As if it's not enough to plan and execute an annual birthday party for each of your kids, complete with coordinating food, entertainment, decor and goody bags, now we're hearing that more and more parents are celebrating their children's half-birthdays, too. Whether we blame Pinterest for all those cute half-birthday cake ideas or the evil genius of HalfBirthdays.com, this trend is gaining traction.
At the risk of adding yet another line to the to-do list of guilt-ridden moms everywhere, we propose some guidelines. Unless birthday party planning is your passion in life, we ask that you celebrate a half-birthday under the following circumstances only—unless you're planning to help make half our dinner or clean half the house.
You blew it. Laurie Marshall birthday efforts fell short of expectations last fall, so she's making it up to her 8-year-old this month with a half birthday party. "But only as a make-up," she says, "not as an additional celebration." Many moms agree that half birthdays were celebrated only as replacements for the real day.
You're raising a summer baby. Cupcakes are serious business. That's why Jennifer Rokeby-Mayeux's parents let her celebrate her half-birthday at school. "Bringing treats to the class was a big deal as a kid," she says. We can empathize with this one.
You live in Wisconsin. Half-birthdays are BIG in Wisconsin, says Barbara Nixon. "I think it's because those with winter birthdays get stuck inside," she says. Better stuck inside alone than stuck inside a Chuck-E-Cheese with a dozen 6-year-olds. But we'll give you this, if you're a cheese head.
You're a new mom. Christine Candeleria was, like many of us, super excited to be a first-time mom. "I celebrated a half-birthday when my firstborn was six months old. Four kids later, that was the last time." We concur. The one-time half-birthday is always okay.
The Christmas clause. Even if they didn't actually adopt the practice, parents we polled agreed on the universal standard that if your child's birthday falls dangerously close to Christmas, the half-birthday is not only allowed, but encouraged.
So there you have it. Stick to the rules and no one gets hurt with a cupcake pick. Of course, we're reasonable. If you believe you have a special circumstance, please apply for a waiver.
Lela Davidson is the author of Blacklisted from the PTA and Who Peed on My Yoga Mat? Her thoughts on marriage, motherhood, and life-after-40 have appeared in hundreds of magazines, websites and anthologies.
A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.