There are a lot of delusions about stay at home moms – the bon bons, the all day yoga pants (eh, that one might be true), the play dates at 11 am involving your favorite Cab. When I decided to stay home with my daughter, I knew that wouldn’t be my reality. Instead, I had a whole other unhealthy delusion: That I was going to be the perfect crafty mom. I blame this on a subscription to both Southern Lady and Southern Living at an early age and, of course, the onslaught of Pinterest during my first trimester.
I imagined my daughter talking long, leisurely naps while I decorate the house for every miniscule holiday and season change. When she was awake, she would casually play next to me doing a miniature version of whatever craft I was doing - acorns made into turkeys, life size models of her grandparents out of buttons, or whatever other insane project we could come up with that would stimulate her growing mind and require daily trips to Hobby Lobby.
totally valid absolutely insane fantasy in
mind, I set to work planning Bonnie’s first birthday.
Step 1: Create a totally over the top, never could accomplish even 10% of these things Pinterest board revolving around your theme. Ours was watermelon, so I spent many a nursing session frantically pinning everything and anything even remotely related to our pink and green motif. Please note that unless you want everyone one of your sarcastic friends to immediately text you for blowing up their board with something other than nutella crockpot recipes that will make you drop a jean size in one week, you might want to set your board to private.
Step 2: Procrastinate, procrastinate, procrastinate. Because even though you have decided each baby in attendance will receive a handmade, hand painted, personalized favor that they will
treasure forever lose on
the way home, you still have plenty of time. Because you made your Pinterest
board for your daughter’s FIRST birthday the first week you were home from the
hospital. And because you know you will have more time once she starts sleeping
through the night. And walking. And this teething session is over. And the flu
season passes. And after the holidays. That free time is right always so
elusively just around the next milestone corner.
Step 3: Send your husband on a five week business trip just five weeks before the party. Who needs help with an 11 month old anyway? Step 3b: Start cutting three new teeth. Did I mention your husband should be out of town for this fun?
Step 4: Have a panic attack a week before the party because you have approximately 1% of your to do list done. Consider faking an injury to cancel the party. Have a weak moment where you pray the venue double booked and you have an easy out. Finally, buck it up, pull out your Cricut and get down to business. Work for 15 minutes, realize you are out of glue, and surrender to wine and Real Housewives of New Jersey.
Step 5: Drive yourself to sleep deprivation trying to follow blogs with titles like “How to Make the Perfect Macramé Centerpiece with Things Around Your Home!” Google “Why do so many mommy bloggers lie about how easy stuff is?” Accomplish one thing on your to do list. Repeat nightly the whole week before the party.
Step 6: FORGE AHEAD. No matter what, the birthday party is coming and it is apparently socially unacceptable to show up with just your notebook of ideas and no actual decorations. Or drinks. Or food. So, no matter what obstacles you face just keep trudging forward. And trust me, there will be obstacles. Some of my favorites:
A. Making 100 watermelon shaped rice krispie treats only to learn, at 10:30 pm the night before the party, the rice krispies you just purchased are moldy. MOLDY. How does that even happen? Who has heard of cereal getting moldy? Only me. When I was elbow deep in melted butter and marshmallow.
B. Having your husband’s flight get delayed four hours the night before the party so that his whole plan to “come home and run all the errands” is completely destroyed. He claims hazardous summer storms. I am still not entirely convinced he wasn’t at the airport Applebee’s, running out the clock until all craft stores within a 15 mile radius of us were closed.
C. Attempting to be the hippie you know you aren’t and make a birthday cake from scratch using all organic ingredients. No food dye for your sweet birthday angel – only icing dyed with organic spinach pureed into sugar and butter. This of course fails to recognize two problems: 1)
Food companies created food dye because they were easy to use and 2) You suck
at baking. You didn’t pass the cake decorating class at Michael’s because the
flowers were impossible. IMPOSSIBLE. You left the second class with only one-half
of your cake because you somehow iced the first half so poorly it was best to
just throw it away. Giving birth did not
give you some magical cake decorating gene nor was it tucked in between sleep
advice in any of the baby books you have read. Let. It. Go.
D. Having your entire family in town, including three cuties under the age of 6. You love them all, but nothing says “amp up birthday stress” like moving the baby into your room, having your dad set off your house alarm twice, and constantly having to acknowledge that it would, in fact, be easier for them to attend parties if you moved four states closer to them.
Step 7: Laugh it off and actually enjoy the day. Did you end up having time to slap monogrammed watermelon stickers on 150 bottles of water? No. Are you surrounded by the friends and family who have been there every single step of the way since announcing you were pregnant? Yes. And really, what else matters? Bonnie won’t remember the centerpieces, the party favors, or the photo booth (which… whoops, we forgot to make sure the birthday girl had her turn). She will, though, see the pictures of those who she loves most gathered together, smiling from ear to ear, loving on her.
And I hope when she looks back on pictures of the wreck of the cake, the scar on my hand from the late night shattered cake platter, and the watermelon bowling pins that our friends earnestly thought a 6 year old made, she realizes how much we love her and how excited we were to celebrate one of her first milestones. Then, when she looks at pictures of her much scaled down second birthday party, I hope she understands that expression of love can be shown in several different ways – including through professional event planners.
Maggie lives in Georgia with her husband, 1 year old daughter, and two spoiled dogs. She has over 40 Pinterest boards that she browses through instead of working on the sorority t-shirt quilt she started 7 years ago. She considers herself a blessed momma and wife, child of God, compulsive event planner, aspiring craft master, Southern Living fanatic with a penchant for bad reality tv, wearing big hats, other people’s blogs, football Saturdays, and Scotch.