When I first became a mom, I loved birthday parties because that meant a chance to socialize with other moms, see my kid have fun and shop for cute party gifts for the birthday boy or girl. I threw myself into preparations for my oldest’s birthday parties with the same amount of enthusiasm that I planned my wedding! Adorable favors, adorable invitations, a cute, custom-made cake, a fun theme…OMG, what an incredible waste of money over events he doesn’t remember! Now that my oldest is turning 9, and we’ve added two more kids into the mix, I’d seriously rather do just about anything than stand there like an idiot at the jumpy places where everyone has their parties, while my kids ingest gallons of orange cheese balls and fight over which one of them got the best loot in their party bags. With another party coming up, I’m tempted to bribe my kid with $500 (the cost of the party place, cake, party favors and gifts for him) just to pass on his big bash. And to make matters worse, he wants a sleepover!!