I’m not sure when it started – this trend of over-the-top extravaganzas for children’s birthday parties. Probably around the same time Pinterest turned wedding planning into a torturous dark journey of the soul.

But the trend seems here to stay. Kids’ birthday parties featuring Duncan Hines’ plain vanilla cake served straight out of your mom’s well-worn baking pan are long gone, replaced by stunning unicorn cakes covered in edible glitter, made with organic flour and sporting horns of hand-baked, hand-shaped waffle cones.

Today’s parties boast color-coordinated decorations, animal entertainers, professional photographers, a photo booth or two, and maybe even live unicorns.

But listen, you don’t need monogrammed party favors to make it a special day. You don’t need hand-dipped glitter balloons, a gourmet taco bar, a red carpet (yes, “red carpet” kids’ parties are a thing – Google it) or a full-size ice sculpture of a unicorn. You don’t need to carve a watermelon into the shape of a Power Ranger or commission an inflatable entrance made in the likeness of your child’s face (looking at you, Kylie Jenner).

I’m only five years into this parenting gig, but the best party we’ve thrown so far was for our oldest. It was so simple. We ordered way too much pizza and grabbed a Mickey Mouse cake from H-E-B. (It even came with plastic characters on top! Success!) Our one splurge was that we rented a bounce house, and that stretched me to the edge of my birthday party hosting limits.

But it was glorious. The birthday boy had such a great time, he even forgot all about his potty training and pooped inside the bounce house. As unpleasant as it was to clean bodily emissions out of a plastic enclosure that had been sitting in the Texas sun for five hours, I was proud.

I organized a perfectly average party that my son loved so much, he pooped himself. #momgoals

Carrie Taylor is a freelance writer, editor and mother of two boys.

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