Don't Bash Our Bash: An Open Letter to the Party Haters
Dear Haters of Creative People:
If I see one more letter bashing a mom who has hosted a creative birthday party or written a creative play-on-words poem or tagline and hodge-podged it on a package of goldfish crackers, I will lose my effing-wheels-spinning mind. Really. I will. I will unleash a bag of confetti on you, having first doused you in pink—not yellow—no HFC lemonade, (and pink, because it goes with the theme of the party) so you’re all sticky and confetti-y.
I am not a Pinterest-er, or whatever you want to call someone who Pinterests (is it a verb or a noun?). I mean, I’ve been on the site to browse, but I have no desire to pin anything. I am a writer, a blogger, a filmmaker, a home-cook, and a mom (for which the job description alone will fill up this entire page), and currently I do not have time to write, direct, and produce short films or web series or plays because of my kids’ ages and all that their lives entail. This is not a permanent state, it’s a temporary state. So, what to do with all that pent up creativity?! What. To. Do.
Ah-ha! (Thanks, Oprah!) Since I made a living using my imagination, why not apply it to my kid’s birthday parties? All it takes is a theme, a trip to Party City and some pixie dust and I’m flyin’! The ideas are unstoppable and I can’t wipe the smile off my face with all the endless possibilities. (Of course a budget is in place, so I have to reign it in.) I create an imaginary world because, quite frankly, kids don’t visit those often enough these days thanks to electronics. So, if you’re lucky enough to be invited to my kid’s party, for two hours your child will be, well, a child. And they’ll nosh on homemade food – not because I’m trying to one-up anyone, simply because it tastes better and I put the time into it to make it taste better. And honestly, isn’t it refreshing not to have pizza at the third party of the weekend? You can thank me instead of hating me.
Once I come up with a theme, I run it by my daughter, who is old enough to care and have an opinion. Then we do this weird thing where we get in bed and Google ideas and look on Pinterest to get inspired to create her party. Together. I think child development experts call that quality time. Whatever you want to label it, we both are happy and have a lot of fun planning things out together.
The week of the party is treated like a week in television production. See, I worked in television for ten years, so putting on a creative birthday party is second nature to me. The party is the “shoot” and everything leading up to it is considered “pre-production.” There’s no stress, just lots of coordinating. And it’s a nice break from mama drama and playing bus driver. I get in my zone. Turn on music. Text pics to my BFFs as I go along to get their opinions. I truly get lost in a world of imagination with food and decorations and the flow of the party. I personally challenge myself to out-do myself with each party and with each birthday cake. I know no other moms in my circle who are doing this. Instead they’re spending their time being doctors, lawyers, trainers, executives, etc. If I had those professions, I’d be doing those things, too. But I never was any of those things, and I was built with a different kind of brain. I have been creative my whole life and I would epically fail at all of those jobs. Know your strengths. And yeah, throwing my kids’ parties is partially self-serving because I can’t go fulfill my passion in TV or film right now. And no, I’m not some well-to-do SAHM who can afford to take a break from her career to raise kids. I just chose to take my career and life in a different direction when we decided to have kids. We all make different choices and sacrifices.
Sure, there are moms out there who go all haywire creative for competitive reasons, but I’m not one of them. And every time a working mom (technically, we’re all working) bashes a mom who thought it would be cute and clever to add a little sparkle to your child’s life, you look like an asshole. You do. You’re telling these women to “stop” because you can’t do it. Are you going to go around telling every person who can do something you can’t do to stop? The world would not be able to spin on its axis if we all didn’t have our own gifts. We’d be boring robots. Is that what you want? Hey, are you a lawyer? Should I tell YOU to stop drafting contracts because I can’t read one without falling asleep? Are you a doctor? Should I tell YOU to stop listening to someone’s heart because I don’t know how? Should I?
The next time you get invited to some “over-the-top” party that makes you feel inferior, just be grateful. I know, grateful is not as fun as cynical, but try. Just appreciate that someone enjoyed doing this and say thank you and smile. Because really, that’s all we want.
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