Mommy & Son Birthday party; Good or Bad Idea?

Whitney - posted on 04/07/2013 ( 2 moms have responded )

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My son will be three years old in two months; I can't believe how quickly the time has flown by! It's been just him and myself since his father and I split up two years ago. We live in our own apartment, but my parents watch him while I'm at work.
Here's my problem. I want to celebrate his birthday party with just me and him this year. I have it all planned out. I'm going to make homemade paints and an A-Frame tent with white canvas for us to paint and camp out underneath. I'm making his birthday cake, just a small one for the two of us. I plan on buying him one of those hard plastic swimming pools and filling it up, adding "fish" inside and giving him a "fishing pole". With all his favorite finger foods and snacks to munch on, plus glow sticks, flash lights, bubbles, and "lightening bug" lamps, I had planned on having a very special day with him.
The problem is, when I mentioned it to my parents, they got upset. We've had his 1st and 2nd birthday parties at their house, and while fun, it really stressed me out. They think I should throw his party at their house again, invite my brothers, sister in laws, and nieces, neighbors and friends. I should buy his cake and presents instead of making them. I shouldn't monopolize my son on his birthday and should let him have a birthday party.
Now, I don't make very much money. I want to do all those things for my little man, but I was really excited about having a celebration with just the two of us. I feel like I'm being guilt tripped into doing something that I honestly just can't afford. My parents have helped me raise my little boy these last two years, and while thankful, I just want it to be me and him.
I had thought about having a small bbq at my parents house for my son's birthday, the weekend before his actual birthday, but was told I was being selfish for not throwing an extragavant party like my brothers do for my nieces.
Am I being selfish like they said? Am I doing wrong by not wanting to throw a big party? Is it really so bad that I, a single mom who works and goes to school, just want to spend my son's birthday in a fun filled day of just him and I?

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Elfrieda - posted on 04/07/2013

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No, I think that sounds lovely! I'll bet he'll have a great time with you.

I can see that your parents want to have a say in the birthday party action, but I think a small bbq like you were thinking would be perfect for that. If you can, try to ignore their pointed comments and just react to what they actually say.

My parents are extremely excited about my children, too. When my firstborn turned one, my mom planned a big party and detailed how she was going to bake a cake, who she would invite, etc. It was hard, I didn't know what to do because I knew she was just excited, but he's MY son, not hers. I ended up saying, "Oh, that's a nice idea to have a family party for when my sister can make it. Thank you for planning that! Now, here is the invitation for the birthday party at our house. Isn't he lucky, he'll have two parties!" She ended up forgetting to come to our party (I think she did actually forget, it wasn't passive-aggressive) but that was okay with me because I was all about keeping it small anyway. I was a little disappointed, but my son didn't know to be sad, he was just so excited to see some of his cousins and aunts and uncles he didn't notice or realize that his grandparents were missing. (my husband's parents couldn't come either) Anyway, that long story to say that I stood firm in what I wanted to do without squashing my parents' ideas, and all subsequent birthdays have been much less power-struggly.

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~♥Little Miss - posted on 04/07/2013

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I don't think you are necessarily being selfish, but I understand why the family wants to help celebrate. If I was in your situation, I would have my special day with my son like planned, and have a small intimate bbq wherever you want to be so the rest of the family can celebrate also. Talk to your parents. Let them know you cannot afford this. If they want a party so bad, at their house, maybe they can help pay for it.

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