Over Achieving Moms and Their Kids' Birthday Parties


It seems like we will never run out of areas for over achieving moms to dominate.  Birthday parties have been a recurring theme that keeps popping up from my readers.  Every week I get emails begging me to take on the over achieving birthday party moms.  All of these emails contain links that send me to over the top birthday parties - each one more outrageous than the next.  Since I've recently been called a "troll" for sending coveted page views to public blogs such as these, I will refrain from posting links to the parties (their loss).  I can say, these are all real parties and I bet with a little sleuthing you will be able to find them.

One was a whimsical Cat in the Hat first birthday where the baby has no clue who Dr. Seuss is or why it's hysterical and adorable all at the same time that he's eating green eggs and ham in a house covered (literally COVERED) in red and turquoise bunting and crepe and balloons and other Dr. Seuss-themed shit.  I think there were at least 5 different kinds of cupcakes to choose from besides the striped hat cake.  No matter how much the parents paid for a professional photographer to take pictures of this birthday, beautiful pictures can never cover the fact that the cake was melting because of the heat and they dressed the poor kid in some kind of linen one piece jumper thing with his initials embroidered on the front that will haunt him into adulthood.


Have you ever seen a party with a Marie Antoinette theme?  It's out there.  The baby was forced to wear a hat on her head that will remind many of you of those plates with bows that aunts make for us at our wedding showers.  Remember those things?  Yeah, the baby is wearing something like that.  On her head.  For real.  Not as a joke.  And a dress that looks like silk - or something equally pricey.  I don't know what horrifies me more - the fact that the mother planned her daughter's party around a queen who had her head chopped off or the fact that this mother let her daughter eat cake in a dress that probably has to be dry cleaned.  I have no idea what this party cost, but when you start buying wrapping paper that matches the theme perfectly, you've spent too much.  This party made my wedding look downright shabby.


I think the one that irritated me most though, was the hipster first birthday where the theme was centered around the baby's Eames Elephant Chair and all of the party supplies and food were "bought locally." Guests were encouraged to take Instamatic photos of themselves with mustaches (I hate those fucking mustaches) and bowler hats.  Absolutely asinine.  This party was not for a child.  This party was for a bunch of adults who didn't want to throw a gauche first birthday party.  The color scheme was charcoal, chartreuse, light blue and black.  (Who the fuck puts a black balloon on their baby's high chair for his first birthday party celebration??  These people do.)  The mom also bragged that she displayed monthly photos of the baby on a "Stendig Calendar."  Since this was capitalized I knew I was supposed to be impressed, but since I'm from Kansas and have absolutely no hipster in me at all, I didn't have a clue what the fuck she was talking about.  Apparently, it's the only calendar designed by MoMA.  Well, pardon me.  Good thing I wasn't invited to this party, I would have looked like an ass when I arrived with the party penciled in on my Lighthouses of the East Coast calendar.  (It's available at the finer Dollar Stores.)

Don't get me wrong, the idea of throwing my kid a party at Chuck E. Cheese gives me a brain bleed, but there has to be a happy medium in there somewhere.

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263 comments:

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Anonymous said...

I just booked the two hour birthday party for my 6 year old. At Chuck e Cheese. Yep, we're doing it. It's taken me a couple of days to forgive myself of this travesty of allowing these 5 and 6 year olds the freedom to induldge in games, pizza, tickets, prizes and general, well, fun. What has happened that we've become so adverse to all the great shit that we did when we were kids. I don't have a bad memory of the place; just the arrogance to think we're now somehow too good for it...

Blogger Meaniepants said...

OMG!! I cancelled DD's 6th bday b/c of behavior too! So glad I am not the only one!!!

Sarah said...

How sad is it that you can't take a joke. Must be sad boring life you lead.

ButteryMuffyn said...

