How Not to Have a Breakdown at Your Child's Birthday Party
Don't be in the kitchen too much once guests arrive. You will resent it. Hot pizzas, ice cream are all good in theory but do require last minute supervision and serving. Jellies, quiche, mini pasties are all great kids' party food and can be prepared in advance.
Do give yourself 5 minutes to apply lippy and change into something clean. Nobody expects a supermodel mummy, but frankly you will feel like hell if one of the mummy goddesses turns up and you have baby sick/baked bean juice/hand marks in flour on your boobs. Not a good look.
Do buy your way out of a pickle. Yes I love cooking. Yes I am pretty capable at it. But no, I will not be baking my own bread for the children's sandwiches. If it stresses you out making it, or is very likely to go completely wrong in the process - buy it. Concentrate on the other stuff that will earn brownie points without leaving you stressed and frazzled.
Do think about simple games or entertainment. Pass the parcel, musical statues, simon says are good ol' favourites. Party entertainers can take care of this for you. There are lots of entertainment choices these days from jugglers to ah hem...cookery!
Do try to relax. Ha ha I hear you say! While it may be true that the hostess can never really completely ‘switch off' (after all its not exactly a spa day is it?) good planning and low expectations are key to making it a fun occasion. You are there to enjoy it too remember so pull in lots of helpers.
Do remember the cake. Homemade cake are without a doubt the best kind. Even a little rough around the edges with wonky icing they have a special charm. Children will not judge your botched attempts at creating a princess castle from a pack of jelly tots and a twix - they will love it warts and all! If you hate baking then why not buy a basic sponge and have a go at decorating yourself?
Do remember that you are brilliant whatever happens and however you get there. Mothers are essentially the imperfect assembly of guilt, self loathing and our children's bodily goop. We give ourselves a such hard time. Let's try to start loving ourselves a bit more and not feeling bad for taking the odd short-cut - yes, I mean you frozen puff pastry, you too shop bought meringue nests and definitely you ready-made custard. If it saves you time to enjoy the rest of your life then cheat, cheat, cheat! That is what I say, and possibly Delia Smith may have said before. Just don't tell your partner that this was my advice.
Written by: Katie Elfer, Mum and Director of Cookery Doodle Doo - cookery and food-craft events and parties for kids
Posted: 7th of December 2011