 in a months time. He had a big old fuss made of him by all those who attended and he had the mother of all birthday cakes.


Toby's birthday cake

So no I may not have gone all out with parties, party bags and invite list but effort was certainly made. Together, with both children we made that bad boy. Yes, you may see him being involved in making his own cake as a negative, he didn’t though. He loved it. It is a very simple Victoria sponge cake, iced and decorated. I confess, we cheated on the icing and brought Betty Crockers pre made icing. Come on I was baking with a then one and two-year old .

It was the decorating they loved most. We decorated with Kit Kats around the edge, but chocolate fingers work just as well. We also used crispy M&Ms and Fruit Pastilles. To say it was an activity the kids enjoyed would be an understatement.

So anyway, no we didn’t have a big shebang of a party with all his little friends, we had a low key birthday tea and cake. I may have overcompensated with the cake to make up for my mum guilt of no party.  His reaction to his cake, despite his assistance with the preparation was priceless…

The other 2-year-old of the house is to turn three in just under a month and she doesn’t currently have a birthday party planned either. If my mum guilt gets the better of me by the end of the month I may have a joint ‘playdate/party’ in the garden for them both. I probably won’t.

I’ll keep saving my pennies for when they turn 5 and want to invite the entire class.

What about you? Did you have first birthday parties, and second and thirds? Or are you waiting until they ask? I’d love to hear from you.


#whatwouldyoudo? Birthday party or no birthday party? Do you have a party for your 1, 2, 3 or 4 year old? Does the mum guilt get the better of you? Or are you on team, they won't remember it anyway? I'll wait until they are school? A post about the pros and cons of baby and toddler birthday parties

Accidental Hipster Mum


  1. Adventures with J
    July 7, 2017 / 8:24 pm

    We had a small party for Js 1st birthday… not.for him mind… for me! Having spent 4 years trying for him and then a traumatic labour I really wanted to have an opportunity to celebrate the gift of my little boy. We agreed no more though until he asks (I’m thinking 5ish). Instead we have decided to do a special day out as a family to celebrate his birthday each year. Last year we went to Longleat and he loved it so much and so did we. We had wonderful memories that we will have forever, it cost much less than a party and we spent the whole day just the 3 of us. It was perfect!

  2. Karen, the next best thing to mummy
    July 8, 2017 / 6:14 pm

    We just had a small get together for my children’s first birthdays, but had parties from age 3 up at a local attraction which saved all the mess at home

  3. July 10, 2017 / 6:27 am

    We did with our first born (of course, ha!) but then were a bit wiser second time round. When it’s their 5th Birthday and time to invite the class, that’s when the big party is important to them. Up until then you can pretty much get away with anything for a Birthday celebration x

  4. July 12, 2017 / 10:57 am

    We haven’t done parties (although we have done family get togethers each time) because the kids always say they would rather have the money spent on presents or a day out! #RVHT

  5. July 12, 2017 / 11:51 am

    Aww I don’t blame you for not enjoying your childs 1st birthday with everything going on! We didn’t do anything but have family round for Mia’s 1st and 2nd birthday as she wouldn’t have a clue what was going on anyway and we didn’t know anyone with children so it didn’t make sense! Once she started Preschool we did book a party room for her 3rd birthday but it was far too stressful and so when she turned 4 this year, we had a fully organised for us party and it was much better! Definitely the way to go! We are currently pregnant will #2 and I think we will do pretty similar things this time round :)


  6. July 16, 2017 / 11:30 am

    I don’t do big parties, this year will probably be Greg’s first and that’s purely because he really likes a particular play area and he now has some regular friends he sees semi-often. Poor Emma didn’t get one until she was 5! I think if I had a bit more money I’d probably have done something but I don’t beat myself up about it because they don’t often know what’s going on. That said, that picture looks like a banging party!