I always saw myself going very big for Hunter’s first birthday. I mean she’s the little girl I have dreamed about for so many years. My only girl who I envisioned celebrating in a rather extravagant manner with a birthday party fit for a princess as we saw her reach her first 365 days earth side! I thought it would be over-the-top in every way. That I, given the chance would find reason to include every piece of carefully crafted decor and beautiful food platters suited to our well-thought out theme.
But alas, there was no theme (*gasp!!), no big party and we actually, believe it or not, spent more money the day she came home from hospital than celebrating her first birthday. (Okay maybe I should have mentioned that she came home on my birthday, but that’s neither here nor there! :))
Nonetheless it was the perfect day from beginning to end. All it included was a beautiful cake, a few bottles of bubbly, some snacks and whole lot of special friends. Later that night we had a family dinner ( a very humble but delicious Spag bol) with our extended family and that was that. My very generous friend gave us one of the most thoughtful gifts, a mini-shoot of Hunter and her cake and these are things I know I will cherish for many many years to come. I know that all the bells and whistles would soon be forgotten, but the memories of togetherness would remain in our hearts forever. Cheesy but true!
You see, besides the fact that I have learnt the hard way over the years that simplifying my kids parties makes me a better mom, it’s also so easy to get swept up in planning an OTT party for our babies when at the end of the day that money could so often be better spent on something else. Look don’t get me wring, I know how special it can be to plan the perfect party with the cutest of themes and for some there’s just no question about it: It’s go big or go home. I’m just saying that there’s often far too much pressure to put together something that looks like it’s straight form a millionaire’s Pinterest board. Is it vital or even necessary? No. It shouldn’t be the standard thing, especially for moms who feel the financial pinch after big occasions like this or who can’t afford even the basics every month. And for us, we had just come back for our first overseas holiday with the kids and had to be careful with our money considering we had three birthdays to celebrate in one month!
Knowing I saved money by throwing a simple party as apposed to an exorbitant one, meant I had money to do some shopping for things my little girl really needed. And by selling things like my breast pump and feeding pillow on Gumtree that we were no longer using meant I could have little bit of extra money to buy some things she loved, like new toys! (For bigger toys I even searched on Gumtree for things like swings and rocking horses, because how would she even know the difference??)
I guess, if there is one thing I’m learning on this journey with Gumtree South Africa, it’s that our kids don’t need big, new and fancy, all the time. Buying second-hand goods from time to time is okay! More so, there’s actually wisdom in it. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that you need to go overboard with parties, gifts and and clothing, and let’s teach our children for a young age to appreciate money and have respect for how it works.
*This post was written in collaboration with Gumtree South Africa