It was a simple birthday party request, but even that was cause for mum-shaming.

Just when I thought I’d experienced it all when it came to mum shaming, an experience I had over the weekend put me right back in it.

My eldest son turns five tomorrow and just like any mother, I want him to have a nice day.

There is actually only one day of the week where I am not working and he is not at preschool that we have together with his younger siblings and this year it happens to fall on his birthday.

Normally we have swimming on a Tuesday followed by running a few errands. But after asking him what he wanted to do, I was informed that swimming is not very birthday-ish. “I want to do something special,” he said.

Ok, I thought, I get that.  I told him that he was off the hook with swimming (and arranged a make up session with the teacher) and got to work planning what we would do.

"In terms of things you might feel ashamed of, I really didn't think this would be one of them." Image: istock


Fast forward to the weekend and I'm talking to a friend about the upcoming week. I said that I had been researching putt putt golf, indoor arcades and possibly even the movies (although the thought of this with two younger ones makes me want to sob quietly). To my utter surprise my friend said "If it was me, I'd make him go to swimming. That's what you've committed to. It's kids that get let out of everything that never follow through."

I was taken aback so I didn't really know what to say. I really didn't expect it. I just wanted my son to have a nice day for his birthday and to feel special. I had told him that we wouldn't be having a party this year so really, this was it but apparently I was setting my son up to be a quitter by allowing him the day off from his usual activities.

The app that lets you register gifts for your child's birthday party. (Post continues after audio.)

Of course I don't really care what anyone else has to say about it. I am his mother and perhaps selfishly, I would also like to spend the day doing something fun with him to celebrate but I was a little shocked at the response from others.

Am I spoiling my son by spending the day doing fun things? Sure, I'm not going to go into debt funding activities but when did it become so bad to take your kid to something out of the ordinary as a special treat on their birthday.


Maybe this mother was just having a bad day? Maybe I tapped into something sensitive with her and perhaps she wasn't able to spend the day with her child the way she wanted but seriously, shaming another mother for simply wanting to spend her child's birthday making them happy is now ok? Wow, so much for the sisterhood. It seems you can't do anything right these days.

What would you do?

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