Pressure to "do something" on Birthdays


You know when you see friends, extended social circles on social networks share pictures, updates etc about them doing something fabulous on birthdays and you declare to yourself, “well, I can do better.” Something like that has been going on with me too.

My lil boy has turned 11 months and I am ready to start the countdown to his first birthday. Only, I have zero clue how to celebrate his birthday since we are in a foreign land away from friends and family. And when did it become such a thing to have massive birthday parties for one year olds? Or has it always been like that? Am I a terrible mother for not having ordered a custom garment for my boy or the fact that I haven’t started planning for the goody bags to give away?

My consolation is that right now my son can sort of mumble, “mummma” & “bubbbaaa” and not “Hey Mom! It’s my first birthday? What the hell have you planned for me?”
Nonetheless, I have duly begun to stress over the upcoming event and as I typed “first birthday parties” on Google, I landed on this page, where parents of a year old toddler spent $40,000 on the birthday bash. Vulgar amount and even more stress.

I have been told by well-wishing friends, “You’ll be creating memories for yourselves, and you can also take photos that you and your child can look back on.” Right, but who will take these photos? The daddy or the mummy? Then there won’t be a complete family picture to look back on? A professional photographer then, you wonder. It’s way too costly proposition in Singapore for a party (my estimate at the moment) comprising of 2-5 adults. Ruling out this one.

I met an acquaintance last week and I told her, “My boy has no friends.” This is true. He has lil cousins and a ton of people who love him, but friends? Um, no. This is because the dude still can’t talk, and his greatest skill is clapping his hands, shrieking when happy and smiling at puppy faces I make.

I’m trying to convince myself to not measure my love or ability to be a good mom by how unique a party I can plan/throw for the little one. It’s a hard one. But whichever way I look, getting through the ‘first birthday’ will be a tight ropewalk.

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