birthday partyI’m completely grateful that my daughter turned nine a couple of weeks ago. But, truthfully, I’m still recovering. Planning birthday parties should be fun, especially if they are for your own children. But to me, planning a birthday party is one of the most difficult tasks in the world.

I booked a place where two instructors would teach the 30-plus kids that I invited to sing and dance. Booking the place was the easiest part in the world. It was everything after that that was the biggest pain in the ass.

First off, you have to get every child’s parent’s e-mails and then send out the invitations and make it CLEAR the day, the time, and the location. This can take hours (at least it did for me) because my daughter has friends from school, her old school, family friends, and camp friends. Then, once you send out the e-mail invites, without a doubt, a few bounce back saying, “invalid address.” So I made a mental note (always a bad idea) of whom I had to call. Then you wait for the RSVPs, some of which come immediately, some don’t come for days, and some don’t come until two days before the party. Then I had to run around and buy loot bags, which was difficult because after the 15th RSVP, I just gave up keeping track of who was coming.Then, of course, the day before the birthday party, you need to make sure your child gets a good night sleep, because you don’t want them to be in a bad mood for their own party, which also is almost impossible, since they are so excited.

But all this is nothing compared to the actual day of the birthday party.

The day of the party, before I even woke up, I received e-mails from people who could now come, people who couldn’t now make it, and even one from a mother who said, “My daughter didn’t receive an invitation.” This e-mail was from a mother in my daughter’s class, who of COURSE was invited (I invited her entire class.) But, when I thought about it, she could have been on my list of people to call, because her e-mail bounced back and I never got around to making those calls. Oh, and then I also had to order a cake, which I did, but had to pick it up, along with ordering pizzas to arrive at a certain time. Then, of course, because it did seem that at the last minute, more people were coming, I realized that I didn’t have enough loot bags. And as we all know, kids love loot bags, and to them it’s like the best part of the party.

So not only did I have to order the pizza, pick up cake, get my daughter dressed, I had to go out and buy more loot bags. Not to mention buying paper plates, forks, cups, apple juice and decorations.

Then, once everyone arrived at the birthday party, I was handed EpiPens and asked questions like, “Is the cake nut free?”

Listen, I don’t want anyone to DIE at my kid’s birthday party, so these questions like “Is the cake nut free?” are kind of important. So, picture me, madly calling the cake store to make sure there were no nuts and also sweating profusely at the thought of having to administer a needle. Then some mothers, who were only to happy to boot the hell out of there as soon as the party started, threw me their phone numbers…in case something goes wrong.

The party went off without a hitch, but it took me three days, in bed, to recover.

We do these birthday parties because it makes our kids happy. But, let’s be honest. How many of your kids actually thank you for the birthday party afterwards? It would have been nice to hear, “Thank you mommy for booking the place, sending out all the e-mails, running around like a mad woman picking up cake, plates, cups, extra loot bags, ordering a pizza, and making sure I was in a good mood!” But, birthday parties don’t END at the end of the birthday party. You still have to open all the presents, find somewhere to store all the presents, and debate sending out thank you cards (which is not going to happen, because mommy is too exhausted.)

My daughter did say to me, the day after her party, “What are we going to do for my party next year?” I just sighed and said, “Let me sleep for three days and we have more than 350 days to think about it.” And that day, well, let’s just say, I can wait. Maybe in 365 days, I may be ready to throw another one. Maybe.

(photo: Dmitriy Shironosov/ Shutterstock)