Parenting

The McDonald’s Birthday Party

May 6, 2015
Mcdonalds birthday party

Totally not lovin’ it.

Some parents are anti-sugar. Me? Not so much.

Other parents draw the line in the sand over regular dessert. Me? Not so much.

My line is McDonald’s. I hate it. The company, the food, the clown –

 EVERYTHING

Growing up in Coffs Harbour there wasn’t even one in town until I was around 8 or 9 so it was only something we had when we came to Sydney. Then it was a special occasion thing.

In my late teens I ate shit loads of the stuff. My standard hangover cure was a medium McChicken Meal with Sprite consumed lying on Coogee Beach.

I was hungover regularly so Maccy D and I were quite friendly. And it showed in my bikini until I took up recreational drugs and gave up food 4 days a week.

I don’t know when the MacLoathe crept in, and Supersize Me certainly compounded my issue but over the years I have become an avid, rabid anti-Maccas type of gal.

In the name of disclosure, my kids once ate a plain McMuffin at an airport on an early morning flight, but other than that they have never stepped foot in, nor consumed McDonalds.

If you eat McDonald’s occasionally, I don’t judge. To each their own. If you feed your family McDonalds regularly I judge you a little bit but we all already know I’m a judgemental asshole… so here’s the thing…..

My kid was recently invited to a McDonald’s birthday party.

See my dilemma?

It is the second time in their lives that they’ve been invited to a Maccas Party but the first time they were young enough for me to politely decline and they didn’t think twice. This time was one of D Man’s best buddy’s birthday… I was stuck between a Happy Meal and a Big Mac.

Mister H and I discussed it and he assumed there was no way I’d let them go, but I gots to thinking about some of the ‘health’ bloggers I’ve seen and what they post about their kid’s eating habits.

I recently saw someone whom I respect greatly talking about how her child wanted a certain Cadbury’s chocolate that was full of added nasties like whale blubber, and petrochemicals or something, and she spoke at length with her child to make sure he understood what he would be eating and let him make his own decision.

Now, logically, I know this is good parenting, but I also thought ‘let him eat the chocolate already!’ – because her thing is not my thing.

She didn’t say no, she simply educated, and set him free.

Me trying to talk to my kids about why I don’t like Maccas would be like Bart Simpson talking to his dog Santas Little Helper.

“Blah, blah. blah, blah, good choices, blah blah blah blah, evil company”. You get the picture.

I was all torn up about this party, and I discussed it with friends (who sometimes consume McDonalds, but they tried and succeeded in not telling me to chill out. Bless them.)

Then I did the math and realised that the Maccas party wasn’t on my weekend. I was absolved of being a mean mummy. I thought there was no way Mister H would take them, but the disappointment of D Man’s face at being told he wasn’t going to his BFF’s birthday was too intense a hang dog and it was decided.

The kids were going to have their McDonalds cherries popped.

I put the invitation in their weekend bag, with their superhero costumes (popular them this year it would appear) and reminded Mister H when it was as I kissed my children goodbye for the weekend.

Except I told him the wrong day.

Yep, he dressed them up and drove 45 minutes across town from his side to ours on the wrong day. He was standing in a packed weekend lunchtime Maccas with the un-checked invitation in his hand on the wrong day due to my misinformation.

Doh. Popular much?

Anyway, the kids went back the next day. They had a ball. They didn’t like the food at all, they ate only a couple of chips each, but they enjoyed the party.

Naturally, every time we drive passed a stinking McDonalds they point it out because those lurid plastic playgrounds are mighty enticing to the short, funny smelling person’s eye. They only ever want to go there to play, not to eat two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickled onions on a sesame seed bun.

I think we got away with it this time.

What do you think about the McDonald’s parties for kids?

Am I just uptight? You can say it……

 

 

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24 Comments

  • Reply Aleney May 6, 2015 at 7:46 am

    Mine have had McDonalds once. We were on a road trip, we’d had car troubles and were running really late and the kids hadn’t eaten. Sadly it was the only “food” for an hour. They HATED it! And having been in a similar situation since they both say they’d rather starve that stop. Woohoo. My work here is done! 🙂

    • Reply Danielle May 6, 2015 at 5:30 pm

      You are so winning the parenting food thing. Your kids can use chopsticks for god’s sake.

