The Non-Domestic Mom's Guide To Hosting A Birthday Party
Let's say you've been taking Junior to a lot of birthday parties lately. They could be 4th birthday parties. Maybe 5th. Maybe even 6th, 7th, or 8th. Eventually, Junior's going to ask for or expect his/her own birthday party. You could say no, of course, but then you'd be The Meanest Mommy/Daddy on the Planet, which you're used to feeling like given how you won't let Junior drown in the bathtub or choke on a whole hot dog. The only difference is this time, you really would be The Meanest Mommy/Daddy on the Planet. I mean, who refuses to let their kid have a birthday party?
In the event you've found yourself in this position, I've created a trusty list of tips for hosting your own elementary-aged birthday party:
Tip #1: Whatever you do, DO NOT host that shit at your house. Other people's kids are nuts, yo. They'll jump on your couch and spill cake on your carpet and go through your drawers and head up to play in your room. You'll feel as though you're the only person in the universe who teaches your kids manners, and on more than one occasion, you'll begin to question whether your child's friends aren't really just chimpanzees dressed up in people costumes.
Do yourself a favor and rent out a bowling alley or a kids' fun zone or a rodent-themed pizza place or something. It might cost a bit extra, but the savings to your sanity will be totally worth the Benjamins.
Tip #2: Leave enough information on the invitations that a zoo animal could get in contact with you. People need specific instructions. People with small children especially need specific instructions. Ain't nobody got time for trying to figure out how and by when they should RSVP.
To make it easier on the invitees' parents, consider offering multiple methods for telling you yay or nay. Email address and cell phone number work. People can leave messages using both, which means you can happily avoid awkward conversations with complete strangers. (Unless, of course, they have questions. There's no avoiding the awkward conversation then.)
Some info you should be sure to include:
- party date and time (2 hours is PLENTY of time, trust me!)
- address of party location
- whether or not parents should also attend (but if you say they should, be prepared to have to entertain them as well)
- RSVP BY date
- request for info about any allergies, conditions, or special considerations
- cell or home number of parents of any kids attending (for emergency purposes)
Tip #3: Nix the expensive party favors. You'll notice your own kid coming home from these things, arms filled with handmade superhero capes and personalized canvas gift bags. Screw that noise. Want to know what's happened to all my kid's custom-made party gifts? So do I. When you find them, let me know, would you?
Instead of buying up the nearest party supply store, stick with cheap, kid-pleasing staples: candy, stickers, temporary tattoos. Better yet? Stick to nothing at all. They'll wind up forgetting about that kind of stuff the second they get home, anyway.
Tip #4: Keep it simple, stupid. Those Elmo tomato and Oscar the Grouch broccoli arrangements floating about Pinterest are cool and all, but how many kids do you know who are just dying for more veggies in their lives? What an incredible waste of time, money, and energy. Even if they do want all the greens you've got, they'll ruin your hours-long work with one terrorist-like hand grab anyhow.
A handful of balloons and whatever minimalist food package the place you're renting offers (remember, you're NOT hosting that shit at your own house) will suffice. Leave the elaborate birthday cake decoration made out of individual, microscopic pieces of sprinkles glued together with unicorn saliva and leprechaun farts to somebody not struggling to remember to put pants on her/his kids before taking them to school.
Tip #5: Stock up on alcohol — AND LOTS OF IT. This one's for you, not them (DUH). Once the festivities have — thank God — come to a close, you're going to want to do some unwinding in a way reminiscent of that first frat party of your freshman year in college. This kinda shit really takes it out of you.