Yesterday was Number 3’s 7th birthday. He had 13 friends over to our house for an old-school birthday party. Nothing fancy. Play. Eat pizza. Play. Eat cake. Open presents. Play. Go home.
I usually make a special cake.
One year I did Grover…
Another year I made Spiderman…
If we have a party, I also usually get plates/napkins/cups/table cloths to match the cake… And then I usually buy stickers/tatoos/bouncy balls/ and a bunch of other garbage that probably just gets thrown away from the party store for the goody bags. Then there are the balloons and decorations…
Well, not this year. Due to my overscheduling, poor planning, and overall exhaustion, there was no special cake this year. In fact, I have never in my life been so unprepared for anything. The party started at 11:00. At 9 a.m. I had no cake, no ice cream, no party favors, no balloons, no goody bags, and no presents.
At 9:10 I blew through Shoprite and bought a premade cake, ice cream, on-sale bubbles, Rice Krispie treats, and fruit snacks. I ran home and dropped the stuff off. By 9:45 I was literally jogging through Target where I got lollipops, balloons, a pair of flip flops, 2 pairs of shorts, a DS game, and a Nerf gun. I was out of there by 10:05.
At 10:10 I got pulled over for not wearing my seatbelt and talking on my cell phone. By some miracle I only got a written warning and made it home by 10:25.
I forgot about goodie bags, so I printed out a picture of a baseball and each kid’s name, cut them out, and glued them onto paper bags. I shoved 2 lollipops, the bubbles, a Rice Krispie treat, and fruit snacks in each bag.
We used white, Hefty styrofoam plates and cups. I found a tablecloth I bought a couple years ago but never used that said “Happy Birthday” all over it and threw that on a table.
I felt like such a failure. What would the other parents think? A store- bought cake? Brown paper bags for goody bags?? White styrofoam plates???
My husband said, “This cake is amazing. It’s the best cake I’ve ever had.”
A pre-made cake from Shoprite.
I just looked at him.
“Except for the cakes you make,” he corrected himself.
Apparently I’ve been wasting a lot of time.
Aside from a small meltdown by an exhausted and overstimulated Number 3, everyone had a great time. Number 3 really enjoyed his day. The kids liked their goody bags. And altogether I spent a fraction of the time and money I usually do to get this party together.
I’ve been focusing on the wrong stuff, and during that time, Number 3 has gone from this:
Today I’m not going to do laundry or clean up or take care of the garden or wash dishes or pay bills. I’m going to spend some time with my kids.
At least until they piss me off. Then I’ll do that other stuff 😉