A wise friend once told me the worst part of being a parent is going to other kids’ birthday parties. Truer words have never been spoken.
Add to this the fact that the hubs works on Saturday leaving me with solo duty for all three kids- who are all under age 5. A few things result from this.
1. We do not attend many parties as the task is just too daunting for me to even consider.
2. I am the parent that has to sheepishly call the host mother and beg for an invite for the other children.
3. I am sometimes forced to hire a sitter and pay $10/hour so that I can take a child to a birthday party (because princess parties are just getting weird for my 3 YO son).
So overall you can see it becomes an issue. However I have learned to cope and I have just enough desperation in my eyes that other mothers generally take pity on me and help me with one (or two) of the kids. But sometimes it all gets to be too much.
This leads me to the worst birthday party experience of my life. It was a while back but I had to wait for substantial emotional healing before I could write about it.
It was our first invite since the new baby and I was in the throes of potty training Meeny (3). Needless to say we didn’t leave the house for months. The party was at the local gymnastics place which we have frequented so this was familiar territory. I thought it was probably time to venture out- after all we couldn’t remain hermits forever. So I began the planning.
Now for us to leave the house at 9:30am on a Saturday I need to begin planning by 3pm the preceding Wednesday. I had the car packed by Friday night. The diaper bag for Miny, the potty bag (complete with M&M rewards) for Meeny, the extra pants and 3 pairs of underwear for Meeny, the nursing shawl, extra nursing pads, the gift, and so on and so forth. You get the picture. I had the timeline all planned out.
7:00 am : wake, get kids breakfast, nurse the baby while they’re eating
8:00 am: put on yoga pants and giant sweatshirt, attempt makeup, tie hair in messy bun (its hip right?)
8:30 am: dress thing 1 and thing 2
9:00 am: nurse baby again
9:20 am: begin strapping kids into carseats
9:40 am : (because for some reason it takes us 20 minutes to get in the car) leave the house
10:00 am: arrive perfectly on time
It was flawless. Now my plan of attack once we arrived included getting all the kids out of the car and safely into the building. I had what would rival a strategic war tactic in place.
1. Get the baby carrier
2. Let Eeny (5) out of the car- hand her the gift
3. Let Meeny (3) out of the car
4. Herd said children into the building (praying I can find a good parking place)
5. Send Eeny to drop off the gift and into the party
6. Shuffle the boys into the bathroom and make Meeny go potty
7. Wrestle his 2 pairs of training underwear, rubber pants, and jeans back onto him
8. Send him into the party with a prayer that he doesn’t pee his pants in the foam pit
9. Change the baby’s diaper
There were a lot of moving parts but I’m proud to say that I executed them all flawlessly. I emerged from the bathroom with my freshly changed baby triumphant. “I AM SUPERMOM!” I victoriously shouted in my head. “I CAN DO ANYTHING!” I walked into the party ready to show off my new precious darling and receive the accolades of my mommy friends. “How do you do it with three?” they would ask. “You are amazing!” they would say. “And look at this precious angel, I just don’t know how you do it.” I could hear them now.
There were tons of parents and children milling around but I couldn’t find my group. You know, the ones you do the birthday party circuit with. As I got further into the gym I still saw no one I recognized. And then a horrible thought hit me.
I made my way to the front desk and panic stricken asked the girl “Um, who’s birthday party is this?”
“Jenny’s” she replied.
[Jenny!! Who in the hell is Jenny?!] I screamed in my head.
“Not Ava’s?” I pleaded, my voice beginning to crack.
She sadly shook her head and as I looked up from the desk I saw Eeny darting towards me tears streaming down her face.
“IT’S NOT AVA’S PARTY!!!!” she screamed.
The adrenaline kicked in and I went into full combat recon mode. I quickly told Eeny to go and find our gift in the pile and to bring it back to me. I strapped the baby back in the carrier as quickly as I could and scanned the gym for Meeny. He was happily bouncing on a trampoline with several kids we had never seen in our lives. I ran to the edge of the trampoline and knowing there was no reasoning or explaining to him what was going on I did the only thing possible.
With a big smile on my face I motioned for him to come to me. He happily bounced his way over to me and as soon as he was within my reach I snatched him off the trampoline and bee-lined for the door. I scooped the baby carrier without even stopping just as Eeny came running back with our present and we were out the door.
Before the kids knew what was happening I had them strapped into their carseats and we were squealing tires out of the parking lot. It was at this time it sunk in…for both of them. And the wailing and tears started.
“WHY CAN’T WE STAY MOMMY? I WANT TO GO TO THE PARTYYYYYYYYY!” and so forth and so on.
This was when I snapped. I too burst into tears. It could have been my cocktail of sleep deprivation and hormones. All the pent up stress of the morning and the planning and flawless execution had culminated into this. This terrible horrible no good very bad day. And (having mentioned that I had snapped) did the only thing I could think of. I drove directly to my hubby’s work. Bawling. With 3 screaming kids in the car.
He was taken by surprise to say the least when we pulled into the parking lot. (He happened to be outside at the time.) I could barely catch my breath in between the sobs and the shudders. My nose was running my mascara was running and I couldn’t even get out what had happened. Surely something awful he thought as he held me when my knees buckled in despair right there in the gravel parking lot.
“It *gasp* was *gasp* the wrong *gasp* week,” and the sobs took over again.
“Wait. What?!” He looked perplexed.
“The party *gasp*- next week.” And I looked up at him tears streaming down my face. Surely he could see what a failure of a mother I was. That this was all too much for me. That I had ruined everything.
He pondered a moment giving me a quizzical look and then he burst out laughing.
“Oh man!” he shrieked. “You are going to have one hell of a blog post!”
And that, my friends, is the birthday party from hell.
About the Author
Ashford lives with her husband, three children, and three dogs in SC. When she’s not pregnant, breastfeeding, or polishing off a bottle of wine she is busy holding down her demanding sales career or working at their family owned business. She blogs about her crazy escapades and living life in between being the bread winner and the bread maker at Biscuits and Crazy or you can follow her on Facebook.