On top of heaving around this basketball in my belly, I also recently had to organise a birthday party for one of my kids. Here’s how I did it.
Apparently kids’ parties have become a bit of a source of stress for parents, with parties becoming more and more elaborate compared to days of yore. My daughter and son have been lucky enough to have been invited to several parties recently and while there were some parties that were very well organised, there were also others that were pretty casual and regardless of what type of party it was the kids had a ball, whether $100 or $1000 was spent, or if the cake was made by mum or a professional.
I’m of the opinion that the kids shouldn’t have a birthday party every year – my kids each had a party when they turned one with family and friends one, and my daughter had a party at the park when she turned 3. Now that she’s got school friends we decided she would have a party for her 5th party. (It may also be the last party with friends we have in Sydney before my husband’s intention to move us all to Perth.) Being 36 weeks pregnant when the party was to be held meant organisation had to be pretty tight before I became too tired and for possible early birth of the baby! Here’s how I did it.
1. Start the preparations early.
I mean months early. The party was in March and I began thinking about it in December. In January I created a Whatsapp group with the mums of the kids from my daughters’ school and gave them a headsup about the party (because I knew from experience March, and Saturdays, were always busy). The same thing could be done with a “Save the Date” event on Facebook (assuming you’re friends with the parents on Facebook).
The parties my kids had been to always had a theme of some sort (fairies, Disney princesses, Trolls etc) and I scoped out some ideas with my daughter as to possible ones for herself. I was aware she wanted to invite some boy pals from school and while she had initially thought of Beauty and the Beast as her theme, she was also into Super Hero High School and we both decided that a superhero theme would be good for both her girl and boy mates.
With the theme chosen, I bought party favours and decorations online in January, and had them all by the end of the month.
2. Make PDF invitations (or generic paper ones)
I have a little bit of experience with graphics programs, so was able to whip up a PDF invitation using the superheroes theme to send to the mums through the Whatsapp group. This I sent out about a month out from the party – by then though the mums already knew about the party through the first Whatsapp message, it was just a matter of organising the day to include the party for their kids. The advantage of the PDF invitation is that it could be saved on the phone through Whatsapp, Facebook or email that parents can easily access at any time (and if they happen to lose the paper invitation).
Of course, if you’re not a whiz on graphics programs generic paper invitations work just fine – it doesn’t have to go with the theme of the party, just as long as it’s got the essential info like date, time, RSVP details, the theme (if any), presents or no presents etc!
3. Delegate, outsource.
I’m not a baker by any stretch of the imagination, and there was no way I was slaving over the cake while pregnant! I’m very lucky to have a family friend who makes cakes though and she was able to help out with a great superhero themed birthday cake. The Trolls party we went to a month or so ago had a brilliant Smarties filled cake that was made by the birthday girl’s grandma. If you love baking then by all means make the cake, but for me having the cake made by somebody else was worth it.
My parents are Costco members and a lot of the food for the party was bought from there – again, there was no possibility of me spending hours in the kitchen, standing around making stuff! Costco do pretty decent food and really, kids aren’t picky, as long as the food is tasty. (Of course, it’s worth checking with parents beforehand if there are any allergies so you can cater for those children too.) You could look into platters that are already prepared for you, all you need to do is pick them up! For our party, the only things that were made from scratch were fairy bread (as requested by my daughter) and jelly, which were super simple.
I also organised an entertainer for the party, but this hadn’t been my plan initially – I thought I was able to run a few games with the kids and then let them run amok in the park. However, when I started feeling too heavy and tired, I decided to get an kids’ entertainer instead and honestly, she was worth every cent. She kept the kids busy, had them running around to work off all the party sugar, and was even able to sort out any disagreements between the kids. Definitely worth considering, especially for the younger group.
4. Make the time of the party practical for everybody.
This was always tricky as weekends are normally occupied with sport or other extracurricular activities. We decided to hold the party on a Saturday, from 10am to 12 noon. I guess we were lucky because being 5, the kids didn’t have too much on for a Saturday morning – some of the kids had swimming or dancing lessons (including my own) but they were on before the party, so they could still make it or were a little late. The time meant families could still have the rest of the day to hang out with each other (and for me, recover).
5. It takes a village to raise a child – so ask for help if you need it!
I’m really lucky that my parents are really hands on with helping out with the grandkids so they helped out with decorating the park, setting the tables and clearing up afterwards. However, the parents at my daughter’s school are also incredibly supportive and when they knew about the party I was offered tons of help! If you have a community like this it is really encouraging and a huge help, even outside of organising birthday parties.
There was an article recently about a mum who didn’t want the parents of the kids attending her own children’s parties to stay, but I tend to disagree with her. It was nice being able to chat to the parents outside of school, and have a proper conversation with them rather than the hurried chats we have at drop off or pick up. Even though my parents were there to help clean up at the end of, some of the parents also helped out, which they didn’t need to do but the help was greatly appreciated.
These are what helped me to survive organising a kid’s birthday party while heavily pregnant, and honestly it could be useful too if you are looking for a stress-free experience even if you’re not pregnant. Kids are pretty easy to please and as long as they’re fed and entertained, they’re pretty happy!