  • Reply Joanna May 6, 2015 at 8:06 am

    You’ve hit my sweet spot here Danielle. I haven’t touched McDonalds since December 3 2001, the day I decided I could do better. I can’t stand McDonalds. I hate the smell of the place, the greasy interior, and watching its customers stuff their face with crap that’s going to give them an early coronary. I hate the way they market to children, and offer toys with their coronary-inducing pseudo food, just so your kids beg you for more.

    But since I’ve been a parent I’m kind of starting to understand the McDonalds party. If you don’t want truckloads of kids in your house, you haven’t got a spare week to prepare for a party, and you just want a cheap get-together to celebrate the turning of another 365 days, it has a certain appeal. Times may have changed, but last time I checked it was $11 per head with a minimum of 10 kids, so you can potentially have a party (including party bags) for $110 and no effort. I hate to admit it (I really, really hate to admit it), but it has a certain appeal. I’m not going to sign my kids up for one just yet, but….well…

    All I’m saying is: I get it.

    • Reply Danielle May 6, 2015 at 5:30 pm

      I didn’t realise how cheap it was. My recent party cost me more than double with butt loads of effort to boot.
      I get it, I don’t judge the Maccas party, I get it. I just struggle to relinquish my Maccas loathing….I hate them for more than the terrible food though.

  • Reply Bunny Eats Design May 6, 2015 at 8:33 am

    At least you got the day wrong a day early. If you had turned up a day late, it might be unforgivable. I had many birthdays at Macca’s. My first birthday was at Macca’s. I don’t remember it but there are photos of it. My parents had moved from Hong Kong to Rotorua, New Zealand where the McDonald’s resembles a Maori meeting house. It had wooden carvings on the wall depicting Maui and the sun and the tables had a kitschy flax textured top. I wonder what my parents were thinking? I guess when they’re brand new in a country they’ve just moved to where no one speaks Cantonese, McDonald’s was at least a familiar friend.

    Everything in moderation. Even crack.

    If you ban your kids from doing anything, they’ll probably just do it behind your back. It’s cool they didn’t enjoy the food. At least you don’t have to worry about that for now.

    The Koala and I eat McDonald’s at airports. It the only time I “allow” him to eat it. It’s an unspoken thing. I guess everything else at the airport is stale, expensive and sad looking. At least with McDonald’s the prices are standard and you can expect a certain (lack of) quality.

    • Reply Danielle May 6, 2015 at 5:28 pm

      Oh sure, crack is awesome in moderation. I have to agree that it’s travelling food. Mister H always eats a Big Mac at the airport, and he used to try to get me to eat it on road trips. I can see the appeal…
      I haven’t banned them, it’s just been my THING and now that they’re getting older I need to relax or die trying.

  • Reply Nicky (LDM) May 6, 2015 at 8:41 am

    My kids think there is shit in the burgers… I once read an article in a Sunday mag while living in the UK pre-kids about the mechanical process of processing meat, as well as the ingredients of a thickshake. Turned me off for life.
    I’m sure the processing of meat is quite different here in NZ, but that’s what I tell them. Plus my oldest has a phobia of Ronald and Hamburgular after being accosted in a Macca’s playground when he was around 2, while we were there at a Mothers Group meeting (pickings were slim in the area!).
    Still waiting for the first Macca’s party… I’m sure it will come. Meanwhile whenever we pass one, my youngest (5) asks if the people inside know they are eating shit. Works for me.

    • Reply Danielle May 6, 2015 at 5:27 pm

      Oh my god, gross. I’ve heard of all sorts of nasties showing up when it’s tested…even shit. Shit burgers are nasty. Keep up that ruse as long as you can.

