Having the “perfect” birthday party for my kids

My oldest is turning 16 this week. It’s hard to believe. I came into her life when she was 10 months old. Technically she is my step-daughter but I have been raising her since she came into my life so she is my daughter in every sense of the word. It’s hard to believe that the time has gone this fast.


I started asking her two months in advance what she would like to do for her birthday. I wanted to give her the perfect party and make it special. She told me (after hounding her for a month) that she just wanted a sleepover with her friends and then a small family party. I was disappointed. I was so excited to throw her this big party.

Then I stepped back. It’s her birthday not mine. If she doesn’t want to have a big party then she shouldn’t be forced to have one. Maybe a sleepover is her perfect party. Maybe just hanging out and spending time with her friends is the perfect way to spend her time.

As a parent I think I often try to make my kids birthdays and holidays perfect for them but did I ever stop and ask them what they truly wanted. My idea of perfect is very different from theirs. So we don’t have the huge party but she’s happy and that is all that matters.

What do your kids really want

My goal next year is to stop trying to make the events perfect. I will ask my kids what they want and stop worrying about what other parents will think of me if I don’t have a big birthday party for my kids or it’s a weird theme (like the year my son wanted a Powerpuff Girls birthday party and I told him no).

Something could still go wrong no matter how much you plan. I drop the cake or someone spills something all over. Having a big party doesn’t mean it will be perfect. So I’m going to get a babysitter overnight for my younger two and let my oldest enjoy her sleepover while I’m also getting a little mommy break. So maybe it will be a “perfect” party after all.

Not worrying about the "perfect" birthday party


  1. Jackie

    November 17, 2016 at 10:30 am

    I really relate to this. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of trying to make kids’ parties the best party ever. I think that when we do this we just set ourselves up for failure. It’s much better to just relax and enjoy these moments in their little lives. If it goes great…. Great! If one little thing goes wrong …it isn’t the end of the world!

    1. JillianGrover

      November 17, 2016 at 11:43 am

      Exactly! The kids mostly care about the presents away 🙂 They don’t even notice half the things we stress over so just enjoy them being young.

  2. Bee | Better than busy

    November 17, 2016 at 10:09 pm

    It’s so funny isn’t it that it trying to do something nice for someone else we are often doing it for ourselves. I threw a bigger party for my girl when she was 3 (about 10 kids) – it was too much for her. Now we just invite her closest little friends, it only a couple kids and they have a blast. All they are worried about is cake anyway at her age 🙂

  3. Overcoming Perfection - Doing Away With Perfect

    July 30, 2017 at 6:12 am

    […] Are you planning a wedding, dinner or birthday party? Who is the event for? The best thing to do is to ask them what they want. Maybe you are stressing about things that the person who the event is for doesn’t even care about. I wrote a post about how I always try to make my kids birthday parties perfect but never really took what they wanted into consideration. You can read about that HERE. […]

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