Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Another failed Birthday Party.

Collin's birthday party is fast approaching. It is this Sunday. We are still struggling with after-Christmas catch up, and Tom is laid off again. Unfortunately, between having to pay the rent this week and taking Collin out to celebrate yesterday, and grocery shopping, we are pretty much tapped out. This will be yet, another party I cannot provide for my children. Another party I have to count on my father to play the parental role.

I am so angry, bitter, and depressed right now. I am these kids mom. I am the one who is supposed to give them nothing short of the best. I am the one who is supposed to give them that fun-and-friend-filled day filled with games, activities, and cake. And as par with the tradition we formed, Collin will be getting the short end of the birthday party stick.

Thomas each year, has an amazing party with an excellent turn out. Almost everyone I know with kids shows up. We have a great time, the kids play as it's still summer, we have great food, great cake or cupcakes, and the kids walk away with stuffed goodie bags. Everyone always enjoys Thomas' parties.

Bailey has only had one so far, and it was not at bad as Collin's but not that fantastic either. I didn't spend any time at all with my children, or my husband. I was too busy rushing along everything in fear of everyone leaving before we got to the cake that took almost 8 hours to make. Everyone was cold, but we had no where indoors,  large enough for the amount of people we had invited. And just like Collin, other than Tom and my immediate family and my best friend, no one with kids came. I had 16 goodie bags, and so many kids cupcakes that I had to bring back home.

Both of Collin's parties while stress free have been awful. The first year, with a winter birthday we had to give him a two day party, one day for the kids we invited, and one for just the adults. Only half of the people we invited, came. I had counted on most, as that's what happened with Thomas' first two. Last year for his 2nd, only our immediate families came. No one else.

This year, again as it has been since the year he was born, money is practically non-existent. So many people knew my fear of no one showing and had promised they would make it. The party is Sunday, and only two of those people have RSVPed. We have yet to put the money down on the hall, and do not have it. My father, as usual will be taking care of that. Then, because it is in a hall, we need to provide activities and games for the kids, to keep them occupied. I had so many plans and ideas for a perfect Winter party and have no money to make any of them come true, even with how cheap they were. We have no money for goodie bags. No money for cake, of course my father will take care of that as well. And no money for the coffee and appetizers. We only want to do chips, and a few tray of veggies, fruits, meats and cheeses. Simply and not to expensive like Baileys, but again, have no cash.

My father has offered to put off paying his electric bill for another week to use his unemployment check on Collin's party. And I am very grateful for having parents who do care so much about providing for my children. While they won't get down and play with them, they will make sure they have everything the need.
Yet, as grateful as I am, I am angry and depressed, and just plain miserable about the whole thing. I am so beyond sick of having to rely on dear ol' daddy to take care of me and my children. I am sick of still needing him. I am so tired of not being able to provide 100% for my children.

I should just count my blessings and get over it. I mean, at least my children do get birthday parties. My niece and nephew (3 and 8 years old) have never once had a birthday party. At least until this year, when I celebrated them at Thomas and Bailey's parties.

And now I feel guilty. Guilty for not providing the best for my children. Guilty for not just being thankful for what help I do have.


  1. Be thankful that you have someone who can help- a lot don't have that.

    That said, I know it's hard to put that in action. My mil paid for my oldest's birthday party last year. I wish we could have and I hate that we couldn't do it on our own. But, she was happy to help and my son was happy with the outcome- he could care less who pays for it.

  2. Nicole, sometimes I think you put too much emphasis on the things that don't matter much to kids. Kids don't need to have a big birthday party every year. When I was a kid most kids had maybe 3 or 4 big parties over all of their childhood. Other than that it was cake at home with your family and maybe once you were school age you got invite a friend over and you got to choose what we had for dinner.

    Those times were just as special as the times when we had bigger birthday parties. I had bigger parties when I was 2, 8, 13 and 16. That was it. I don't feel that I was cheated or that my parents should have thrown me a party every year. I can guarantee your kids won't feel that way either.

    Buy a box of cake mix at the dollar store and a can of frosting and let him help to make his own birthday cake. Invite your parents over and let him just celebrate with the people who are closest to him.

    Unless Tom chooses another line or work or you go back to work you're going to continue to have these troubles. He's in a line of work that often lays people off so maybe it's time he does something else, even if it's working at Walmart and McDonalds at least it's a steady income. You could also go back to work if you decide you want to always have the extra for birthday parties and such.

    You're a good mom and what your kids are going to remember most is that you loved them. When they're all grown up they way they view you won't have anything to do with the number of big birthday bashes that they had but it will be about the quality of the time you spent with them, in knowing that they had a mom who loved them and was always there for them. Those are the truly important things in life.

  3. I hate it when my expectations and hopes don't align with my income and resources. It totally sucks.

    That being said, I'm going to side a bit with Anonymous on this; I rarely got anything more than a small, close-family-only birthday party when I was a kid, and often had it combined with other cousins. I probably had two "big" parties in my entire life and that was it. In no way do I feel like I was shorted or unloved or unappreciated.

    Love lasts. Memories of having the people around you last. Being the center of attention for a day, knowing that everyone is saying, "happy birthday!" to YOU and nobody else, that's what lasts and matters. The fluff? Meh. It'll all end up in a landfill eventually anyway.

    Pride yourself on loving your children to the utmost extent and hoping for the world for them, but concentrate on the love and the appreciation and the rest won't matter so much anymore.

  4. You all are right, so right. I just want to do so much for these little people. :( It's not like we do anything extravagant, just some food, cake, and goodie bags, and maybe a game or two for the kids. It's just we have a large family, and I want everyone there to celebrate my baby boy. Things would be so much less stressful if it weren't right after Christmas.

    I wish Tom would find another line of work. Unfortunately, he gets twice as much on unemployment than he would working 60+ hours at the places that are hiring. I don't recall my father every being laid off this much. And if I work, I'd have to quit the minute he went back as all I can get is minimum wage positions that don't even cover gas for the week. Until I find an actual career that can at least cover childcare, I won't be working anytime soon. And those kind of jobs out there require schooling or talent.

    We are very fortunate that my father's name is out there, and he does help supply Tom with side work. I am so very lucky to have parents who are willing to do so much for us. And for that I am very grateful. I just want Tom and I to provide for our children as we did before 2008. It's like ever since then we have totally forgot how to manage money. Neither of us make the wisest choices anymore. We need to figure out what we did differently then, and start living like that again.

    I used to argue with my father, that he put too much emphasis on material things, that he always acted like he needed to buy our love. I always swore I would never put so much into the stuff, the things, the places, etc, that I would do so much more for my own children, without having to spend so much money.

    I need to spend sometime with my thoughts and remember the important things you've all mentioned. The love I show and teach them is so much more important. I just want Collin to be given the same things as Thomas and Bailey, and it was really getting to me this morning...

  5. "I am the one who is supposed to give them that fun-and-friend-filled day filled with games, activities, and cake"

    Really, this is what you think your job is? No wonder kids are spoiled today. If this article were snark it would be __brilliant__.

  6. It *is* my job to make sure my kids feel special on their birthday. I do *not* have the funds to spoil my kids and they are FAR from it. So excuse me if I want to make them feel a bit spoiled on their birthday. This ended up being the most cost effective party I threw for one of my children-COMPLETELY filled with games and activities, and cake I made up with supplies from my home.

    How is that SPOILING??? What kid DOESN'T deserve a birthday cake? Or a fun time with family and friends? If you ask me any child who DOESN'T get a bit spoiled on their birthday is a bit deprived.



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