Birthday Party Question


Hi Brain and Heart friends!

I’m a little hurt and angry at my mom right now. I have a big birthday coming up and she asked if I wanted a party. I told her I’d love one, but I don’t want to have anything to do with planning or hosting one. I’d like to be at a party I can just relax and enjoy, without a bunch of expectations or responsibilities being placed on me. So the first thing she does is ask for a list of who I want to invite. Ok. Um, this kind of falls under the “planning” umbrella, but fine, I will list my friends who I’d like to be there.

I also tell her, I’d like it to be a game party. I’d like tables set up and a variety of games that people can grab and play if they want. Nothing organized, just the option being there. The next day she comes to me and says “Here’s the thing. If you’re the guest of honor at the party, then you have to mingle and talk to people and you can’t do that if you’re playing games.”

So I told her that if she’s going to put conditions on me on how I enjoy my own party, then why is she throwing it for me? I told her what I’d like to do, to enjoy my party, so if she doesn’t want to do that, then don’t throw it. She said fine, she didn’t want to throw it under those conditions.

Now I’m upset. I’m feeling guilty because she’s upset that she can’t throw the party she wants. But I’m also upset that I have to justify how I want to celebrate my birthday. Why can’t people come and talk to me? Why do I have to conform to this social convention that the object of the party has this social responsibility to mingle? And for that matter, why does she assume I would be playing games the whole time? That’s not exactly likely. I HATE mingling and small talk. I find it boring and difficult. It is literally the LAST thing I want to do at my own birthday party.

Am I being unreasonable? Or do I practice being kind to myself and stand my ground? I would like a party to celebrate, but I’d resigned myself to not having one because I didn’t want the stress of planning one and cleaning my house and hosting.

So my choices appear to be, no party, throw my own party the way I want (with all accompanying stresses), or accept my mom’s party, which I feel will not be much fun.

So, I’m just frustrated and sad and hurt and angry, and I could use some advice or solidarity or something. I don’t know.



Jessica has a great video which I watched this very morning on how to enjoy xmas. It’s an old one, can’t remember the title but its in a holiday playlist of 6 videos. It fits your circumstances pretty well even though this is a birthday.

And it basically says that doing it your way is the way to do it, so you can at least be proud of that!

Furthermore, there may be a fourth option:

You make a small list, basically the two or three points you put on here, and you talk to a trusted friend about how to spread this around. Not just the invites but the work.

Do your family and friends usually bring gifts to such an event? Then they should be able to go with this idea. Instead of a normal gift, they pick a specific task or item from the list your trusted friend makes, based on your overall plan. If the friend wanta a few more pointers, maybe you could use this as an excuse to have coffee together while he/she notes down a few of your favourite games, fave food and drink.

The friend also works out where would be big enough to host this without any one person getting stressed out. Is there a local community centre that is fairly cheap to hire and already has tables and chairs? Can you be flexible about the date, even though it’s to mark your birthday?

On the day itself, everyone brings the thing they promised. Everyone will love you for not making them think, just deliver this one small thing. And the person who just made a list and got people to pick an item will be praised for their wonderful organisation. Bonus!

At least, that’s pretty much what happened when an international house move got put into our schedule a few days after the wedding date we had picked a year before. We were also both studying and finishing off those courses in the weeks before. We already had 2 households full of stuff to pack up and all we had was a venue and a list of food and drink we planned to have. We buried our heads in the sand for a bit, not knowing how on earth we were going to deal with this now that we also had the move to deal with. Then people started to call us, saying they felt uncomfortable about our instruction not to buy us more stuff (going to a wedding is already expensive with clothes and travel, and we really did already have too much stuff! And the main thing was that we wanted them to be there!)

So anyway, this masterplan of delegating stuff just kinda evolved. One person brought ice cream, in summer, they organised the cool boxes and everything! One person brought plastic buckets and filled them with water to cool the drinks (which we had already bought while on holiday). We wanted to serve Pimms with all the trimmings, but that’s a real hassle… Except it wasn’t, because one person bought and sliced the cucumbers and someone else brought the mint, etc.

So by accident, we found out how to make it all happen after all, and couldn’t believe it when people called this ‘organisation’ - we thought we were just trying to rescue our party from disaster without doing any of stuff ourselves, and if people hadn’t called us begging us to let them buy a present this never would have happened.

However you spend your birthday, and however you celebrate it, I hope it’s lovely :kissing_smiling_eyes: