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Lifestyle Maryland Family

Scary Mommy's birthday-party pet peeves

We asked Baltimore-based blogger Jill Smokler (aka Scary Mommy) to share her birthday-party pet peeves. They rang a bell with us. How about you?

My daughter turned 10 last month, and as a present to me, she did not have a birthday party this year. What a kid, huh?!

I couldn’t have been happier when she shared her vision of a few girls sleeping over, a movie and maybe some karaoke with me. No formal invitation? No goody bags? No endless list of kids to invite? Hallelujah!!! Happy birthday, indeed!

I wasn’t always such a grinch, you see. At one point in my life, I actually enjoyed throwing my children birthday parties and was even guilty of going majorly overboard with them. But with three kids, the whole party thing got old. And it got old fast. I quickly discovered that other than the obvious pro of making my kid happy and all, there’s just not all that much to like about birthday parties.

Whether it’s throwing one or attending one, here are my top birthday party pet peeves ...

All those kids
In an effort to not exclude anyone, it’s customary to invite the whole class — or sometimes even the whole grade — to each and every party. There’s a reason I have three children, not a dozen, and that’s because I can’t deal with more than three kids at once. Those who can, teach.

The location
During the unfortunate winter months during which my children were born, mothers usually turn to one of the bounce zones or even — gasp — Chuck E. Cheese’s. Not only are those venues loud and reeking of feet, but they can also cost a small fortune. I’m no mathematician, but something just doesn’t add up there. However, those parties are far better than the alternative of ...

The home party
Even worse than paying to host all of those children at a venue is hosting all of those kids at the home you take pride in, a lesson I’ve learned the hard way. (Five times.)

Painful small talk
I can think of a million things I’d like to do for two hours on a Sunday afternoon, and none of them include making small talk with parents I don’t know.

Goody bags
So after paying to entertain a slew of kids for the afternoon, we have to send them home with parting gifts? Whose genius idea was this?

Lack of RSVPs
Just as certain as death and taxes is the fact that the majority of people will not respond to a party invitation.

The unexpected guests
It’s bad enough not to RSVP to a party and not show up. It’s another thing altogether to not RSVP to a party and then show up. Were people raised on Mars?

You say it’s your birthday? Again?
Funny how the days with young kids can be endless, but the years between birthdays fly by in a blink. So this year, as your little one is making a wish over his or her candles, make your own wish for no party next year. It’s the best present you could ask for.

You can read more Scary Mommy posts at

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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