The Hidden Cost of Parenting

Seven gifts for the next three weeks!

Seven gifts for the next three weeks!

Of all the things I thought would cost time and money as a parent, it would never have occurred to me to factor in birthdays. Not my children’s birthdays – of course they are costly things – but the birthdays of other children.

It wasn’t a problem until this year. My daughter had maybe half a dozen close friends at nursery, my son has about the same. I like going to children’s parties – it gives us something to do at weekends and someone else entertains my child for two hours while I drink tea and gossip. Lovely.

But since my daughter started in Reception it’s been relentless. I should have realised, when we invited forty-odd kids to her party, that it would be reciprocated. And it has been. We have two/three parties every weekend for the next three weeks. Most of which only my daughter is invited to, so we have to divide and conquer on parenting, rather than taking it in turns to have a break.

And the gifts, and cards, and wrapping paper. Never mind the cost (and I set a miserly budget!), having to sit with my five year old and try to tolerate her attempts at wrapping is an exercise in patience I don’t have. Ditto writing cards and labels. “I can do it, Mummy!” yelled at volume is a common occurrence. I like wrapping gifts and pride myself on my neatness. And my ability not to tangle yards of selotape or cover it in dog hair and fluff. Some parenting tasks are above the call of duty. At least I’ve stopped letting her choose each gift. Now I buy them in bulk as part of the weekly shop.

Rumour has it it isn’t so bad in year one, when she’ll only mix with her class rather than the sixty kids across the whole year group (they have a shared classroom much of the day). I love that she’s popular, I do. But I could live without five parties a month for the next decade!

7 thoughts on “The Hidden Cost of Parenting

  1. Other people feel the pinch, too and so it does tail off. When you get to 6 you start having “treats” with just a few people. Then the numbers invited drop. Considering he didn’t even have a party last year McMini has done well on invites this year. I tend to hire a place up the road with a big lawn in the middle of summer and let them run riot!



  2. Oh my goodness…I can’t even imagine this! It’s probably because we live in a less populated area, but I don’t think I’ve ever been to a child’s birthday party (from when I was a child, or in more recent years) that had more than twenty kids at it…and those were the large parties! By comparison, my daughter’s third birthday had six kids besides her, and if EVERYONE had shown up there would only have been nine. Just the thought of having forty kids in my home, never mind having to then turn around and GO to forty other parties…I’m having nervous twitches just thinking about it. lol

    • Hehe I’d never have more than eight at home. We hired a disco/children’s entertainer and a village hall, and it was easier doing a party for forty than eight! (I shudder to remember eight four-year-olds running riot! I thought boys were noisy…) Plus I shared with anothe mum, which helped.

  3. (As an aside, I’m still reading your blog. It is permanently a tab on my iPad. I just don’t have much time to comment since going back to work after summer holidays and kids back to school. Just wanted you to still feel the love!).

    My top tips (and I will write a blog post soon)
    – little activity books and colouring books from book depository are awesome. I buy them in bulk and then let the kids choose which would suit the child.
    – I wrap in brown craft paper and let the kids go nuts with decorating. Let’s face it, it gets ripped off straight away so why have extra expense.
    – and yes as soon as you get through the first year then tend to have a ‘group’ of friends and that’s who you are invited to each year
    – oh and wait until you get to the drop and run stage! I love leaving them and having a few hours of piece! (Tends to be when there is an organised activity or at a centre type place)

    Good luck xxx

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