With the advent of Pinterest and the ever increasing competition amongst moms to “get it right”, kids parties can be a nightmare! Especially when you are no Pin-Perfect Pam!
Woah momma, if it comes as any surprise to you that I am NOT a Martha Stewart caliber crafter or that my cakes are simple box cakes baked in a square pan than you have GOT to get to know me better.
I *literally* cringe when I consider children’s birthday parties.
Like would sooner go for another Brazillian wax than eagerly anticipate a child’s birthday party. It’s that bad!
And, I know that there is fun to be had at the super themed parties, and that a lot of love and attention went into the event. But, when I get told that little Timmy would like the Wells boys to be at his party I instantly want to reply with “we’re busy.”
I am SURE I could come up with an excuse for that day if I gave it a thought.
BUT, most people willing to engage with our chaos KNOW that we rarely have plans.
We are THAT cool.
I will tell you, though, I am learning to ENJOY the parties. I am starting to see the beauty in the tiny details, crafted tediously and painstakingly in love. I kind of get it.
For the Pin-Perfect Pam momma.
You see, the more I start to understand motherhood, and the better appreciation I have for friendship, the more I value those crafty ladies who seem to effortlessly get the job done. The ones who can conceptualize and execute a kids party with grace as I stumble to get the Lego cake out of the silicon mold.
One of my most memorable birthday’s for my son *to date* was my oldest’s second birthday. At this point in the game I was only two kids deep in the mom journey. I was pregnant with my third which means I was roughly as large as a house, and I was supposed to do something to celebrate my child. The only problem, I was so overwhelmed with a feeling of insecurity. With not having cupcake trays, no baking skills, NOTHING that would equip me to throw a perfect party for my little man.
I was so focused on what I didn’t have that I failed to consider what I had been gifted.
It was during this short season, that I had found a small group of friends. Women who shared similar interest as I did, who had children around the same age as me. Lady friends who, if I’m honest, intimidated the crap out of me. They were WAY more organized than I was, maintained their homes better than I did, and could orchestrate parties with all the ease of a pro.
I didn’t understand, at the time, how beautiful it is to suck at something. To allow yourself not to excel at something. And to have a friend (the only one in the group still sticking by our insane side) that swoops in with grace, as if she’s a part of the family. And truly she is.
And here is where the beauty plays out.
I’ve already admitted that I am not a baker, I am far from crafty, and I do not do the FULL THEME BIRTHDAY parties. I am still kicking it old school with hotdogs or pizza, chips and dip.
I DO make it healthier because #knowbetterdobetter, but none the less, I am not Pin-Perfect.
My friend, she is closer to Pam than I am.
She also loves me, and *more importantly* my family. So, when she knew it was my sons second birthday and there was nothing planned for the day, she told me to clean my house and asked if I have icing sugar and milk.
I had both of those things and could manage a clean house, and so a mini birthday party was underway.
The no hassle way.
But, that’s not the beauty part.
You see, I am not the baker. My girlfriend, she is. And she does a great job at it. She pours her love into it and you can literally taste the difference.
She bakes with the thought of that first bite on her mind. The way a child’s face lights up when the taste of chocolate fills their mouth. The smile that covers their face when they find out it was made for THEM.
She is great at that.
Me, I am better at the other stuff. The cleaning my house enough that it is presentable but not so much that it feels like things can’t be touched. At having the ingredients to make icing yet being obvious that it what was being requested. (Yes, my girlfriend literally had to make the icing when she arrived at my place).
With the laughing as the sparkles and the chocolate sauce fill every crack in the hardwood floors as bits and pieces fall from the plates. But enjoying the fact that, for that moment, my children were surrounded in friendship and love.
With brushing off the shock as the hoard of boys tear through the living room, knocking bubbles onto the floor and a slip-and-slide ensues in the house.
I am better at that stuff. With letting it run like water off a ducks back.
And I am not saying that she isn’t great at that stuff as well. But it is where I like to think I shine. At just letting stuff happen, kids be kids, and reminding myself that we are all differently gifted. That the symphony of friendship sounds best when we allow ourselves enough humility to admit when we are not great at something. And to watch as another mother in your tribe sings her melody into your life.
The beauty is in the value of the village as it plays out naturally in the rhythm of being called and gifted differently. In watching God’s hands and feet in our lives, tangible examples of His love for us.
To this day I still don’t Pin-Perfect my parties. I rarely have themed decor or bit-sized snacks for every guest in attendance. I’ve dabbled in gift bags and a semi-theme to no success. Even now, I am not Canada’s Next Great Baker. But here’s the thing, I don’t have to be.
There is no expectation that every mother would be equally skilled in this area nor that any child would feel left out of the greatness if their mom is better at the “have your friends over and just play all day” parties than she is at the themed extravaganza.
Every child wants to know that they are loved. That they are seen. And that there is cake.
So, let them bring cake and just enjoy community as opposed to competition.
I hear you. We need to stick with what we’re good at, what brings us joy, and let the rest be. Cakes are my thing… I make awesome custom cakes for every birthday, often pulling an near-all-nighter the night before. But I LOVE doing it! Decorations, however, UGH!!! At the last birthday (my daughter’s 3rd) I handed a bag of assorted balloons to my dad and told him he could blow up whatever he wanted. I gave the streamers to my mom and she put a simple swath on the food table and the gift table. Kids ran around with balloons and cake and had an absolute riot. Parents ate the potluck lunch and chatted loudly over the noise. Boom. That’s a party.