The Brutal Truth about Birthday Parties

You know those memes that poke fun about how differently you parent your first child to any subsequent ones? They are all true.

The brutal truth about birthdays

And it’s never more evident when it comes to birthday parties. 

When my first was the only little person on the scene, I played birthday party like a competitive sport with the Pinterest boards to prove it. I once made a huge cardboard Lightning McQueen that could sit two children. There were weekends of spray-painting and modge podge. That thing was awesome. My game has nose-dived.

Does this makes sense to you?

Does this makes sense to you?

My youngest is lucky if I remember his birthday.

Here are the key differences…


My eldest’s parties were planned months in advance, Pinterest ideas were gathered through out the year and numerous themes were discussed. Now, my eldest is likely to point out that his younger brother’s birthday is coming up and shouldn’t I do something about that. Normally a week or so out.


I used to hand-craft invitations, on theme and pretty enough to ensure that they would have pride of place on the fridge. Now I send panicked emails (see above). But they are to the same people who used to receive pretty fridge invites because my youngest’s friends are all just my eldest’s friends siblings. I was too lazy to get new friends for the smallest one.


I used to have birthday parties at our house. I have recovered from that insanity. All the youngest boy’s parties have sensibly been held at local parks with a BYO marquee so that I’m not fighting 5am Grandpa for the best spot. It’s always Grandpa doing the spot minding, looking bewildered and reading the paper.


Oh man, the decorations I used to make. Flying dragons. Octonaut seascapes. That fine, fine car. You know what’s great? A few balloons from Spotlight. I don’t even buy the helium anymore.


Why did I even try to get two year olds to play pass the parcel? At my youngest’s third birthday party we had a treasure hunt (and all the older kids found everything and left the younger ones in tears) and a piñata. The older kids belted the piñata, belted each other, narrowly avoided the toddlers and there was an almighty scrum as all the lollies fell out. Totally appropriate family fun for a three year old’s birthday party.

Party Bags

Kids won’t leave without a party bag in hand, but who wants a kid sent home with a sugar top-up when they are already high as kites? I have discovered the best party favours are those $1 bubble wands. Cheap, parents are happy, kids are happy and it takes zero effort.

Cake (and candles)

I can honestly say that cake has always been beyond me. I’m just not great with the whole baking thing. I used to out-source and then moved on to buying cake from Woolies and topping them with on-theme cardboard cut-outs. For my first born, buying the candles would be a carefully thought out process. For my youngest’s third birthday party I just grabbed the candles in the drawer and assumed they would be fine. I did not realise that they were actually the trick kind that re-light. My poor boy didn’t have a chance of blowing those suckers out. And I still think it’s hilarious. Mother. Of. The. Year.

The cake

Blogging about it

My youngest had his birthday party more than two months ago. Enough said.


Arrow 2

Has your party game plummeted since your first child?


Linking up with Kylie Purtell – Capturing Life and IBOT 

26 thoughts on “The Brutal Truth about Birthday Parties

  1. Amy @ HandbagMafia says:

    My eldest had a jumping castle for her first birthday. A small party, home made cake and kids to play with. 10 year later, baby 2 arrived. Her first birthday involved a theme (farmyard), two tier cake and cupcakes (white fondant with black splotches- cow print and yes, homemade!), around 50 guests, a petting zoo and pony rides. The invites were designed by my husband (graphic designer). I think I went backwards!
    Amy @ HandbagMafia recently posted…The 7 People You’ll Meet on Public TransportMy Profile

    • Robyna says:

      That’s exactly it isn’t it? As long as there is cake, presents and other kids, the birthday boy or girl is happy. And a less stressed mum makes for a generally better time on either side of the birthday party.

