I am the kind of Mum who wants to throw the perfect party for my daughter when her birthday rolls around. We have thrown her 4 birthday parties and each year we have had a backyard BBQ party at our place for her friends and ours, so the guest list has always been sizeable.
I am not sure why it is so important to me to have this perfect party. If it was down to my daughter, having sausage rolls, cake and her friends to play with the she would have no complaints. For my husband, if there was meat to eat, beer to drink and a selection of men to laugh with around the BBQ he would be happy. But for me, the theme needs to be appropriate, there needs to be a mountain of delicious food, people must have fun and every detail must be perfect.
I am currently in the post-party success glow as my daughter turned 4 over the Easter weekend. She had a fantastic time, all her friends came and they got to play all afternoon, the food was a success, the adults gossiped the day away and everyone complimented me on the decorations. But looking back on it, every detail was not perfect and let’s face it… it was never going to be. But every year I strive for that unattainable perfection.
As mother’s we often have this desperate need to prove to people that we are super and that we can do it all…
“Oh yes, I just whipped up this giant table of food, baked the cake and decorated the house from top to bottom in the 2 hours before the party started” – I call BS!
Here is what actually happened…
- Every evening in the 3 weeks leading up to the party I was cutting out Peppa Pig decorations printed off Etsy, making tissue paper pom poms and madly scouring Trade Me for a few reasonably priced licensed products!
- I painstakingly created a mammoth shopping list so that no sausage rolls or icing sugar would be left behind
- I was up until 2am on Thursday night creating a photo board of the last year’s cutest photos
- I supervised my husband assembling loot bags
- 4 dozen cupcakes were baked and iced (1 dozen gluten free)
- Birthday cake was baked and decorated
- The list goes on and on
I have decided that there has to be a better way to tackle this whole party thing, so after the stressful craziness of the last 3 weeks here is what I have learnt. Hopefully these tips prevent you from pulling your hair out!
Number One: Delegate
If you are fortunate enough to have friends and family that volunteer their services, take them up on their helpful offer. Get husbands or partners to wrap pass the parcel and fill loot bags, get mothers or in laws to make salads, have friends round to help assemble decorations. Utilise the kindness of those around you and TRUST that they can do a good job. I often find it hard to let go of the little things, but lets face it, no one is going to be looking close enough at the cut out of Peppa to see that the cutting is crooked!
Number Two: Outsource
If you aren’t good at cakes, buy one. Or see if you can utilise the skills of your family and friends. Perhaps you can do a deal that you will decorate your friend’s party she can make the cake for yours. Play to your strengths and get help with the parts you aren’t so great at.
Number Three: Go Offsite
You don’t even need to spend big bucks on hiring a fancy venue to make this one work. Playcentres, town halls, beaches and local parks are all fantastic venues for kid’s parties. Just make sure you have somewhere to sort the food and a place for people to use the bathroom. At least that way you will clean up as you are leaving and don’t have a house full of mess to deal with later.
Number Four: Keep It Simple
Your 2 year old does not need a 5 layer cake. You do not need to entertain the neighbourhood with a magician, fairy and bouncy castle. As long as there is something for the kids to do (toys to play with, tramp to jump on, park to run around in, games to play), snacks to eat and a place for everyone to gather then it should be a fun time.
Number Five: Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
At the end of the day people are at a kid’s party to have a good time and to eat fairy bread. They aren’t going to care if every detail is not perfect. Your children are just going to love that you went to the effort, served cake and invited their friends.
So there are my words of wisdom. Let’s see if I take heed of these when next year’s party rolls round!
Do you have some awesome tips to share with us? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook or Instagram pages
Gemma is a kiwi Mum of one and is the Editor for The Baby View. She also works with preschool children, loves cooking, loves sunshine, loves chocolate and loses countless hours at a time looking at cute baby pictures on Instagram!