When dad plans the party

Dads as good as mums at planning birthday parties.
Dads as good as mums at planning birthday parties. Photo: Getty Images

It may not happen often, but it does happen. Somewhere out there right now, a dad is planning a birthday party for his child.

Yes. A dad.

While it's true the party planning usually falls under the domain of mum, some dads have been the ones to roll up their sleeves to make the fairy bread. And as we discovered, they actually do a fine job of it too.

Meet Bentley Gallen, single father of six kids aged between one and 12. He has planned, organised and executed every party for each of his children so far, bringing his total to 30. He did it even before he became single. Why? Because he loves it. "Watching their faces light up on the day makes it all worthwhile." Gallen says.

Every party has been held at home and has had a theme, usually chosen by the child. He's done it all, including the popular Frozen party for his daughter Abbey's 2nd birthday.

"My favourite party would be Hugo's 11th birthday," he says. "Which was Monster Truck themed. It was particularly fun researching different ideas for this party."

At the other end of the scale, meet newcomer David Hawkins who was recently put in charge of his sons 2nd birthday party.

"My wife was concerned when she had to hand over the control. She asked me if I could take it on, as she would be away for work, and then began listing all of the females she knows who could help me out. Let's be honest, mums have a very low expectation of dads."

So what did Hawkins do with this huge responsibility? "I took the challenge on like a man; I went over the top. There was a crazy amount of creative, animal themed food. Most everything was homemade. I even cobbled together a few party games ideas."

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Not only that, but Hawkins did all of this with an eight day lead time and managed to write about his experience every single day on his blog Big Kid Little Kid.

So what's the expectation from other parents when they attend an event organised by dad?

Pretty low, Hawkins admits. "I could probably have just put out a bottle of tomato sauce and gotten praise, because that was more than anyone was expecting!"

Gallen agrees, saying that most people tend to expect the mother to be able to better plan a party, as it is assumed they have more idea of what the kids are into.

Peter from single parenting site Dads Online thinks the pressure to perform is actually the same between mums and dads, as it comes down to your organisational skills as a person. "It's about planning in advance and keeping it fun and not overcomplicating it. Kids will be happy with whatever you pull together."

What other advice is there for planning the big event?

Party entertainer Pokey the Clown, aka Shaun, says to do something simple for food such as a BBQ, as it is hard to entertain and cook at the same time.

Gallen says to let your children be involved in the party planning as much as possible, and always have a Plan B just in case of bad weather.

"Last but not least," he says, "Always have a positive attitude … not everything will go to plan!"

So there you have it ladies, next time you're planning the birthday party ask dad for help. They just might have a hidden talent for it!