Having four kids under the age of 13, I have definitely been to my share of birthday parties. The kids are always so excited to get an invitation and not going would just crush them. Though I love for them to be included, silently, I think, “Shoot, there goes my Saturday.” Or, “Darn It, I don’t have money for that now.” But, the biggest dread is forfeiting 4 hours to stand at a 5 year old birthday party, because they are just a little too young to go-it alone.
Still, for the sake of the kids, parents put on a happy face and put their children’s needs first. And honestly, I am usually glad I went for the networking with other parents, seeing my kids in a social setting and just absorbing the personalities of the children. Yes, I cling to those things with each invitation, that is…until recently.
Recently, I went to a Birthday Party for my 6 year old twins that defied odds. I found myself wanting to stay and enjoying every minute! So, let me share what the mom of the Birthday girl did right. Because it is totally possible for parents to have as much fun as the kids and honestly, I want to be that mom, next time around.
Upon arrival to this home party, the mom-host addressed the kids and said, “Hi kids! I am so glad you’re here. All of your friends are out back.” Then she looked at the parents and said, “And…all the parents are inside for some adult time.” I love adult time but what does that mean? Who cares? I was game.
I loved this immediate split. It was the host acknowledging that parents may not really want to stand around a hot backyard while kids go wild with a million friends on a swing set. She didn’t discourage me from walking my kids around back, or from staying out back to observe, she simply let it be known that there was a designated spot for moms and dads.
Upon entering the “adult area” which was the dining room and family room, adult foods were everywhere. Fresh shrimp, bruschetta, cheese and crackers, chocolate covered strawberries, a vegetable tray, meatballs…you name it, her table was covered with foods any adult with two senses would enjoy. I instantly thought of other parties, where parents are offered a piece of bad cake and a Dixie cup of sprite. Not this mom – she had it going on! I loved her instantly.
It wasn’t just the food that screamed, “Kids out!” The drinks did as well. She had pitchers of Pina Coladas, Premade Bloody Mary’s, 4 kinds of wine and an iced down bucket of beer. For non-drinkers, there was a tin bucket of can cokes and sprites, Hot Tea, and a pitcher of ice water. In addition, she had cups to match every kind of drink. The table just whispered, “Come hither.” As I poured my glass of wine, I thought, “I love this party.”
Smooth Jazz music was playing in the dining room, and many mothers found it easy to sit and chat. The host had laid the school newspaper, the local paper and two current magazines on the table. No one read them, but the cover or the text on those formats spurred on easy conversation. Oh…and did I mention candles were everywhere? Nice flickering touch for relaxed atmosphere.
In the attached living room was a big screen TV blaring a football game for the wondered dads, who, all of the sudden were kind of glad they got suckered into taking their kindergartener to a party. Peanuts and popcorn sat in heaping bowls on the coffee table, the curtains were drawn. The term “man-cave” came to mind and the men were happy.
The host-mom meandered in and out, in no hurry at all, announcing events like, “We are cutting the cake, for anyone who wants to join.” Of course, some did – and others just soaked in the peace of good food and drink. Lastly, the mom gave a “five-minute-warming” to the adults and said, “In about five minutes, I am going to bring all the kids in here to open presents. After presents you are free to go, but please don’t forget the goodie bags by the door.”
Leave? Who wants to leave?