  • Reply raphaela99 May 6, 2015 at 8:46 am

    I have always loathed the ‘evil empire,’ but when I had my daughter, they had the only clean facilities in town (as well as caffeine), so I would end up there. It was an unusual choice for a vegetarian, but I felt markedly better when I spotted a friend (and member of the Greens), queue up at the McCafe for their leftover coffee grounds which he used to make nature flourish. We had only just been talking about how evil this place was, and all we could do was laugh at having been busted. My daughter only likes the toy and chips there.

    • Reply Danielle May 6, 2015 at 5:25 pm

      Ha, BUSTED!!! Look, a warm and comfy spot with caffeine – I hear you, sister. We gots to do what we gots to do!

  • Reply Megan Blandford May 6, 2015 at 9:57 am

    I am just SO HAPPY to not be alone on this one! I get told to ‘lighten up’ all the time over this – but I won’t take my kids to chain fast food shops (I can’t even call them restaurants). A Maccas was built in the town we used to live in, across the road from my daughter’s school, and we took her on a protest march. Now, she hates the idea of it – I do try to be reasonable about it, though, so I tell her what it is and why other kids like it, and we talk about choices, etc. I’m out to educate her, not brainwash her. But if she was invited to a party at a Maccas (unlikely now that we live 30kms from one!), well, I think I’d handle it similarly to you .

    • Reply Danielle May 6, 2015 at 5:24 pm

      You protested against Maccas? You’re more hung ho than me!

  • Reply Carolyn @ Champagne Cartel May 6, 2015 at 10:13 am

    Yeah, I reckon you could remove the stick from your arse a bit there. We don’t go to Macca’s. I freaking hate the stuff, but if my kids were invited to a party with all their favourite people there, I wouldn’t hesitate. One visit isn’t going to turn them into Ronald-loving monsters, and sometimes I think the more we make something taboo, the more interesting it is.

    My daughter was invited to a party at another competing burger joint a few years ago and it was the most miserable fucking party I’ve ever been to. Dingy room, staff who couldn’t give a shit, crappy food…but like your kids, they all just ignored all that and played in the playground. No harm. No foul. Nobody cared. My daughter was even allowed to have soft drink which is very rare, but she only had one sip and was then off and away.

    Give me a few egg and spoon races (and a pinata!) in the park any day, but if someone else invites us, we’ll turn up because parties are all about friendships and playing, not about the food.

    • Reply Danielle May 6, 2015 at 5:23 pm

      Stick in my arse? That sounds kinda daring. I’m uptight and I’m admitting I’m uptight. I came through in the end though….

  • Reply Momma G May 6, 2015 at 10:50 am

    We eat Maccas. Well, the Big One does. Not regularly, but enough to have amassed a small collection of Happy Meal toys. The Big One will ONLY eat the chicken nuggets – yes, the ones that were once in the news for having mashed dead rat in them. If he’s really hungry, then he’ll eat the fries as well. The Small One may nibble on the fries if/when I allow it. The “Chicken & Chippie shop with a toy”, as the Big One calls it, is a special place for him – it’s a “treat” for being a good and helpful boy. And we let him have this treat every now and again. It’s a tradition for us to have Maccas for breakfast when we go on holidays. In fact, all of our holiday albums start with the traditional shot of us enjoying our McMuffins and hash browns.

    We know we’ll probably be invited to a Maccas birthday party in the near future. I’ve never been to one – as a child or as an adult, and I so much wanted a Maccas party as a kid. I wouldn’t hesitate to let either of the kids go to a Maccas party – it’s not like they’ll be forced to drink vats of their cooking oil or skol litres of soft serve as party tricks. The kids will probably not eat much of any of the food provided, but I don’t see that food being any worse than some of the “party food”on offer at any other regular party. It’s all about the playground and running around with their friends.

    I may seriously consider allowing Ronald to organise a party or two for the Big One and the Small One. What’s not to love about birthday parties where I don’t have to cook, clean beforehand and afterwards, and be served ice cream cake?

    It will be up to them to work out that Maccas really only taste good when purchased from the outlet under the Paragon at the end of a night out, or when you’re really really hungover. Until then, the “Chicken & Chippie shop with a toy” can remain a special happy place for the kids.

