I don't want to sound like I am a bad mom...but when did it become a requirement that beginning at the age of 5 (or even earlier) you are expected to have a "kids party" for your child? You get to invite all of their friends from school, daycare, playgroup, or your neighborhood and pay an absurd amount of money for what? Your 3 year old isn't even going to remember it....honestly your 5 or 6 year old may not even remember it.
What made parents think this was a good idea? These parties are a pain to plan, they are expensive, and as much as you love your children...twenty 3 to 6 year olds running around after eating candy, cake, and ice cream is not on the top of my "fun way to spend a weekend list."
Brady will be five in May and he has been invited to these parties since he was three, possibly two - and has been asking to have his own "kids party" since then. I was able to avoid it for the least two years because we moved the week of his birthday last year (and I couldn't ask the people from his old school to drive an hour for his birthday party) and the year before we went to Disney in May...I absolutely want my child to have the best birthday party possible, but the cost involved just makes it not seem worth it. There are no more excuses - I think I am on the hook for our first kids party this year.
So on to the planning - where are we going to have the party???? Chuck E. Cheese - no way. Have you ever been there on a Saturday or Sunday? They have 10 parties going on at one time (I may be exaggerating, but I don't think so) and it is a madhouse there. So what other options are available? We are likely going to land on one of those Bounce places (there really aren't too many other options around here), but the prices are through the roof, in my opinion and I am sure are even more expensive in other parts of the country. They offer two plans that are only available before 5pm during the week. You can get the party room for a half hour and the bounce room for an hour for $200 or you can include pizza, cupcakes, invitations and goody bags for $300. Now if you want to have a party on a weekend the minimum you will be able to pay is $385.
Brady has preschool on Monday, Wednesday and Friday - so we talked to the parents and will probably plan it on a Tuesday or Thursday. At least that way I will be able to do the party for $300.
I am really not cheap, but we will do this party and then do a family party that will have at least 30 people. So I will be spending at least $500 (I am kidding myself - I will be shocked if I can keep that family party below $200 including food, drinks, cake and goodie bags for the kids in the family) probably more on his birthday party, before even thinking about a gift.