When last we spoke, we were preparing for Trae's 9th birthday. And it seemed like all was going to be right in the world. And then December actually hit, and we haven't slowed down since.
For Trae's actual birthday we had a quiet night eating with friends (chicken on a bone, of course) and then we came home for cake. Simple enough and very similar to how I celebrated most of my birthdays as a child. I remember very few birthday parties when I was a kid, but most of them were similar--a few friends, some cake and ice cream, and that was about it. I remember a few industrious moms who had a game or two involving either pinning a tail on a pre-printed donkey or dropping clothespins into a jar. Nothing fancy. No treat bags or elaborate themes. Just friends and fun.
So, for the love, when did I turn into one of THOSE people? A PINTEREST MOM! Last year we simplified and had a party at an indoor swimming pool. Get a pool, add friends, serve cake. Bing, bam, done. But, not this year. I decided it might be "cheaper" and "more fun" to have a party at home. And did I mention it had to be a party for BOTH boys since their birthdays fall at the beginning and the end of the month? We began with theme, and since both boys are big Hog fans (and the ideas on Pinterest looked so cute), it was "suggested" that maybe we have a Razorback tailgate theme. And they both agreed. Initially.
I should have known I was going to have issues when Will woke up the next morning and announced he didn't WANT a Razorback football party. He wanted a BASEBALL party! So, being the good mom I am, I just went back to the (Pinterest) board and decided we could do a baseball/football Razorback tailgate. Then it was ON. I found cupcake designs and tablescapes and tons of fun games we could play. I designed party favors and did all the other neurotic things that I never imagined I would do.
What I didn't plan, however, was how I was actually going to pull off all of those fabulous things in the midst of DECEMBER, the busiest month of the year. And did I mention it was at my HOUSE? Which also had to be cleaned and decorated for Christmas. But I could do it. Because Pinterest also shows me all kinds of inspirational quotes like, "she believed she could, so she did." So I made a schedule (see Pinterest board: organization) and I bought some vinyl and I got started.
And then I also worked. And tried to buy a few Christmas presents. And put up a Christmas tree. And did the thousand other things that working moms do every day, but especially in December. And then, right before this fabulous birthday party that I had been working my tail off for, I realized it had become WAY more about me and my pretty party plans than it had about my children. You know, the ones for whom I was HAVING THE PARTY!
Somehow, mainly thanks to the weather (can I get an Amen for a 70 degree Saturday in December????), we had a fun party. And do you know what was the highlight for my children? Not the party favors, not the custom Razorback cupcakes, and certainly not the hand painted Razorback we forgot to pin a tail on. Nope. It was playing in the back yard with their friends. The same thing we could have done without ever looking at one Pinterest board. Yes, it was a good thing I had a plan just in case the weather had not cooperated, but the same ingredients that made parties great when I was a kid still worked. We could have played hot potato and dropped clothespins in a jar, and my kids would have loved it simply because they were enjoying the company of their friends. And not one child ever looked at my lights and said, "wow, Mrs. Harris, thanks so much for making sure I didn't have to look at any dreadful cobwebs!"
I'm a little older than most of the parents of kids the same age as my kids, and maybe because of that I have a bit of a different perspective. While the helicopter circles a little closer to their kids, I sometimes choose to give mine a little more space. Or at least I try to. But then the mom guilt kicks in and I think, "but won't he be upset if all the other moms are doing ________ and his mom does something different?" And lately I've been giving in to that guilt more often than not. But that birthday party proved to me that sometimes less parenting is more. The organized games were fine, but kids enjoy being with kids. Period. And given the opportunity, games will break out and fun will happen naturally. Also, kids will eat cake whether it looks like a Razorback (#PinterestWin) or a "baseball" that appears as if it might be bleeding (#epicfail).
And with that lesson in mind, I'm now preparing for Christmas. And I'm again kicking myself because we don't have an Advent calendar, and our Elf hasn't parachuted in or made a snow angel in flour yet, and we have yet to make gingerbread houses. So maybe this won't be a Pinterest Christmas. But I'm vowing to plan less (mainly because time has run out to plan more) and to let a little fun happen. And also to stay off Pinterest. At least until January 1. When I'm sure I'll be back looking for inspirational quotes related to something entirely different.