Whether you go all out or keep things pretty basic when birthdays roll around at home, it's impossible to ignore the trend—kids' parties are getting increasingly elaborate these days.
Just glance at Pinterest and you'll get an eyeful of customized cookies in the shape of the birthday child's face, DIY outdoor drive-in theaters and cakes that are approximately a billion times fancier than the ones most of us served at our weddings.
To each her own, though, right? Hopefully we can all agree that there's no right or wrong way to show our kids we care, so while not everyone has the knack (or time or money or desire) to make each year's birthday a bash to remember for the ages, lots of moms are loving the chance to create lavish celebrations for their kids' big days.
While Inspiration boards abound with fodder for Pinterest Moms to plan their parties, "Regular Moms" roll differently. We prefer the "retro" birthdays of our youths—birthdays from a simpler time, a gentler time, a time when planning a kid's party took roughly the amount of effort required to whip up a boxed cake mix. Here's a side-by-side glimpse into the lives of a Pinterest Mom and a Regular Mom:
Pinterest Mom: Decide on an age-appropriate theme tied to child's current interests or favorite TV show.
Regular Mom: Look in the pantry for leftover party supplies; convince yourself that your tween son would love the same Butterfly Bonanza paper plates you used for your 7-year-old daughter's last birthday.
Pinterest Mom: Send calligraphy-laden invitations to everyone in the child's class and their entire soccer team.
Regular Mom: Text an invitation to the moms of the three friends you actually like.
Pinterest Mom: Create confetti-filled balloon garland (make confetti by punching small circles from colorful photocopies of child's birth certificate). Fashion 25-foot rainbow out of streamers. Adorn chair backs with enough tulle to rival Princess Di's bridal gown. Handcraft personalized Happy Birthday banner, which is strung between two towers you constructed from Legos and pool noodles ... somehow.
Regular Mom: Hang balloons (upside-down from the strings, because you forgot to go to the party store to have them filled with helium).
Pinterest Mom: Make sugar-free candy in theme-appropriate colors to put in the piñata. Craft piñata from paper mache, crepe fringe and your own tears.
Regular Mom: Purchase several bags of candy to pour into a bowl on dining room table; immediately eat all the candy yourself in one sitting because you have PMS and party planning is really stressful and candy is bad for the kids' teeth, anyway, so shut up.
Pinterest Mom: Call to hire talent (magician, pony ride, adult in some sort of character costume). Set up several stations for Minute-to-Win-It style games, face painting and a scavenger hunt. Inflate bouncy house.
Regular Mom: Tie strings around donuts. Dangle donuts from tree branch. Tell kids to eat them without using their hands. Eagerly anticipate uploading the soon-to-be-viral video to YouTube.
Pinterest Mom: Fancy blue punch with Swedish fish suspended in the bowl to look like aquarium. Cucumber slices cut with flower-shaped cookie cutter. Dum Dum sucker topiaries. Crumbled chocolate dirt with gummy worms. Something with the word "funfetti" in it. Grape kabobs that look like "The Very Hungry Caterpillar." Jell-O jigglers carved into the shape of the Taj Mahal.
Regular Mom: Seriously? Aren't you kids full from all those donuts on a string???
Pinterest Mom:Bake multi-layer cake in a novelty shape appropriate to theme; decorate with things like fondant, edible glitter and citrus twists. Make a few dozen coordinating cake pops to decorate cake's display table.
Regular Mom: Stop to pick up a cake at the supermarket bakery on the way home from work. Leave it on the kitchen counter until it gets a little droopy, but figure the kids won't mind—chocolate is chocolate, right?
Documenting the occasion
Pinterest Mom: Build a photo booth complete with theme-appropriate backdrop, frames, accessories, funny hats, masks, props and the requisite mustache-on-a-stick.
Pinterest Mom: Fill hand-stamped canvas bag with more art supplies than most people buy while back-to-school shopping, bubble wands, crayons you made from melting old crayons, a CD mix of the birthday child's favorite songs, and several hundred-dollar bills folded into origami swans.