Parents are spending HOW much on kids' birthday parties?

Gone are the days of the sausage sizzle in the park.

Planning a birthday party for your little one?

You might want to rethink the heated up sausage rolls and party pies and start interviewing stylists and entertainers stat. Actually, if you’re thinking of holding this party within the next six months, you’re already behind the eight-ball.

Cake nom nom nom (not made by me)

With reports today suggesting that parents are spending in excess of $10,000 trying to create memories for their kids (iPod shuffles in party bags anyone?) and starting the planning 6 months in advance, you've gotta ask whether its really worth it?

I've only had my little people for 3 years (I wonder if they're still in warranty?) and during that time we have attended our fair share of birthday extravaganzas. Face painters, kids' entertainers, coffee carts for parents (much appreciated) and venues that should probably be reserved for weddings only.

I've seen cakes that would not be out of place on a Masterchef baking challenge. Gift bags that would show up those handed out at the Emmys and lolly buffets that look so beautiful I'm scared to reach out for a colour-coordinated cupcake for fear of messing up the display.

I too have felt the pressure. For my son's first birthday I went all out. We hired a (not cheap) room at the local surf club (because that's apparently something you do, that, and the fact that I lived in a shoebox). I spent a fortune on matching decorations and balloons. I stayed up all night making all kinds of sweet and savoury delicacies and in complete disregard for timing or talent, undertook a fondant cake creation I had found on Pintrest at the early hours of the morning.

The stress was huge. I had been to friends parties and absolutely felt the need to keep up.


$10,000? Thats insanity, but yes, I can understand how some parents feel so much pressure to create a party as good as, or better than, their friends'.

My son's birthday party went well. All of our friends had a great time. Well most. Being the first in our friends to have children, quite a few showed up to our son's party nursing shameful hangovers. But my son could not have cared less about the decorations, the cake, the music, the venue. He had a ball chasing bubbles around the grass (total cost $1) with his friends and family.

Hooray! It's over!

So, the following year when he turned 2 things were different.

This time, I had a 2-week-old baby attached to me.

Frankly, to be out of the house was enough cause for celebration. Only family and close friends attended. There was no venue hire overlooking the ocean. We commandeered a bench down the road at the park. I shouted everyone a take away coffee (I know, I'm a giver) and we had the most relaxed morning sitting in the sun, celebrating not killing our child for another year, all the time watching him have a ball surrounded by people that love him.

I made him a cake that he thoroughly enjoyed conditioning his hair with, and we went home exhausted with happiness rather than exhaustion from being up all  night printing name labels for water bottles.

Have you felt the pressure to put on a huge party for your children?

CLICK THROUGH the gallery for ridiculously amazing cakes (that probably cost a fortune):

Want more? Try:

How to throw a splashingly splendid Peppa Pig party.

How to throw an awesome Frozen-themed birthday party.