Welcome back, Rad Dad! It’s almost here! We’re one step closer to the big 1-year milestone. If you haven’t started planning something, that’s okay. There is a lot of pressure on parents to throw some sort of spectacular birthday extravaganza. It’s understandable—a first birthday only comes along once. The most important thing to remember is that it’s all about bringing family together to celebrate life and your little budding toddler’s accomplishments in their short existence. That can mean a big get together at a rented hall for some families, a low-key barbecue for others, or even a small gathering of your closest friends and loved ones. Your 1-year-old is going to feel special as long as you’re there to celebrate with them and show them love.

Throw the Perfect Party for Your Family

For my oldest daughter’s first birthday, we went all out. We had an Alice in Wonderland themed party where the kids were all invited to dress up (some parents decided to, too!), paid quite a bit for decorations and a (delicious) cake and cupcakes, and had to provide food for more than 30 people. It was a blast, but it was incredibly stressful. We were on a budget, so with the help of a few family members, we provided all of the food and cooked it on the spot.

All in all, it was a success, but I felt like I was running around so much (or stressing too much beforehand making sure everything was right) that I hardly had time to enjoy it. I’m glad we got to have an elaborate first birthday experience, and I’d do it all over again, but for our next party, I’d definitely make the gathering a little more low-key. Remember, the memories you make on these occasions are for you—your kids won’t remember it, but they’ll stick with you forever and always.

The moral of this story is to do whatever feels right for you and your family, and you won’t have any regrets. Shower your soon-to-be 1-year-old with love however you can, and it’ll make them happier than any expensive gift or grand birthday party. If that love looks like a few cupcakes at home with loved ones, make it happen.

Getting Physical

Your baby (who is hardly a baby anymore) is probably at the age where they like climbing, wrestling, jumping, and all that fun stuff you’ve been waiting to do as a new dad. They’re not a fragile little baby doll anymore, so have fun engaging with them in a way that probably makes Mom nervous. My daughter loves flying across the house airplane-style or chasing her big sister around with a little help from Dad. Ever since I can remember wrestling or running around the house as a kid, I’ve wanted to have my own kids and share those kinds of bonding moments. Embrace your inner kid and enjoy it while it lasts!


Missed the other months? If you’re new to fatherhood, there’s no judgment here. You can find the previous month here:

What I Wish I Knew About Becoming a Dad — Month 10


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