My (now 12 yr old) daughter didn't have a 9th birthday - not just no party but no acknowledgement of it either. She was showing some particularly bad behaviours for weeks beforehand and I warned her if it didn't change there would be no party, she continued so I said there would be no birthday either. Nothing changed and so on her birthday there was no acknowledgement of her birthday, no cards, presents or even a verbal "happy birthday". Now she knows I keep my word. It was rough, but if you threaten something, you have to follow through, right????

Blogger Meaniepants said...

I get ya but you don't have to have a ton of $$ to do what some folks see as OAM parties. I go kind of over the top each year but I do it on a budget. I am a cakemaker so that is one expense I don't have but I do other stuff like awesome goody bags and cool rentals ..I scavenge all year to get good deals..

Blogger Meaniepants said...

someone PLEASE post the link to Marie Antoinette Party!! I can't find it!!

Sarah said...

If you are so amazing and awesome why do you post as Anonymous? Is it because of your botched botox injection or are you just ashamed because you so ugly inside that you can't show your face?

Kelli said...

I missed that, but I'm the opposite. We started my son early...kind of. My son's bday is Aug 27, and the cut off is Aug 31. He is the youngest in his class. Guess the people with kids the next 4 days didn't want to send there kids. :) My son is good in sports and does have the natural athleticism, but that had nothing to do with why we started him. Didn't even come up. He went because he was more than ready to start Kindergarten...and we were more than ready for him to go!!

ButteryMuffyn said...

My youngest turns 11 on Saturday 17 - guess I should at least think about doing something ( nope, that feeling passed).

Becky said...

lmao! I didnt' read the whole post, and I am so glad you pointed that out. That is hillarious!

ajg said...

Yup ive attended a couple of those wedding type of bday parties. Obviously for the parents so I dont feel inadequate as a mom! haha! But it was a joy for me to be a part of those celebrations. My 2 toddlers had fun too since there were some activities for them and a show. But the decorations, cakes, giveaways were absolutely amazing!

Tricia said...

I've long said that first birthday's are for the parents. "Yay! We kept the kids alive for a year!" And that is precisely what my aim was. :) Because there were some moments in the beginning where we weren't sure that would be the case. Also, since I didn't get to celebrate their actual birth (I didn't even meet them the day they were born at 27 weeks), damn skippy I was throwing a PAR-TAY when we hit 1! http://www.streamdoubletrouble.com/2011/05/29/this-party-was-brought-to-you-by-the-number-1/

I fully admit to going WAY overboard with our twins first birthday. Not necessarily gift-wise - we have grandparents who are gleefully knocking off Toys-R-Us' left and right for that...

Was it ridiculous? Absolutely. And I loved every minute of it.

Anonymous said...

I don't know which is funnier (or sadder). That someone told you your shit didn't stink, or that you believed them. Get over yourself.

Anonymous said...

Marie wasn't French. She was hated by the French because she was Austrian.

Anonymous said...

Wait, a bunch of MOMS decided it was "low class" for their KIDS to go to a party? Shouldn't it be up to the KIDS to decide if they want to celebrate their classmate's birthday? I would imagine at 8 years old, it would be about the kids and the fun they would be having, not whether or not it was COOL for the MOMS. I understand not wanting your kids to run your life in the sense that they can't do *everything* they want, but this is a friends BIRTHDAY PARTY. What a bunch of selfish idiots, to take that away from their kids.

lucyinthesky said...

Lol @ Meredith. Outstanding.

Anonymous said...

Every kid is a blessing, but my dear, you are NOT the only one who had to go thru IVF or IUI to get your babies. Get a grip and just admit you did the party for yourself instead of your kids who will not remember what you did.

Anonymous said...

Yea for twins!!!! I'm just around 3 months out from my twins' first bday and I'm getting a little worried! It'll just be family and a couple of friends but I want a cute theme. If anyone tells me I'm doing too much for them I'll probably just tell them to STFU because I, like you, went through some blood, sweat and tears to conceive these kids!

Anonymous said...

GENIUS!!!

Anonymous said...

