parent opinion

"I threw a $3000 birthday party for my 10-year-old and sorry, but I'm not sorry."

Last year I threw my son a 10th birthday party, which cost me $3000.

Yes, you read that right. Three grand. For a ten-year-old child.

Unless we had 300 people there, and staged a wedding at the same time, $3K sounds like a lot of money. And it was. So this, my friends, is the whole story of why I did it.

If I tell you that my son – an only child – is the love of my life, my greatest achievement, and the best thing that’s happened to me, you won’t be surprised. That’s pretty much how most parents feel about their kids.

So when I worked out that around the same time my son was planning to have his 10th birthday party, his favourite band was playing at a major concert, I decided it might be a great chance to take him, with a a few of his mates, and make that his birthday party.

But, I’m a single mum – and I had to think about the logistics of keeping a group of kids safe in a crowd of 60,000. Unless we had just a few friends, how was I going to manage feeding them all at the kiosk, and take some of them to the bathroom – most likely at the same time – and by myself?

As it was his 10th birthday, my son didn’t want just three people – and I didn’t want that for him either. It made me wonder if there was another way. Hire a babysitter to come help?


Or… go big or go home.

I had an inspired idea. I wondered how much it would cost to hire a private box – you know, like the ones major banks and big companies invite clients to. If we were in a box, an enclosed and private space, I could keep all the kids in one area, fully supervised, and fed, and with bathrooms that weren’t accessible to the entire public, without lifting a finger myself… if the cost wasn’t prohibitive.

Of course, when I was quoted $3000 for the box, the cost should have been prohibitive – but it wasn’t because, I did some maths/found a way to justify it. For that money, we could get 25 guests, alcohol (which I could share with a couple of the parents I’d decided to invite), really decent food – and enjoy the concert in comfort, without me having to stress about anything.

And, thinking about it further, I knew from previous parties that even if we stuck to one of the most popular party activities, such as laser skirmish, it would still be about $45 a head in a party package. OK, yes, this option was more than double that, but… we’d be getting so much more.

If you think I was talking myself into it, you are right, my friends. Because ultimately, it came down to this: I deserved this party as much as my kid did.

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I’ve worked hard my whole life. I was working for my parents in their business from the age of 10. All my summer holidays and weekends – right up until I graduated from uni and got a corporate job. A few years after that, I started to work for myself. I’ve never stopped working – even when I had a baby.


I have always, always worked. And that’s been especially true in the last decade, when I’ve been a single income parent.

So when it came to spending $3000 – well, if that gave my kiddo a fabulous party which I could also enjoy because of the peace of mind, comfort and yes, the booze – then that was worth every cent to me.

So, we did it.

We had the best night; it was everything we wanted it to be. The kids had a ball, felt really special, ate and drank (and peed) happily and safely – with barely any input from me and the two other parents I’d invited to stay. It was an amazing night, and such a memorable experience. My kid was just thrilled, and as a parent, that’s all you want.

And if you’re wondering, no, none of the parents of the invited kids teased me about being “extra” – but at the end of the night, one parent couldn’t resist a comment.

“You really raised the bar,” this dad said, smiling through gritted teeth. “James wants to do the same thing for his birthday.”

Well, that’s your problem buddy, I wanted to reply, but to be honest, I was a little tipsy, and I didn’t care.

Yeah, it’s true, I could have thought of the other parents, and been more low key. I could have spent less money. But I’m also so very glad I didn’t.

The source of this story has chosen to remain anonymous to protect her child’s privacy, but is known to Mamamia.