Posted by: little sprout creations
December 8, 2011
I get asked sometimes about how I juggle my design work with my mommy work. My typical response is “not gracefully.” Although I’ve made it my goal to restrain my Little Sprout life to between the hours of 7-10pm, many days I find myself sneaking in time here and there throughout the day. A quick design during naptime, an email while the girls are already watching an episode of Curious George. Unfortunately, sometimes I really goof, and find myself pressed with a deadline that forces me to neglect my real jobs – mommy and housewife. There have been many many many days where household chores were neglected for more fun things, like entering design challenges on Minted.com. I’ve had a few afternoons that I’m not proud of, where Elmo and a bucket of Goldfish crackers took care of my daughters while I feverishly cut out wedding menus, or even more ridiculous – a morning where I mostly ignored my youngest daughter in order to set up for her first birthday.
As I wrote this yesterday, I was preparing to host a “favorite things” holiday party for my daughters’ playgroup. In past years, I’ve stayed up late, churning out pretty little food cards, menus, decorations, etc. I wake up tired and crabby, continue on with my preparations, feverishly vacuum the carpet (that will be covered in pretzel crumbs one second into the party), finish cooking 30 different dishes for 10 women and their babies, space out for most of the party because I’m exhausted, and after it’s all done, see the pictures on facebook and wonder why I wasn’t around to see that funny thing, or why I didn’t even take the time to taste that appetizer I made. And most importantly, I don’t spend anytime with the people I’m throwing the party for – my daughters and friends.
As a party planner and designer, I really really love this stuff. I love making a card that says “cinnamon rolls” even when it’s very obvious that that’s what’s being served. I love seeing a tiny tag on a creamer pitcher. I love perfectly designed favors. And there’s nothing wrong with that, as long as I’m throwing the party for myself, or someone else who really loves that stuff.
But my daughters don’t care about those things. And I’m guessing their toddler friends don’t either. And it’s important for me to decide in advance, “Who am I throwing this party for?” And let me tell you, it’s really tough. I’m always excited to show off new designs and ideas on this blog, but I’m trying to remember that not everything needs to be picture-perfect and blog-ready, especially when it’s just for our family. I’m trying to remember that sometimes the girls and I can do a craft project, and I don’t need to take the perfect picture of it for the blog. Sometimes, I can throw a party and let Leah make the appetizers and not stress about not having the perfect shot for a tutorial.
Holiday time is a stressful time. But it really shouldn’t be, and it doesn’t need to be. If you’re planning a holiday party this year, or just planning a holiday dinner with your family, ask yourself “Who is this for? What do they want?” My guess is, they don’t want you up all night making that overly-complicated dessert. They don’t want you to wake up early to make those crescent rolls that take you all day to make. They just want to be with you and be loved by you. And they want you to be happy. And if the hostess isn’t happy, nobody is going to be either.
Instead of mopping my floors this morning, I spent a few extra minutes helping my girls get dolled up for their party. Instead of cooking last minute dishes while my friends were here, I got to actually eat the simple dishes that I pre-made the night before. Instead of making a million small little cards the night before that said “blueberry bars” and “coffee,” I brought Leah over to talk about how SHE made the blueberry bars, and how the coffee is from my cousin’s brand new coffee shop in Chicago. Instead of taking 1000 photos, hoping for the perfect shot for the blog, I sat with my daughters while they exchanged presents with their friends.
It’s 1:30 now, my girls are napping, my house looks like the aftermath of a toddler frat party – same as it does after all of our other parties. The only difference is that I was there when that wrapping paper got torn off. And I was there when that juice spilled. And I was there when ALLLLLLL of those blocks got dumped out. I was a guest at my own party, and I loved it. And the best part is, it makes the cleanup so much easier when each plate, each spill, each toy is a little memory of the big fun we just had.
I hope you’ll consider thinking about who you’re throwing your party for, and most importantly, I hope you’ll consider being a guest at your own party, even if it means eliminating the on-demand omelette bar that you’re planning (seriously seriously skip that.) Your happiness and lack-of-anxiety (and quite possibly lack of tears) will be more of a treat to your family and guests than anything you could have made them. Try it and let me know if you had as great a time as I did today.