When I was the cheerleading coach for the middle school where I teach (and agreeing to "coach" cheerleading earns me a punch in the throat all by itself), I had a mom that would drop off her cheerleader daughter AND THE 7-YEAR-OLD LITTLE BROTHER at every event. Even after I caught on to her little trick, she would wait for me to be distracted and "drop-and-run". Fucking stupid people...

Ingrid said...

I agree with you! I almost died with my second child so wether or not they will remember it, there will always be pictures for them to know what an effort I made to have that perfect party for them! Punch me if you will, but I am a proud over the top mom when ever possible! :)

Crystal said...

This article about Martha Stewart's granddaughter having a first birthday is so perfectly timed after your post last week! http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20577833,00.html

Anonymous said...

Love this! The perfect example of sarcasm.

Anonymous said...

OMG I LOVE THAT!!! I don't know any little boy that wouldn't want to get into a food fight- mine included! Might have to file that one away.....

Anonymous said...

I snorted milk through my nose reading this post....HILARIOUS.
As i scrolled down through the comments and saw what some people wrote- Holy Balls people!!! Gettin all nasty, quotin the Bible...I love it when people use the Bible to attack other people because that is sooooo the point of everything within its pages.

Yours Truly- Mackenzie

Jen, just keep on keepin on, girl!!

Ann said...

Really? You sound like a Christian to me. You probably have one of those fishes on your car and flip off other drivers, don't you? Last I checked, God doesn't like name calling.

This doesn't sound to me like the type of part that foster imagination for a one year old. There is no one year old who can have any understanding or appreciation for that type of party. The party was for the adults. Why not just admit it? What is wrong with the truth?

Anonymous said...

YES. Our babies' first birthday was this plus their baby naming ceremony, so we definitely spent more than we even would again. But we still just had the ceremony at a PUB, decorated with a bunch of stars everywhere, and had homemade cupcakes and lunch. We also knew, and this is the big one, that they would not remember it, and that it was just as much if not more for those who loved them to mark their coming into the world and the fact that we all made it out alive. :) The day before we had a Pooh Bear pizza party that cost about 50 bucks.

I don't care if you go over the top, but PLEASE don't pretend that when they are one it has anything to do with them. It is your own stuff, some sweet and giving, and some pathological. Know thyself.

Anonymous said...

And I didn't mean YOU (is mortified.) I meant the OAMs who don't know why they are doing it!!

:)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your twins!

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness.

MoMA = Museum of Modern Art

It's not a hipster thing - don't glorify ignorance

Anonymous said...

Karen, I think you'd be better off with an Anne Boleyn party.

Anonymous said...

"Marie wasn't French. She was hated by the French because she was Austrian." I LOL'ed when I read that. Best comment ever! :)
Yes, indeed. Before you use french ancestry as your reason for a party, read up on your history.

Anonymous said...

Didn't god write the constitution? Oh wait, I mean...

chrystal said...

My son is twelve and I try and make every birthday special. But alot of times in the past we have ended up at Chuck E. Cheese because he loved to go there!!! And do you know you can buy goody bags from Chuck E. Cheese and they are already put together with crap you don't want! and not even once have I forgot him there!=)

Anonymous said...

Damn! The Marie anthoniette (or howwever it is spelled) party blog was removed before I got a chance to see it...oh well, I guess it is better that way, In my head i kept reading herblogin a snoty and exagerated french accent that was driving me crazy!!!

lgr said...

You are my new hero!

Unknown said...

THAT IS AWESOME!!! I now have my next birthday planned :) There is something to be said for letting kids let loose and not trying to put on a front for all the other parents. Love, love, love it!

Layla said...

