Posted by / Category London /

I feel older and none the wiser. Not to mention the fact that I am exhausted. Tough life
The reason: I have had to organise my daughters’ birthday parties (I am very organised: they are born the same day).
When I was younger (no, not that long ago, but I might be in denial), for birthdays we used to share a home-baked cake with a couple of school friends. Well, those days are gone. Peer pressure is strong and, over the last few years, birthday parties I have had to take my daughters to have included:
          Full makeover party;
          Climbing party;
          Renting out a cinema (Yes, a whole cinema);
          Fireworks in west Essex;
          Action Man themed party…
The list is far from being exhaustive. In short, to keep up with the Jones’, you must either:
          Have deep pockets
          Think outside the box
And if you have both, it doesn’t hurt. I am trying hard to keep the budget under control, which basically means that I have to work harder and try to find original parties’ ideas. Also –Shame on me!-, I don’t hesitate to share birthday parties with other classmates. My daughters don’t resent me too much (yet). You also have to prepare party bags & birthday cakes. It is a job. There are party planners in London.
This birthday party pressure must be specific to this country. I am not aware of anything of the same scale elsewhere. Quite the opposite. A British friend of mine living in Paris was going to a Star-wars-themed birthday  party and took the metro to get there, with her son in a Darth Vador costume and her dressed up as princess Leia. People thought that they were barking mad. No-one understood why you would dress up like that for a birthday party. She felt ashamed. No one would have blinked over here.
Where does this pressure to do something extraordinary every year come from? When did everything change? Why didn’t I see it coming? Our little darlings must now feel loved, valued, entertained…And us parents have to work, pay and shut up.
Tough life, as I said. I might be a bit jealous…
Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London