  2. Janet Camilleri aka Middle Aged Mama says:

    LOL I love this! When did we as a society become so precious about parties?! My kids each had ONE themed home birthday party: 5th birthday for Mr 22 (pirate party), 6th (as we were travelling Australia and away for her 5th) for Miss Almost 20 (fairytale party), and we went all out for both. The only difference was I actually made a pirate cake for our boy; little Missie had a Woolies cake. Other than that, it was Hungry Jack’s, 10 pin bowling, a couple of friends for a sleepover – very low key! (you can see a couple of pics from the pirate party here:

    visiting from #teamIBOT x
    Janet Camilleri aka Middle Aged Mama recently posted…The Butler’s Pantry: Yay or Nay?My Profile

  3. Bec @ Seeing the Lighter Side says:

    Ha ha, yep! Our parties this year – for the first time – have either featured a hired entertainer at home, or we’ve gone to an indoor playground. I don’t think I’ll be going back to doing the whole thing myself any time soon!

    • Robyna says:

      Getting help is definitely a good idea when it comes to parties. I feel laser force is likely to be in our near future as the kids get older.

  4. Melinda @ United States of Mama says:

    Solidarity sister! I have one ‘good’ party in me per year- this year it went to the youngest. I handpainted and then stuck with glue (that’s crafting in anyone’s language) about 50 pegs and sticks together to make small Dusty Crophopper planes (from Disney’s Planes) and spent about 10 hours going to different supermarkets to get the ‘right’ character planes ensemble for the cake. I even made individual popcorn bags and water bottles including colour printed name labels. Older daughter’s is in a month. I’m just going to throw M&Ms and Shopkin toys at them. Game over.
    Melinda @ United States of Mama recently posted…How to teach your child to ride a bike in 7 steps.My Profile

    • Robyna says:

      There really is a limit – I guess my youngest should probably win out soon. He is unfortunately born around the school fete time and that generally takes the lion share of my creativity. That Dusty party sounds awesome but they are likely to be just as happy with Shopkins.

  5. Min@WriteoftheMiddle says:

    Hahaha – yes that is a familiar story!! My daughter is continually pointing out how many more photographs there are of her elder twin brothers and how many more fancy cakes I made for their birthday parties. I was the eldest so I was the fortunate one who got the parties and the pretty cakes! There’s a nice bonus being the eldest child!! Nowadays I’m pretty slack with all their birthdays LOL I buy the cake and if they want takeaway for dinner I’m fine with that. They do have a choice of dinner though and if they want a roast dinner or something similar – I’ll do that too. We’re so full of good intentions to start with! LOL 🙂 xo

  6. Denyse says:

    Oh yes, lots of familiar instances here. However, I must add with a 7.5 year gap our kids did pretty well in the birthday stakes and always at home. I know!! I liked doing birthday parties actually. But it was always simple stuff with pin the tail on the donkey, eating donuts off string. Never hired anyone. Mind you, I was always EXHAUSTED afterwards!! My mum often was the cake maker/decorator from the AWW Children’s Birthday Cake book. Denyse #teamIBOT
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  7. Nikki@Wonderfully Women says:

    Not in this house……I took it up a notch every year for both of my girls because I just love doing it and with one born in January and one in July I had a 6 month recovery between each one. BUT that run has just come to an end….I have just hosted my last party at home for Miss WW 17th, as there is no way I am doing an 18th at home and dealing with alcohol on top of everything else.
    Nikki@Wonderfully Women recently posted…Give A Bag Of Hope This Christmas! #itsinthebagMy Profile

  8. Tash @ Gift Grapevine says:

    Bahahahahaha – yes to this! That Lightning McQueen is mighty impressive. I painted a giant Muno (Yo Gabba Gabba) to play “pin the eye on Muno” for Miss T’s themed party (at home). I even mixed the paint so I could get the correct shade of orange! As for Mr TT? I’m staying away from Pinterest. As long as there’s party bags and chocolate cake, he’s happy with whatever we decide to do.

  9. Eva @ The Multitasking Woman says:

    I haven’t come to having to plan a party for my youngest yet but I know for sure that I will not be going to all the effort I did with my eldest. Actually, I think I’m going to be smart and pay my sister in law, a professional party organiser, to do it for me! I think that’s a smart move!

  10. JF Gibson says:

    I’ve always been pretty lame on the birthday party stakes if you compare me to some other mums out there. I always do a good cake, and the kids mostly like just simple party games. And now they are getting older, it’s sleepovers! Easy peasy!
    JF Gibson recently posted…Why I IBOTMy Profile

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