This time last year I was firmly in the No Party camp. It was a month before my daughter’s third birthday and her only request was to spend the day riding a pony, eating cake and opening presents. Easy. I was totally let off the party hook.
I looked on with amusement as friends organised parties for their soon-to-be three year olds. They posted Facebook updates about feeling stressed, alongside pictures of intricate handmade party invitations. “They’ve totally brought this on themselves,” I thought with smug disdain.
You see, I saw these mums and secretly judged their choices to host spectacular parties for their kids. To me, it seemed like the parties weren’t really for the children but were for the mums themselves, giving them the opportunity to show off their amazing motherhood skills – a chance for a bit of one-up-mumship, if you like.
These were Pinterest Party Mums, good and proper. Not only did they arrange a birthday party for their child but they made the invitations, decorations and food themselves. They wheeled in entertainment and spent hours planning the whole spectacle. Then they blogged about it and got lots of traffic from their amazing ideas via Pinterest. “Yeah, whatever – who has time for that crap?” I thought, as I dived head-long into another 80 hour working week. I was lucky to find a pair of clean socks each day let alone make 30 handmade party invitations.
And now, here we are. In exactly one month it will be my daughter’s birthday and – guess what – she wants a party. Not just any old party, but a rainbow-themed party. She has been very specific about the rainbow element.
Up until just a few months ago I was still in the No Party camp. I still looked on with mild disdain as I read blog posts about elaborate birthday parties for four year olds. I wondered where these parents found the time to organise such incredible events. But, oh, how the tables have turned.
My last couple of weekends have looked something like this:
Yep, that’s right. I saw an invitation I liked on Pinterest (this one) and spent my Friday and Saturday evenings making them. 20 in fact. Funny how much you can get done on an evening when you’re not able to drink wine.
The thing is, I was almost embarrassed when I sent my daughter off to pre-school to proudly hand out her rainbow birthday party invitations. When one of the pre-school mums told me how much she loved the invitation I was a bit apologetic. “Oh I’m such a loser,” I laughed. “It’s only because I’m pregnant and have nothing better to do at the moment!”
But that was a bit of a lie, actually.
The reason I spent my precious weekend evenings painstakingly crafting twenty birthday party invitations for my daughter is, well, for my daughter. I wanted to make something special that she would be excited to give to her friends. In fact, she’s even taken on her own interest in the rainbow delights on offer on Pinterest.
Before you roll your eyes and think, “She’s not even four, what’s she doing on Pinterest?”, let me explain. It was 7am and, as I struggled to wake up, I let my daughter look at rainbow party ideas on the iPad. She was excited about her party (she knows we’ve booked the village hall) and wanted to talk about it. So I opened up Pinterest and she quickly worked her way around the rainbow party pages, pinning ALL THE THINGS.
This is the first time my child has really understood that it’s her birthday. She knows what a birthday party is because she has been to a few (and loved them). For the first time in her short little life she has asked to have a party. She wants to invite all her new friends, which is a big deal because we haven’t even lived here a year and it took her a while to settle into her new pre-school.
So before anyone judges me for letting the sisterhood down by embracing the Pinterest-Party trend and going all-out with home-made decorations, fancy vintage style straws and fiddly food, take a moment and realise this isn’t to prove a point to other mums. I’m not interested in outdoing anyone – most of the parties my daughter’s been to have been with her dad anyway as I’ve been working – I just want to do my little girl proud.
And, for the first time ever, I find myself with both the time and inclination to embrace the party mania. Her excitement and enthusiasm is infectious. I get a thrill every time I win a new rainbow party bargain on eBay. I am actually enjoying making home-made tissue paper pom-poms and rainbow paper wreaths. My mum has got in on the action and offered to make some party bags, we’ve even discussed at length what should go in each bag. I’ve booked a kids’ entertainer and planned a colourful spread of party food.
This is all stuff I wouldn’t have had time to do if I was still working 80 hours a week. But it’s also stuff my daughter would never have wanted before – and may never want again.
So, for now, yes – I’m a Pinterest-Party Mum. And you know what? I’m proud to be one.