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The other day my son was invited to a'fiver birthday. "A fiver what?" I remember thinking as I turned the invitation over for the 'please explain' bit on the back. Then when I read it, I realized that this is perhaps the best birthday party trend since the smash cake.

When I mentioned to a friend that my son has been invited to a fiver party, she said her daughter had been to three of these this year alone and that fiver parties are becoming a bit of a 'thing'. This was confirmed with a few of my other mom friends who said they love it when they open the party invitation and it says 'fiver party.'

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What is a fiver party?

In short, a fiver party is an end to all of our kid present-buying woes! It is simply a birthday party where all the little guests bring a $5 note to go towards a big ticket present that the parents have bought and which the child really wants.

There's no gift, no stress and no expense.

I know, brilliant, right?!

There are so many reasons why a fiver party just makes sense. Here are a few:

  • It's easy on parents. No more needing to dash to the shops to buy a present and then wondering if the birthday kid already has a rainbow My Little Pony or too much Duplo.
  • It's budget friendly. If your child gets invited to lots of parties and you spend say $20 each time on a gift, it adds up, especially when little ones start school and the ENTIRE class is invited to the parties.
  • It removes the expectation of 'stuff' from birthdays. It teaches kids that parties are about friends and having fun, not piles of presents. It also teaches them the value of saving for something that they really want.
  • It's environmentally friendly. How many toys end up in landfill after being loved for a period of time and then ignored?
  • It cuts down on toy clutter. Fewer toys mean fewer things to have to toss, give away or donate to charity when the time comes.
  • The child gets one big and exciting present that they've been dreaming about. Not lots of little cheap ones that break and have bits that get lost.

Of course, kids love presents. Even grown-ups love presents! So does the fiver party take away from that?

Well, it's all in how it's presented to the child. If your child is aware of the 'big ticket' present coming their way and understands that everyone coming to their party will be gifting it to her, instead of bringing an individual present, then you will manage her expectations while also fueling her excitement about the big gift.

How to throw a fiver party

Simply write out your party invitations as you normally would but state somewhere that this is a fiver party. If you don't have enough room to explain what this is on the invitation, you could write 'PTO' and then explain it on the back.

You could say something like: Archie is having a fiver party! He really wants a (name big ticket gift item) so instead of bringing him a gift, please pop a $5 note in a card to go towards this. He's very excited! Thank you.

Then you could either present your child with the big ticket item at the party for his friends to see what they all gave him, or you could save this for after everyone has gone home.

Also, if you think people will want to give more than $5, you could throw a 'tenner party' where guests give $10 or let guests know they can bring what they like.

I popped the $5 note into a Paw Patrol card as I know my son's little buddy is obsessed with that show. Then I asked my boy to draw his friend a picture—this was a pirate ship as they always play pirates together. I wrapped this up along with a lollypop and sheet of truck stickers I happened to have in the cupboard. Because as much as I'm on board with the fiver party, there's nothing like unwrapping a surprise, no matter how small it is, on your birthday.

Originally posted on Babyology.

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I quizzed my own mom and the friends who ventured into motherhood before I did. I absorbed parenting books and articles like a sponge. I signed up for classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and even baby-led weaning. My philosophy? The more I knew, the better.

Yet, despite my best efforts, I didn't know it all. Not by a long shot. Instead, my firstborn, my husband and I had to figure it out together—day by day, challenge by challenge, triumph by triumph.

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The funny thing is that although I wanted to know it all, the surprises—those moments that were unique to us—were what made that first year so beautiful.

Of course, my research provided a helpful outline as I graduated from never having changed a diaper to conquering the newborn haze, my return to work, the milestones and the challenges. But while I did need much of that tactical knowledge, I also learned the value of following my baby's lead and trusting my gut.

I realized the importance of advice from fellow mamas, too. I vividly remember a conversation with a friend who had her first child shortly before I welcomed mine. My friend, who had already returned to work after maternity leave, encouraged me to be patient when introducing a bottle and to help my son get comfortable with taking that bottle from someone else.

Yes, from a logistical standpoint, that's great advice for any working mama. But I also took an incredibly important point from this conversation: This was less about the act of bottle-feeding itself, and more about what it represented for my peace of mind when I was away from my son.

This fellow mama encouraged me to honor my emotions and give myself permission to do what was best for my family—and that really set the tone for my whole approach to parenting. Because honestly, that was just the first of many big transitions during that first year, and each of them came with their own set of mixed emotions.

I felt proud and also strangely nostalgic as my baby seamlessly graduated to a sippy bottle.

I felt my baby's teething pain along with him and also felt confident that we could get through it with the right tools.

I felt relieved as my baby learned to self-soothe by finding his own pacifier and also sad to realize how quickly he was becoming his own person.



As I look back on everything now, some four years and two more kids later, I can't remember the exact day my son crawled, the project I tackled on my first day back at work, or even what his first word was. (It's written somewhere in a baby book!)

But I do remember how I felt with each milestone: the joy, the overwhelming love, the anxiety, the exhaustion and the sense of wonder. That truly was the greatest gift of the first year… and nothing could have prepared me for all those feelings.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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I was blissfully asleep on the couch while my little one was occupied elsewhere with toys, books and my partner. She got bored with what they were doing, escaped from his watch and, sensing my absence, set about looking for me. Finding me on the couch, nose-level, she peeled back my one available eyelid, singing, "Mama? Mama? ...You there? Wake UP!"

Sound familiar? Nothing limits sleep more than parenthood. And nothing is more sought after as a parent than a nap, if not a good night's rest.

But Mother Nature practically guarantees that you are likely to be woken up by a toddler—they're hardwired to find you (and get your attention) when you're "away."

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