Why You Don’t Have To Throw A First Birthday Party (If You Don’t Want To)

Cheryl Small Photography

You read that right.

And not only do you not have to throw a party but it’s plenty OK not to.

It took me a long time to come to this conclusion but the absence of big celebrations haven’t suddenly made me public enemy No.1 or a terrible Mother. The world as it turned out, didn’t end. But whilst Ored and I were both wrestling with the indecision in the weeks months that lead up to this momentous milestone, that’s exactly what it felt like and suddenly I felt myself bending under a pressure that I hadn’t yet experienced as a first time Mama (and it sucked).

The problem was that everything-and to some, extent everyone– was making me feel like we should be throwing a party. If it wasn’t friends, family and neighbours asking us “When’s the party?” Or “What’s the plan?” then it was a whole world of social media selling us a dream of super popular babies with glamorous/quirky/super cool themed parties were seemingly both sides of the family get on (I could dream) and neither parent has bags under their eyes from late night cake frosting/gift wrapping/assembling paper decorations.

And maybe if circumstances were a little different we might have had some kind of gathering, but with my family spread all over the country and a distinct lack of ‘Mummy Friends’ (I’m the first in my group of friends to have a baby and I find it hard making friends with others when the initial thing we have in common is sex) it seemed like less and less of a party. Not to mention the M word (I’m talking money) which now we’re on a single income means unfortunately, we do sometimes have to times about the cost of things.

But despite all of this I just couldn’t shake the overriding feeling that Little Ored wouldn’t actually enjoy a huge fuss. I mean I’m sure he would’ve of on some level, for an hour or so maybe, but I have no doubt in my mind he would’ve grown tired of the attention very quickly and spent the entire day wanting to be held exclusively by his parents. Cue a fight with the grandparents to comfort him when he cries for us and the whole thing seemed less about fun and more about obligation (and to everyone but the one person who it should be about- our son).

The decider? Simply thinking about what Little Ored would want to do which was the only thing that really mattered. So we thought long and hard about it and in the end we decided NO party. And once we’d made the decision and were committed to it, we felt relieved.

So what did we do instead I hear you cry? Using the money that we would’ve spent on a party, we instead used to book a cake smash and oh boy was it worth it. Not only was it a fun morning for all three of us but Little Ored had an absolute blast devouring/devastating the cake and our photographer Cheryl Small, was able to capture some beautiful memories that we’ll treasure forever.

Afterwards we had a quiet lunch and then headed home for some playtime, all three of us -which is somewhat of a rarity- with the various presents he got from friends and family. And that quite frankly was the fun, stress-free Birthday we imagine our laid back Little Ored would’ve wanted.

And so for every other parent daring to do the unthinkable- be bold, be brave and skip the birthday party if it’s not for your little one and you!


Photo Credit: Cheryl Small Photography 


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