Posted by: angelnorman | November 3, 2010

I’ve got issues. Fo real.

So I’m gearing up for Nick’s 6th birthday party.

Every year about this time, I put all of my time and energy into a party for 20-some odd kids that I just HAD to invite because I am a glutton for punishment a nice person who likes to invite all of her own (closest) friends, despite whether or not Nick is super close to their kids.  I know the rule is that you should do one kid per every year of his age. I know that rule, and I admire the moms and dads who can stick to it. Nicholas is turning 6 this year. If I only invited 6 kids, I could only invite family. Nick has 6 cousins, but we shouldn’t count the older two. So okay, he could have 2 smaller kids in their place— who would he choose? Cash and Hayden, our favorite twin boys? Jenson and Kendan, his non-biological brothers? Kameron and Sean, the kids he sees the most? How could I expect him to choose only 2 folks out of the handful he hangs with on a semi-regular basis?

And truth be told, I simply cannot let Nick pick and choose, even though he’s well beyond the age where it’s NORMAL for him to do so. I can’t fathom making him decide who gets to come and who has to stay at home. This is problem number one for me. I go overboard on the guest list and then I freak out. I have 50 people coming to my house on Sunday. I live in a 1200 sq. ft. home. You do the math. (Hopefully I can get everyone to stay outside.)

Problem two: I research crafts, games, food menus, themes, etc for weeks… all for a party that lasts for 2 hours. A party for kids that could care less about activities or whether or not they get anything other than cake and a goody bag. Seriously. I have to remind myself over and over again that kids are easier to please than we think. And sure there are kids out there who expect large parties with petting zoos and horse rides and trips to the amusement park… but that’s because they had parents like me who went overboard a few years in a row and then had to keep topping herself. Which leads to problem three.

Problem three: I go way overboard in trying to one-up myself. Every year I act as though I am throwing the party to end all parties. This year I decided that I would nix the Spiderman theme because the inflatable I’m renting (oh, yeah, I forgot to mention that) is Superman themed. They didn’t have Spiderman. So I thought maybe I would make it a generic Superhero party and incorporate all of Nick’s favorite characters instead of just Spidey.

That idea was full of fail from the beginning. It only added more work. I couldn’t find any way to make it all work and still keep it low-key and relaxed. I was looking at site after site, drawing inspiration from all of these moms who had thrown awesome superhero parties for their kids, and before I could even rationalize with myself, I was buying 12 yards of fabric to make capes with so that every kid could have a personalized cape and mask to take home from the party. Which brings me to problem 4.

Problem four: I don’t sew! How the hell can I make capes when I don’t sew? And who has the time for all that anyway? Problem 4 is not really that I don’t sew. Problem 4 is that I tend to go all “crafty mama” at the very wrong times. Because you can’t have capes without emblems. And you can’t have capes with emblems without having masks…. $100 later and all the kids can have an awesome souvenir from the party.

But guess what?

Problem Five: Your kid won’t appreciate the gesture. He won’t realize all the work you poured into his party, much to the threat of not only your bank account but your sanity. He will only remember the presents and the cake, if that.

So really, why do I keep doing this to myself? Why do I keep taking on more things than I can handle? What am I trying to prove?

Mike says that it’s just my creativity coming out. He says I don’t get enough chances to be creative throughout the year so I over-do it at Nick’s birthday. I see his point, and I think he might be right. But also, I think I’ve put this ridiculously high expectation to throw great parties on myself. Every year I say I’m going to dial it down a notch the next year, and I never do. Ever. I always take it to another level entirely and then I wonder, the week before, why I’m so tired/stressed/spread thin. I wonder why I do this to myself, especially because at the core of it, it’s not all for Nick. I wish I could be the person that says, “Oh, I do it for Nick, therefore it’s nothing but a pleasure!” But somewhere while making my first no-sew cape this week, I decided that it wasn’t just for Nick. It was partly for me. I was feeding some need inside of myself to overdo it.

So tonight, I took my remaining 11 yards of fabric and threw them in my craft closet. I decided no capes.

I took my masks and re-bagged them with the sticky felt that I had purchased for the cape emblems. I’m returning them to Michael’s tomorrow to get my money back, and then I’m going to take some of that money and get 24 of the paper Spiderman masks. If they break? Oh freaking well.

I decided my theme would remain Spiderman… with a Superman inflatable. (And that helps with getting rid of the pressure to make capes and masks as Spiderman doesn’t even wear a cape. Never mind that Superman does. Just don’t mention that at the party.)

I nixed the piñata. I will have candy in the goody bags and bowls of candy on the tables. No one needs a dang piñata.

I will NOT serve anything but cake and ice cream unless I just feel like it that day. And if I feel like it, it won’t be some themed menu like “Peter Parker’s Radioactive Hot Dogs” and “Doc Ock’s Spinach Dip”. No. It will be more like, Sandwiches and Chips.

(But I will probably have Green Goblin’s Green Punch, because Nick really liked that idea. Besides, that’s just green kool-aid.)

And I will not, repeat: WILL NOT, let myself go crazy for the rest of the week. I know what’s going to happen if I do. I’m going to stress the whole time and not enjoy my kid’s party. It happens every year! EVERY YEAR! And now that he’s older, I think it’s about time I actually try to enjoy myself.

After all, I’m not guaranteed that I will even be around to see his next birthday. Time is short and I need to really work on enjoying the moments more and stressing less.

I’m just not one of those moms who can sew great things for her kids or throw excellent stress-free shindigs. I can’t operate at a Better Homes and Gardens/ Martha Stewart Living level. That’s just not me. Don’t let the crafts I do fool you. They are very basic. You will see I never post about trying to make curtains or clothes or even knitting sweaters. I just can’t do those things, nor do I really have the desire to. My family is not a over-the-top family; we are laid-back, go-with-the-flow types 90% of the time. So why even bother trying to step out of my comfort zone to do things that deep at my core I don’t really want to do? There is no party judge stopping by to rate me on the awesomeness of my son’s 6th birthday, so why act like I have something to prove?

Do I want my kid to look back and say, “Well, she made some capes, but she was freaking out for an entire week beforehand! Then at the party, she couldn’t even relax because she was worried that all the hems she sewed by hand would bust and all of her hard work was for nothing”??? No, I don’t want him to say that.

I want him to say, “I barely remember it, but I am sure it was fun because I had all my friends and family there and my parents were happy to celebrate another year for me!”

Because I barely remember my parties, but I know they were full of love and happiness. And what better gifts could you give your kid than those?

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