Party Planning Tips From A Bad Mom

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I refuse to allow Pinterest make me feel guilty over my inability to bake a 3-dimensional Star Wars cake featuring Yoda (made of marshmallows and herbal food coloring) battling Darth Vader (created using homeopathic, gluten-free, artisanal, free-range corn husks and honey). That’s bullshit.

I will not feel inadequate because I failed to create a color-coordinated, thematically appropriate snack table boasting homemade organic Lego-shaped “fruit snacks” and dehydrated berries arranged in the shape of Van Gogh’s Starry Nights. That’s sooomuch bullshit.

I will not allow myself to feel bad because I did not hand-deliver, hand-pressed, hand-cut, hand-stamped invitations boasting hand-drawn caricatures of Ninja Turtles. Naturally drawn using plant-based dyes and pens I whittled from compost twigs. Again, total bullshit!

There is absolutely no way in hell I will construct elaborate favor bags consisting of homemade bubbles and Spiderman masks lovingly sewn with recycled felt and thread salvaged from an unravelling cashmere throw that was part of my late-grandmother’s estate. BULLLLLLSHIIIIIIT!

Oh no – when I throw a party the planning involved requires less effort than getting a flat tire. It’s not intentional, per se, but maybe it is – out of a deep-seated fear of rejection. Like what if noone shows up after you’ve just spent hours upon hours upon hours erecting a teepee in your backyard that has secret passageways to Toys R Us?

But the truth of the matter is, I just can’t get it together, and maybe it’s deep-seated rebellion against the Perfect Super Mommies who are stalking me with their 53.6 Simple Ways To Turn Your Cat Into A Decepticon (step 1: sedate cat).

When I plan a party I focus all of my attentions on poor time management and the procurement of adult beverages. Allow me to walk you through my anti-Martha Stewartized process:

1. Two months before the party mentally plan out the invitations you will design, order, and send. Every week remind yourself to do the invitations because children love mail, and the written word is dying! Approximately 2 weeks before the party send an email to the parents inviting their kids to a party, whilst insisting to yourself that next year, things will be different. Next year, you swear, will contain a paper invitation. Repeat this step for choosing a party location only to end up having it at home because of disorganization.

2. Order a cake. Priorities! (I love cake.)

3. Forget you’ve planned the party until some organized parent asks what your child would like for their birthday. Desperately (and poorly) try to mask your “OH SHIT!” face as you realize the f–king birthday party is in FOUR DAYS and you can’t even remember the theme. Tell inquiring parent your kid wants refreshments for their birthday.

4. Drive to Costco. Have a fleeting notion of making cheese cut-outs in the shape of ABCs. Vaguely recall the list you made of fun party food ideas and little crafts you hoped to get done before the party. That ain’t happening. Grab chips. People like chips. Invite your two craft-savviest besties over the night before the party to “help you set up” – tell them you are panicking over the menu so they are guilted into preparing snacks.

5. The day of the party, approximately 2 hours before guests arrive, realize your vacuum cleaner is broken because the week before a random errant child sucked up an ant hill along with a gallon of organic milk. Berate husband and send him to Target. Sob silently in the bathroom while inhaling chocolate covered raisins. Decide to fuck cleaning in lieu of doing your makeup. Text husband to get paper plates and napkins. Hope the kid whose birthday party it is manages to change out of their pajamas before the guests arrive.

6. One hour before guests arrive make sure the wine is chilled. Three days ago, before school pickup, you spent a leisurely hour browsing the liquor store selection. The important things at these parties are that the adults are sauced up enough to a) avoid awkward small talk, and b) ignore their children because the purpose of these things is to not have to entertain your children.

15 minutes prior: realize you have not wrapped a single birthday present and can’t find tape.

7. As the party is beginning, start setting out food. This way if no one shows up you don’t have to dejectedly put away all the food. I like to imagine this last-minute arranging gives me the blase air of a woman who is so busy, important, and impossibly unbothered by the conventionality of motherhood, that putting out cheese and crackers is not a source of stress. Internally I am furious that, yet again, I am reduced to serving cheese and crackers out of disorganization. WHY CAN’T I BE A PINTEREST MOMMY FOR JUST ONE DAY?!

8. Nudge a cat hairball behind the sofa as the most Pinterest-y of the Pinterest moms arrive.

9. Drink wine, eat cake, and realize, that no one – not the birthday child, not the wannabe uptight parents, and certainly not you – care if your house looks like a spread in Dwell Decor or Land Of Nod because really it’s all bullshit.

10. Promise, vow, swear on your untraquilized cat’s life that you will send ‘Thank You’ notes … next year.

There’s always next year.

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