If you haven’t figured it out yet…we’re a Halloween-loving family.
(Pictured above: Dad, at left, as Alan Parrish from Jumanji; Mom, at right, as Beetlejuice; and Aurora as Ace Ventura.)
So when my husband and I started planning Aurora’s first birthday party, we jumped at the opportunity to turn it into a Spook-tacular Monster Mash.
I immediately got to work on Pinterest, looking for cute, yet creepy ways to decorate for Halloween; I wanted to find a unique way to spin the classics. After I stumbled on a few different ideas, we decided to go with a pastel theme.
This picture was the inspiration for her whole party:
We were on a SUPER BUDGET for this party, having just picked up our entire lives and moved 500+ miles away. So I had to make almost all of the decorations myself, and find cheap and easy ways to make my ideas come to life.
I really doubted myself. And I felt like an extra shitty parent, having to find cheap shit and try and make it look cute. I shopped at the Dollar Store, and clipped coupons for the craft store. And I spent way too much time on Amazon trying to find cheaper versions of shit. I felt really defeated, and constantly talked down to myself for being broke.
But when the day of the party came, everything looked gorgeous, and I was so happy with how it all turned out.
And when I posted some party pics on Instagram, I got a flood of messages.
Like, so many that I kinda couldn’t keep up.
Some claimed I was “Super Mom” for putting together such a pretty party and dope Halloween costumes (don’t mind if I toot my own horn), others simply complimented the decorations and pointed out that it must have been so much work and that they could have never pulled that off themselves, especially with a one year old.
And as flattering as all that is (you like me?! You really really like me!!) it also makes my heart extremely heavy, because society perpetuates a norm that only awesome moms can do it all. That some women are just better than others at having their shit together and looking great while doing it. That, to be a rock star mom, you have to go all out at every occasion and never complain or have trouble doing it alone.
It would feel irresponsible for me to play into that expectation and simply accept your comments as fact. It’s tempting as hell, because mama could totally use the positive boost, but it’s fucked up because I’m not Super Mom. I’m just a regular mom like you, doing the best that I can (and sometimes failing pretty miserably).
That party was possible because of the wonderful people around me, supporting me, encouraging me, helping me, letting me bounce ideas off them, crying when I was too tired to do any more planning or prepping, and pitching in their effort to get it all done as well.
Yes, I did a lot, and I don’t want to diminish my effort. But don’t go thinking I pulled this all together in two days. I found that picture on Pinterest above that inspired the decor – I then spent almost two months (during Ro’s super quick daytime naps) turning that inspiration into low-cost decorations. I painted cardboard gravestones instead of buying them. I went to what felt like 10,000 pumpkin patches to find the cheapest pumpkins and painted them to match the theme. I bought plain frosted cakes and cupcakes at Market Basket and decorated them myself (which fucking sucked and I do not recommend). And so on.
But without the support and help from my tribe, this shit would have NEVER happened.
My amazing husband cut the cardboard into whatever shape I demanded. He listened to my wild ideas. He played with Ro while I burned myself with the hot glue gun for the 90th time. He blew up 250 balloons WITHOUT A PUMP and arranged them into a beautiful garland that personally, I think was the best damn thing about the decor.
My incredibly talented MIL offered to make and serve ALL THE FOOD. And if you know anything about her, she does not skimp. She put together some amazing food that left everyone asking if she caters.
My FIL manned the grill and let us raid his liquor cabinet so we didn’t have to spend so much on alcohol. He ran to the store to pick up lots of last-minute things, and cleaned the pool and patio so we had an amazing area to host the party.
My own mother listened to me cry countless times about how I didn’t have the money to give my daughter the party she deserved and how shitty that made me feel. She supported me and encouraged me more times than I can count.
And my dope, unparalleled friends showed up for me and were super good sports about wearing costumes. Their constant emotional support is partly what gets me through this thing called Motherhood.
So yes, the party turned out awesome (Thank God), but it was not an individual effort and I would hate for someone to feel less than, thinking they’re not a great Mom because they couldn’t do it alone. I didn’t do it alone. I never could. It takes a village, y’all. Thank you SO much to everyone for making it happen.