Don't get me wrong, I do themed parties for my son, had a killer "Dirty Jobs" party a couple of years ago, Army theme this past year, but I don't spend over $50 for party supplies and favors. Recently my 8 year old has been invited to 4 parties for 7-8 year old classmates that are at facilities 40+ miles away from our town. Um, no thank you. PLUS, the mothers (who I don't know outside of a few minutes when we pick up our kids at school) of some of these kids have offered to drive my son with them to the party. Um, no again! I'd need to at least see their driving record and would probably need to be sedated so I could get thru the hours my kid was God knows where with God knows who. Call me crazy. Call me overprotective. Call me one who thinks we, as parents, should not show all of our cards when the kids are so little. Save something for when they turn 12--or the kids will have been everywhere and done everything and that's where we run into TROUBLE!

Anonymous said...

Where I'm from, the 1st birthday is a big deal, so you have a celebration which is not necessarily a themed party, just a party for both adults and kids to have a good time. My plan from the get go is to celebrate 1, 5, 10 and 16 with parties. For their first birthdays, we had small get together/parties (since we were new in town). All other birthdays are a family affair - just us - we get a small cake and have some ice cream. Presents are minor things like a hoola hoop, jump rope and the kids seem to be just fine. I didnt grow up with fancy parties or presents every year and I turned out okay and so will my kids.

Anonymous said...

Wow...at least she attempted to do something of an event for her child. It sure as hell beats the cheapo themed parties you get at the party store. Heaven forbid someone want to do fun, creative things for their child's birthday. Not to mention, everyone is sick of greasy pizza places and lame airbrushed sheet cakes for dreaded children's parties. For a one year old, everyone's there for the food anyway.

Yes, I am a so-called "over-achiever parent"...I waited until I was 32 to have a baby and I'm going to dote on her and enjoy these years as much as I can.

As for that dress costing as much as your car, how's that $50 clunker running for you these days?

Ridiculous is making fun of someone because you have no imagination to do better.

rachelm23 said...

These moms are as crazy as the Elf on a Shelf moms.

deanna said...

There's actually more than a few Marie Antoinette parties out there - the kid with the bad hat and pricey dress had a WEDDING CAKE. Like, really??

Anonymous said...

I cannot seem to post the photo of the "cake" for everyone's amusement. The caption for the cake photo is hilarious:
"XXXXX's creativity with food is amazing."

Oh yes, it is just amazing the way she ripped open those plastic rappers and used her best knife (undoubtedly decorated with a ribbon to match the lovely fabrics at the party) to gently slice the swiss rolls and carefully place them on a platter.

Isn't the "swiss roll" a close cousin of "the twinkie"? So this woman sliced up some twinkie-like, shelf-life-of-100-years processed crap to serve her guests who I'm sure showed up with over-priced slats of wood labelled "toys" by some organic panic toy company?

Knock yourself out with Elmo, Thomas the Train and that obnoxious Dora the Explorer. At least that makes sense for a child's party. I'm still struggling to make the link between having a first birthday and Marie Antoinette. I may have to check my history facts here, but I always thought Marie Antoinette was a bit of a...um...gasp...whore?!?!?!?

Here is a real challenge to that OAM: next year I want you to use Edgar Allan Poe as inspiration for your kids party. Stuck for ideas? Contact me! What about The Telltale Heart? Think paper mache walls and floorboards...and a wild game of "search for the beating heart". Then, stand back with glee as children rip apart the fake walls and floor and pull out an actual heart!

Concerned about a lack of good costume prospects? No worries! Have everyone dress as Ravens! You see what I did there?

Punch this one harder, Jen, or at least a few more times.

GeebaMom said...

HA!! When I was kid there were parties at one, five and ten. The theme was presents, cake and tag. Parents did not attend. Drinks were Kool-aid. Unless the kid had a pool. Then it was a pool party.

kworthmom said...

If you were so worried about a picture of your child being on the internet, why did you post a picture of her on the....wait for it....internet?????????? I'm not sure if you're aware of this but www stands for WORLD WIDE WEB. You gave it to the world, so get over yourself.

rsrusso said...

