Thursday, October 21, 2010

Why Not Celebrate?

So maybe today isn’t the best day to be planning a party. My munchkin is sick, and keeping on top of the goo pouring from her nose has been practically a full time job the past couple of days. I am swamped, ridiculously overcommitted with appointments, events, and looming deadlines both this week and next. Our house looks like some sort of strange toy and snack food bomb exploded mysteriously in the night. My dear hubby works a 14 hour shift today, so party preparations are entirely up to me. And I’ve just realized that my butterfly wings are broken, so I need to go out and buy a costume.
But there will be a costume party at our house tomorrow, come rain or shine, sleet or hail, toy bombs or goo noses (I did send out a germ disclaimer to all our guests, not wanting to be “that mom” who assumes that if her kids are sick, everyone else’s should be too). Five mommies and nine munchkins under the age of five, all coming to our place for a costume party. And I can’t wait!
I was talking with a friend the other day about how ridiculously busy the past couple of weeks have been. When I told her I was planning a party at our place, she laughed at me…Actually AT me (good thing I love her – yes, friend, you know who you are!). But to me, celebrations and parties aren’t the things you do only if life isn’t too busy and you have lots of time on your hands. To me, they are what life – particularly life as a mommy – is all about.
I grew up in a family that loves to celebrate, that never neglected to mark special occasions in a fun, memorable, and often quirky way. And I want my own little ones to grow up with memory banks filled to overflowing with snippets of brightly coloured moments – playtime with friends, celebrations with family, quirky traditions, and frequent, spontaneous outbursts of togetherness and joy. Life with children is wonderful. And it deserves to be celebrated.
So that being said, I’ve learned that I need to pace myself when it comes to party planning. Now a well-seasoned party planner (I’ve been hosting two big parties per year for the past thirteen years for a very special group of kids, who are not so little any more), I do have the tendency to go a bit overboard. Not every party can be a Martha-esque all out super duper affair. I’ve decided to allow myself one over-the-top party per child per year – on their birthdays, of course. But for the rest – the little Valentine’s day teas and Halloween lunches – I’ve set a few little guidelines…
1.       Keep it small. Two to five mommies or daddies and accompanying little ones is plenty.
2.       Make it a potluck. I provide the main course (we usually try for lunch time parties) – something simple and kid-pleasing like mini pizzas or macaroni and cheese. Then I delegate the remainder of the food – fruit, veggies, dessert, munchies – to my guests.
3.       Remain calm. I know that the friends I’m inviting all have little ones too, and won’t judge me if my house isn’t totally spic and span.
4.       Make it festive! I throw a few dollar store decorations up on the wall, then pack them away in my “party supplies” box to be used another year.
5.       Relax and have fun! I save the games, activities, and entertainment for birthday parties. At little celebrations, we just hang out and let the little ones play…And it is SO much fun!
Time to run - I have some pumpkin-shaped pizza crusts to make and some tin foil spiders to hang from the ceiling before my goopy-nosed munchkin wakes up from her nap.  I’ll be sure to fill you in on how the party goes…

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