Mum slammed over 'excessive spend' for son's 4th birthday
THE look on your little one's face when they open that first birthday present is the antidote to all your parenting woes.
You're barely awake and the build-up to this monumental day has been insane - but all of a sudden it all becomes worth it.
This Victorian mum knows all about that special moment, but now she's being accused of getting a bit carried away with the gift-giving.
*Amy typically spends between $300 to $1000 on her now three-year-old son's birthdays and Christmas gifts - and loves to witness the precious joy when Tyler* finally opens them.
"I feel happy when I see him open his gifts," she said.
"The joy on his face as he opens presents and there's something he has been asking for is really heartwarming.
"To the toys he always reacts so beautifully happy - but the clothes he gives me the side-eye and says 'thanks mum' with a big eye roll."
Amy didn't realise there was anything different about the way she chooses to celebrate with her only child, until she was chatting with her aunt, who would prefer to remain anonymous, recently.
Usually Amy "just goes shopping and puts things on layby" in the lead-up to Tyler's birthday on Valentine's Day.
"I'm by no means well-off - I just budget for his birthday and Christmas," she says.
"I can pay them (the lay-bys) off until the day arrives.
"I buy all his clothes for the year for Christmas and birthdays - as well as educational toys and games while Santa brings all the play toys he has asked for."
But she was shocked by her aunt's response when she mentioned she was stressed she hadn't started on the lay-bys yet, despite having another five weeks to go before Tyler's 4th birthday.
Instead of sympathising, her aunt questioned why she was spending so much on the little boy.
"My aunt says $100 is plenty because he has hundreds of toys he doesn't play with," Amy says.
"But we are going through them before his birthday and donating what he doesn't play with anymore.
"She didn't realise there weren't many gifts I'd wanted to buy - but they were just expensive."
"This year for his birthday I want to get him a TV, a Wii, an ID necklace and some Leapfrog Reading material," Amy says.
"And of course new clothes, some Paw Patrol toys to go with his Sea Patroller and renewing our yearly pass to the zoo."
Now this may sound like quite a bit - but Amy says it's actually pretty reasonable when you consider the fact she doesn't buy Tyler "a lot of toys and clothes throughout the year".
"The way I see it I spend about the same amount on my child a year as any other mum, I just spend it all at once," she adds.
Since sharing her story on a Facebook mums group, Amy says she has copped plenty of flak from other mums who judge how much she chooses to spend on Tyler.
"Some of the mums were saying he won't appreciate it and what will I buy him when he's older and really trying to make me feel bad," she says.
"I felt a bit judged - but I know I'm not spoiling my child.
"I know he doesn't expect extravagant gifts, he doesn't get everything he ever asks for - just what I think he will need and use for longer than a day."
Thankfully, she's not letting the online haters get her down - instead choosing to focus on the silver lining.
"I don't have to go shopping every couple weeks to get him new stuff to wear or be entertained by," Amy says.
"He doesn't often ask for new stuff when we are in the shops - and if he does I tell him to ask Santa."
*Names have been changed