One of our brighter ideas, in my opinion, was to give our son a choice regarding birthday parties. Have a party with a bunch of friends= small present. Have one or two friends over to do something fun = big present from Mom and Dad. And by big, I mean maybe a $100 lego set but no more. He's always gone for the playdate with the bigger present which is so much easier. And I'd much rather spend the money on a lego set or something he'll actually get some use out of then ice cream or roller skating for 20 of his "closest" friends.

Alas, we haven't had as much luck with his sister. But I guarantee she's never seen a party the likes of the Marie Antoinette one.

Unknown said...

Well, I'm definitely not going that far for my kids. I don't remember any of my birthday parties until I was, like, 7-8-9 years old (not sure what year it was). My mom used to get this party magazine that you just paid one price for 8 settings, but since we had a big family, we didn't usually invite too many others.

hardworker said...

All 1st birthday parties are for the parents. Some like to go all out. It's not a competition.

hardworker said...

I completely agree with you. I wish mom's didn't feel like the need to compete with each other. It's not a competition. Everyone should feel ok doing whatever they want to do for their kids birthday, especially the first! It sure isn't easy making it through that first year with 2 babies!!!!

hardworker said...

Loved your post! I can totally relate! I LOVE LOVE LOVE crafting too, and am kinda shocked that it's starting to feel as if some mom's are turning on crafters. I wish everyone just did what they liked and what worked for them and had fun! <3

Raabster said...

I KNEW my gut was correct! My son just turned four last month. My own mother started to pressure me to organize a big birthday party with lots of kids (we haven't had the "kid parties" yet). I told her that he couldn't handle this - didn't want him melting down at his own party - and I couldn't afford it. Plus he hadn't asked for any of this.

I took his best bud from daycare along with the two of us to McD's; the boys were so excited to ride in the van together and eat together (which they do every day at lunch), and play...so well behaved and happy! We had a cake after family dinner the following Sunday. Low key, low pressure, low cost = JUST RIGHT.

Ponypony87 said...

Ewwwww......I have thrown a 7th birthday science party that I did for about $120. I made sure things were ooey and gooey and weird looking (what kid doesn't LOVE to make their own slime and such). But that's nuts.
Oh, and yes I did the whole dress up as a scientist thing, but I actually work in a lab (just wore my labcoat from work) and cut white mens tshirts for labcoats- they LOVEDDDD it. My other big rule is no more kids are invited than the birthday kiddo's age- I don't need 20 little kids running around. Smaller group = less chaos and we can actually do fun activities :)

Millianne said...

the most impressively ott themed party i have ever thrown either of my girls is also the best kids party i have ever planned. i had the theme, so all i had to do was... print out all the pictures, design and create a cupcake stand, cover the party area in posters and the correct colours (red and pink) buy a pinata (love me some pinatas, cant have a kids party without them) and organise all the other games.... which basically consisted of a great big pile of dirt and water, which the 12 squealing kids then cheerfully turned in to mud and jumped in. the only time in my life ive ever been happy with my daughters obsession with peppa pig ^_^
ftr, the other parents loved it too. we just sat around eating chips drinking tea and coffee and watching the kids make a massive but still extremely well contained mess. peppa parties ftw ;)

Anonymous said...

oh yes i love this. So for our next kid birthday we're going to do owls with stick mustaches and chevron wings. In dr. seuss colors. And btw those stendig calendars look like quick lube stick-to-the-dash ads. There's a fine line between hip and just plain basic.

Patti G said...

Why wasn't I surprised that the Eames Elephant party was from a mom in Portland, OR? I am just about ready to punch that entire city in the throat for all their vapid hipster/chic/waldorfian behaviors!

Bheagle said...

As for the Marie Antoinette party check the site Stylish Children's Parties. Lol!

Me, being a mother of 3, we're backyard deals. Kids do not feel cheated. Bringing in the guy with snakes was adventurous enough!

