It was Frog’s birthday party last weekend. Panicking about the weather and the fact I’d invited most of the village, I almost cancelled on more than one occasion.
But we held firm, managed to source a couple of gazebos and, miraculously, the party went ahead.
Because I’m truly an expert in party planning and parenting *ahem* I thought I’d share my top tips for a successful birthday bash.
1) Enlist help
Whether it’s in the form of a lovely pregnant sister-in-law to make the sarnies, or a couple of willing brother-in-laws to put up the gazebo, help comes in very handy. Especially when you get stressed and start shouting at your husband to, “Pull his finger out”.
Having help nearby ensures arguments are kept at bay, as politeness and the wish to avoid a full blown barney in front of family reigns. Helpful.
2) Invite cool people
Parents who are likely to make comparisons with their own child’s hugely successful party should be struck off the guest list. Instead, only invite cool people who will turn a blind eye to the lack of seating and expensive children’s entertainment, making themselves at home to get their own drinks from the kitchen when needed.
It also helps when they have rather lovely children, who also like to have food fights and cause mayhem, therefore taking the pressure off you to be the only perfect parent at the party.
3) Cling film
This is a marvellous product that works very well. Especially when it’s used properly to actually cover ham sandwiches, rather than just being draped over the top of the plate in a loose fashion. I hear that – when properly applied – cling film can actually avoid the incidence of stale sandwiches. We’ll find out next year.
Forget deckchairs or any form of adult seating. It really isn’t needed. Instead, pretend you knowingly chose to forget about hosting anyone taller than 2 foot, by chucking a few large cushions on the grass.
And then accept that the small people have first refusal.
5) Teach your child the mantra, “It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to”
Crying, almost choking on food, shouting loudly and wallowing in any form of attention should all be encouraged. Where else can a child exercise their inner diva, if not at their own birthday party?
Because what you really, really want the day after the party, is to be woken at 6.30am by your toddler climbing into bed with you, wearing their favourite birthday present. This is an unmissable treat that must be encouraged at all times. Seriously.
Do feel free to add to the list with any gems of your own…