Why I outsourced my son's birthday party

It's a sad thing to admit that my four-year-old son has a better social life than me, but I can't deny it anymore.

All of a sudden the calendar has become filled with dates for parties, and weekends are no longer our own. Instead, we rush from one event to another, picking up last minute presents en route, and piling into someone's house where we then merrily eat our way through a variety of party foods, and indulge in a bit too much cake. 

Now, for the most part, children's parties at home are quite lovely. There are happy children, games and frivolity, and the chance to meet other parents at the same stage as you. However, on the flipside, children's parties at home also have the potential to be quite stressful, messy, and damn right painful.

Want to avoid party chaos? Outsource.
Want to avoid party chaos? Outsource. Photo: Getty

So, knowing that my time to shine in the birthday arena was approaching fast, I made a decision based on the latter observation. There was only one way forward for my son and I this year, and I'm not ashamed to say that that was to outsource. 

Here are my reasons why:

Mess

Allowing children in party mode into your house is like opening up your door and inviting in small tornadoes. Within minutes there will be scattered toys throughout every room, sticky fingerprints on all the walls and inevitable drink spillages on the nice cream carpets. Anything that isn't pinned or strapped down will be played with and investigated, and you will be finding chunks of mushed up birthday cake in and amongst the toy box for months to come.

So, not only will you spend hours pre-party cleaning up the house for the arrival of the tornadoes – after all you don't want to be judged as the mucky mum - but you will then also have to spend hours post –party cleaning up after their departure. No thank you!

Noise  

Advertisement

Children come in various volumes and some are definitely louder than others. However, the truth is, when a group of children are together in a smallish space, even the quiet ones seem loud. In fact, the quiet children are very often the first to turn into feral beasts the minute they have some party food inside them and the sugar monster sacrifices their cherubic souls.

Without meaning to sound really old, that level of noise in a confined space can definitely be overwhelming. It's hard enough to hear yourself think, let alone have a conversation with another adult. So, once again, this heralds another tick in favour of the outsourcing route.

Catering

Catering for children's parties is not as simple as it once was. Now, I'm not downplaying the parties that our parents held for us by any means, because they were great. But I certainly don't remember there being as many allergies as there are today. Neither was there the need to present food that resembled animals, superheros or cartoon characters, or provide expensive cheese platters and accompanying snacks for the adult contingent. Cheese and pineapple on a stick was as exotic as it got. 

Catering for children's parties these days is, quite honestly, a minefield and a pressure that is only added to by the likes of Pinterest. So, with this in mind, outsourcing was the way to go for me. At least that way I can, quite literally, have my cake and eat it!

Planning/Entertainment

Back in the 'old' days, party entertainment was considered done and dusted with a round of pass the parcel, a game of pin the tail on the donkey, and a good dance to some cheesy child pop on the stereo. 

But, things have changed here too. Because, now it appears that no party is complete without some kind of theme, a plethora of military organised games (in which everyone has to receive a prize), and the appearance of a face painter, fairy, or pirate.  

Now, not only can this be extremely costly, but it can also be exhausting in terms of planning and organising. It requires thought after 7pm at night (the only time any organising can be done), and multiple trips to the shops to load up the trolley with plastic fantastic prizes.

So, I have no doubt that you now all think I'm the Grinch who stole children's' birthday parties and, to a certain degree, I guess I am. However, the thing that remains most important is that my son will be more than happy this year with his 'outsourced' trampoline party.

As for me, I will personally be celebrating too in my own unique way, knowing that the party mess and stress is no longer a problem I have to face!