The model and TV presenter has been slammed for hosting a 'lavish' party for her child, but when it comes to spending hundreds of dollars on kids parties, she's far from alone.
When mum of four, Bec Judd, posted pics to Instagram of her daughter’s fifth birthday over the weekend, she probably had no idea it would become headline news.
The bash was decried as being ‘lavish’, while one commenter claimed the cost of the party ‘would probably feed a hundred homeless people for a month.’
“Geez that cost you an arm and leg much??” one woman said.
“This birthday is the cutest but would (have) cost a fortune!” another posted.
Becc Judd's daughter's party was branded 'lavish'. Image: Instagram/@becjudd.
Discount supplies and homemade food
Judd hasn’t disclosed the cost of the party, but she did defend the claims of excessive spending by pointing out that the supplies were from a discount party shop, the accessories from Kmart, the cake bought from a local supplier and the food mostly homemade.
Now, I have three daughters and I’ve been hosting kids birthday parties for 10 years. I’m almost as obsessed with them as my children, so much so, I wrote a novel which begins with a horrendous fifth birthday party that changes the lives of its hosts forever.
Put on your own oxygen mask first. In other words, take care of yourself or you can't be a fully engaged parent. Parents who deprive themselves of rest, food, and fun for the sake of their kids do no one a favor. "People feel guilty when they work a lot, so they want to give all their free time to their kids," says Fred Stocker, a child psychiatrist at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, in Kentucky. "But you risk getting squeezed dry and emotionally exhausted." A spa weekend may not be realistic, but it's OK to take 15 minutes for a bath after you walk in the door. (A tall request for a kid, yes, but a happier Uno player goes a long way.) Running ragged between activities? Ask your child to prioritize, says Taylor. She may be dying for you to chaperone a field trip but ambivalent about your missing a swim meet—the ideal amount of time for a pedicure.
My book, ‘After the Party’ is a fictional story but in order to create a fully accurate depiction of modern kids parties, I carried out a market research survey of 200 parents with young children and asked them how much they spent on parties, as well as where they tended to host them. What I found was that 76 percent of parents spend more than $200 on their child's birthday party. Most people (47 percent) seem to budget for between $200-$400 per party, while about one in five parents spend between $400-$600 on a party. A small number confessed to spending more than $1,000!
Now, I don't know exactly what Bec Judd spent (and neither do the haters) but if you look at the photo closely, there's really nothing more there than some paper plates, fairy bread, fruit skewers, a cake, some balloons and LOL dolls. It's hard to imagine it costing more than a few hundred bucks, in other words, exactly what most other parents would pay.
How was Bec's party any different to this one? Image: iStock.
Was Bec being economical?
What is unusual about the party is that it appears to have been hosted at home. According to my research, the majority of parties (58 percent) are actually held outside of the home, with more than one third being held in venues that cater for special interests, such as gymnastics or bowling or trampolining. I’ve hosted both types of party, and while I can do an at-home party for about $150 (with myself as the entertainment! So much fun!) there’s no doubt that going to a venue such as a trampoline centre or bowling alley at least doubles the cost.
"Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older they judge them; sometimes they forgive them." - Oscar Wilde
Is it possible that by having an at-home party, Bec Judd was actually being economical?
We’ll probably never know for sure. But one thing is certain – and that’s the big smile on her daughter’s face.
Cassie Hamer is an author from Sydney, her first novel After the Party is available for pre-order now.