    • Reply Danielle May 6, 2015 at 5:22 pm

      Ha, late night drunken Maccas is a whole different beast. I ate a quarter pounder at 2am about 6 years ago and I remember sitting there saying ‘man, I’m coming to maccas more often cos this shit is the bomb’….drunken beast.

      • Reply Bunny Eats Design May 7, 2015 at 6:09 am

        Actually drunken Maccas reminds me of Thailand. At Xam in the morning nothing else was open so we would walk back to your accommodation and pick up cheeseburgers on the way. We ordered 7 cheeseburgers and delivered them to locals sleeping rough on the way home. In hindsight it could be very culturally insensitive, but those we woke up in the middle of the night with a gift of a hot cheeseburger were super grateful.

        It had been years since I have eaten Maccas but last Saturday my girlfriends wanted something cheap, quick and dirty before we went out and I can’t go out drinking without a full belly (sickness ensues) so I had a Big Mac. I didn’t enjoy it. I found it incredibly dry. Like someone had gotten a couple of thin juicy patties, left it out in the sun for a few days and then stuck in my burger. Nothing to blog about but it filled the gap and I was able to party on.

  • Reply Sam Stone May 6, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    I am on your side of the fence on this one.

    • Reply Danielle May 6, 2015 at 5:21 pm

      I like you on my side. x

  • Reply alex May 6, 2015 at 5:17 pm

    Hmmmm. My boy went through a stage of not eating (literally nothing) . One frustrated afternoon after a disastrous shopping trip, hubbie and I took him to macdonalds for some fries in the hope he might eat one or two (and to mainly avoid the battle of getting him in the high chair at home).
    He ate the whole darn lot! And then asked for more….
    Did we start going every day? Of course not (think we’ve been twice in his 2 year old life), he’s back to eating the good home cooked stuff I make but I do pepper it with the occasional ‘naughty’ meal like (shock horror) fish and chips from the freezer!! I’ve got this theory that a little of everything is the best way then nothing is off limits and nothing get binged on later on…that’s the hope anyway.
    My beef is with the devil fruitshoots (you have these in Oz?) Try offering my son one of those aspartame, additive filled ‘drinks’ …..then I’ll get all Danielle-verses-maccas in your grill!

    • Reply Danielle May 6, 2015 at 5:20 pm

      Fish and chips is one fast food I’m down with. I totally agree with whatever you need to do to get them to eat, I just have one little bug bear.
      As for nasty ass fruitshoots, I’ve never heard of them but I have your back if you need me!

  • Reply Robyna May 7, 2015 at 7:55 am

    This made me laugh – my mother let us have Maccas maybe twice then entire time we were kids. Being vegetarian sort of made it a moot point. The Maccas near us has the make your own burger bar, so that at least offers a better range of choices. I don’t mind it as the occasional treat for my kids, but they prefer sushi anyway!

  • Reply Tahnee May 7, 2015 at 10:14 am

    Oh you are not alone!! Or uptight! I loathe it with a passion too – I just never understood why it’s so popular when most of the food is so bloody awful. My kids didn’t know what it was until about a year ago after several birthday party invitations between Maccas and Hungry Jacks.. mostly I hate the generic notion of the party itself but understand it’s a happy medium for the parents and the children to pay someone else to do all the work and go home to a clean house. I get it – I really do! Every time we get another party invite I cringe a little.. but I figure every now and then, in the name of celebration for their friends, it’s okay.. given we never buy it, outside of the odd 50c ice cream cone in summer when the budget’s tight and we can’t afford the $50 Mr Whippy Ice Cream Van bill…!! x

  • Reply [email protected] She Writes May 7, 2015 at 5:34 pm

    We have never had a McDonalds party and I don’t really like them, but my kids have been to them. We have a friend who has one a lot.
    Our whole family are on a McDonalds ban as our New Years resolution. The kids didn’t eat it a whole heap, but they did eat it and ask for it. So the decision was made.

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