Parents today, including me, plan joint birthdays for the same reason our mothers did. It’s not only cheaper, but also much more convenient than throwing two. This year was the first time I had to wrestle with the decision to plan one or two birthday parties.
Two Birthdays, One Party
On April 14, Collyns celebrated her first birthday and Cohen will turn four years old on May 3. It was an exciting time to think about, plan and organize, but there were a number of factors that I hadn’t yet considered. I now realize that I definitely did not plan early enough! Before I even realized time had passed so quickly, it was April and I hadn’t begun planning even one of their parties. I had been so caught up in making Easter plans not to mention work responsibilities. Time just slipped by.
After consulting with numerous family members on potential dates, we decided to have the party on April 25. With Collyns only turning one, she wouldn’t care what day we were actually celebrating. April 25 was only a week away from my son’s actual birthday, so my husband said, “Let’s have a joint birthday party. Isn’t that easier?”
A Difficult Decision
The short answer was yes, but it was Collyns’ first birthday. Should we really celebrate her birthday and Cohen’s together? I mean… was I cheating Collyns out of her first birthday experience? She is my last baby and this would be her one-and-only “first birthday.” Would she someday be upset that we didn’t recognize it as the big milestone that it should be? Sure… she wouldn’t know, but looking back at pictures she will realize we didn’t throw her a birthday party of her own.
The question simply came down to: “Did it matter?”
I sure hope not.
Making It Their Own
We did ask Cohen if he would mind celebrating his birthday with his sister. He didn’t mind so long as he got his own presents to open and there were two separate cakes. The decision had been made and I began planning a joint birthday party themed “Paw Patrol” for my one-year-old and soon-to-be four-year-old. I, of course, wanted a pink and sparkly theme for my little princess’ first birthday, but Cohen was not to be dissuaded. He wanted to celebrate his fourth birthday with Marshall and the pups from “Paw Patrol.”
Now, my husband does have to caution me every year to not go over the top with my party planning because the kids are still young. However, I can’t help but wish that we could be the party planners with the giant bounce houses, farm animals and circus rides. I have to remind myself that there’s always next year!
With that in mind, I was feeling stuck as I began to plan a low-key party for both of my children. I couldn’t help but feel kind of guilty. I made sure to order two separate birthday cakes, a “Paw Patrol” cake for Cohen and the second, a cute little Cat Smash cake for Collyns. It was in this moment that I couldn’t help but wonder why I didn’t plan ahead. Her first year had completely flown by and here I was standing in line at the grocery store, two cakes in hand, unable to believe that I was the mother of a one-year-old and a four-year-old.
The Greatest Birthday Gift
I realized that regardless of how we celebrated this occasion, both of my children would be showered with gifts and love from our friends and family. We made a point to give each of them their cake separately, singing the “Happy Birthday” song twice. I was left pondering these questions: Does the theme of the party really matter at such a young age? Does sharing a celebration with your sibling truly take away from the special occasion? I realize that each of us needs to feel special, but a celebration with friends and family makes everyone feel loved and cared for. What more could a parent ask for?
Babies & Toddlers
In addition to the time I devote to being a mom, I also work full-time outside the home, which means my day is hardly ever as simple as nine to five. With an all-too-established schedule, as soon as I walk through the door, my day doesn’t end, but rather just begins. It’s a balancing act, especially with two children, but being a mom is one full-time job that I never want to quit!