Ashley Winner said...

i rather punch the parents who dont give 2 shits about their kids birthdays. some years we go all out, some years we just ask the kid what THEY want to on their special day. my oldest doesnt like cake or icecream. we still get it tho. bc its a party:) but.... I think a better post would be: goody bags filled with plastic crap. its a lose lose. the hosting parents spend money that is going to go right in the trash after that goody bag sits and clutters up places for a month, the parent just pitches it. there are so many ideas for party favors that arent expensive AND useful, PLUS, who said you NEED a party bag? actually, i wrote a blog post a while back about party bags and how I hate stepping on little green army men and how i hate party horns with a passion. want party horns? GREAT! have them at the party....keep them there. i for one, will NOT buy noise makers to send home with other kids. I am not doing that to other parents.

jade said...

All of these emails contain links that send me to over the top birthday parties - each one more outrageous than the next. - See more at: http://www.peopleiwanttopunchinthethroat.com/2012/03/over-achieving-moms-and-their-kids.html#sthash.KquvRihk.dpuf

jade said...

All of these emails contain links that send me to over the top birthday parties - each one more outrageous than the next. www.ideas4kidsparty.co.uk

Splash90 said...

In my neck of the woods, birthday parties are quite low-key. Usually either the normal cake/presents/playing outside, or an indoor playplace. We don't spend more than around $150. And this year for her 7th she opted to get her room re-done in a space theme over having a party at the space center, and the party was just like 5 kids, her grandparents and a cake.

That elephant party was super weird. I actually went and read the Wikipedia entry on "hipster" since I was unfamiliar with that lifestyle, and it is a great read!!

It took me a while to find the Marie party you wrote about, and it was not nearly as over-the-top as the 3 other parties I first looked at, which clearly cost more than my wedding. Actually I thought the pics were cute. Loved the baby dress. But that hat...WHOA! A big flower headband would have been MUCH better. What really annoyed me was the TEXT, which was ridiculously flowery and exaggerated!! "Stunning" was used many times. The "cake" which was Swiss rolls and strawberries arranged on a platter had the caption, "her creativity with food is amazing." And my favorite: "a birthday dress and hat sure to be stowed away carefully to be preserved and kept as a cherished family heirloom." TUIMMAL! (throw up in my...) Here's the link to it: http://stylishchildrensparties.blogspot.com/2010/05/marie-antoinette-first-birthday-party.html

What bothers me about the MA theme as used by the first 3 super-expensive parties I saw is that the quote "let them eat cake" (which was not actually said by MA) is a horrible theme because it captures the most extreme mindset of a self-centered and ignorant celebration of excess. These parents are celebrating the birth of their kids in a way which is setting their kids up to be selfish brats.

The person who posted about the science party featuring real owl poop is definitely the worst party thing I've ever heard!!

Splash90 said...

Forgot to include the extravagant "Eat Cake" 1st party links: http://partydollmanila.com/carinnes-marie-antoinette-themed-party-1st-birthday/
http://www.karaspartyideas.com/2012/04/marie-antoinette-let-them-eat-cake-1st-birthday-party.html

Splash90 said...

$32,000 Princess Party. The girl doesn't even look happy in the pics!! A crazy/sad excerpt:

But even this was not enough to impress young Gracie, who rejected her lavish birthday cake because the bird design was purple, not blue.
'She's a bit of a perfectionist,' Nicole explained.
The six-year-old even turned down the help of all the stylists and dressers hired to help her look the part.
'It's crazy because Gracie didn't want anyone else to get her dress,' her mother added. 'Here we had all these hairdressers and she just wanted mom.'

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1359173/Outrageous-Kid-Parties-Mother-spent-32k-spoilt-daughters-6th-birthday.html

Annunciata said...

So you scoured the web looking for people having parties you wouldn't choose to have so you could self-righteously bitch and shame them? That down to Earth normal mom bit of yours is far more pretentious than anything you write about it. You may not be a total troll, but I wouldn't want you under my bridge. Fraud.

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