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birthday parties


Mom causes a stir after saying she won't be doing yearly birthday parties for her kid

“I just don't want a bunch of people sitting around at my house all day...”

Representative Image from Canva

Are birthday parties every year required for kids?

Parents want to do right by their kids. Make them feel special, let them have fun and give them opportunities to enjoy magic before adulthood sets in. And yet, that desire can easily be suppressed by the need to keep up with the lavish events constantly seen on social media.

For many families, over-the-top activities are simply not feasible—especially ones that come year after year like birthdays. So many are going against societal expectations and instead choosing traditions that work for their unique situation. Opting for experiences over expensive gifts, for example, or having one-on-one family time instead of parties with friends.

For Marissa Light, it looks a little more like not even doing a birthday party every year.

“Under no circumstances will I be throwing my daughter a birthday party every single year,” Light said in a now-viral TikTok video. “Here's the deal: She is getting a first birthday party, she is getting a Sweet Sixteen and she is getting a graduation party. Other than that, she is not getting any more birthday parties."

And perhaps Light isn’t totally off-base in her reasoning. According to PBS, kids don’t even remember birthday parties until after they are three-years-old. That’s essentially $400 (the average amount parents spend on their kid’s party) going towards a core memory that won’t even exist.

Light went on to say that she had been to other kids' parties which were “not enjoyable” and she didn’t want to force that experience on others unnecessarily. That being said, she added, “Now look, if you are someone who genuinely enjoys throwing your child a birthday party, pop off, Queen. Do what you want to do. I'm not telling anyone else how to live their lives. I just personally don't find it necessary and I'm not going to be doing it.”

@marissalight It’s been a minute since I’ve given you a #hotmomtake … you’re welcome. #babybirthdayparty #momsoftiktok #momtok #firsttimemom #sahm #momcontent #millenialmom #birthdayparty ♬ original sound - Marissa | Lifestyle | SAHM

But that doesn’t mean that no celebrations will be had. The family will still have “dinner and cake with them every single year,” plus their daughter would get an 'All About You' day” where she would enjoy a “special breakfast” and activities of her choosing, like princess dress up, a trip to the trampoline park, etc. And when siblings come, Light’s daughter will be able to choose whether or not she wants them included in whatever birthday shenanigans are happening. So all in all, a pretty sweet deal.

This option just feels more exciting and less taxing, Light explains. While she understands that party planning is some people’s jam, she admits “it's a lot of stress on my part to organize and plan and put on the party… I just don't want a bunch of people sitting around at my house all day."

Light’s video, as most parenting videos are wont to do, drew both heavy praise and criticism.

Many thought that her choices were depriving her daughter, and not really prioritizing her happiness. This was especially true for adults who didn’t have parties growing up.

“As someone who didn’t get birthday parties, please do that for your kid,” one person wrote.

Another added, “I never had bday parties growing up, and I was always jealous of kids in my class who got them.”

Still, others found promise in the idea.

““An introverted kid will love this. Just make sure that you're celebrating that kid the way they'd like. Not the way you want to celebrate them,” one person commented.

“I LOVE the idea of experiences, so if they want to go to a show or an amusement park for their birthday.”

Some even offered up their own unconventional non-party ideas. One parent wrote, “I just bring my kids to the park with a bunch of cupcakes and any kid at the park is included.”

Whether you can or cannot get behind Light’s take on birthday parties, we can probably all agree that our energy is often best spent doing things we truly want to do. Maybe some parents will still want to arrange a get together for their friends every year. But hopefully this conversation can at least offer some permission to do so in a way that doesn’t take a huge toll. There are so many ways to make a birthday special, after all.