Am I a bad mum for outsourcing as much of a recent birthday party as possible? In theory, outsourcing isn’t a bad thing. I built a business on people outsourcing their housework, after all. Many companies exist to provide services to people who are too busy or can’t be bothered. When it came time to organize a birthday party for my youngest daughter, I sought to do as little as possible. I reasoned that I’ve made big efforts in the past – like the tea-party themed decorating event I did last year, which left pervasive pink sparkles around the house for months. I figured I’ve done the DIY party to death, and it has been just a month since I had surgery. My daughter will still love me if I coast this year on the party planning, right?
It was all done in a day. One drive out to Ray Friel Centre to book swimming party. They decorate the party room, handle dishes, decorating, food, and drink. Then an email to The Loot Bag Lady, who was able to accommodate my request for a mermaid-themed giveaway. My husband dealt with a friend who would create a special mermaid cake for the party. My daughter and I wrote out 7 invitations together that evening, and she delivered them to her friends the next day. Done!
What do they say about when something seems too good to be true? A week before the party I received a confirmation call from the party coordinator at Ray Friel Centre. Actually, I received 2 calls from her, which went to voicemail and I never bothered to call her back. I thought “Yes, the party is on Sunday – what else is there to say??” Thankfully she did her job well, and reached me on her third try. As she read over the details, I realized that I may have written the wrong start time on the invitations. One of the mums quickly confirmed that yes, I had asked everyone to arrive at the party when it was supposed to end. My well-planned outsourced party would have been my sad 8 year old all alone, wondering where her friends were. I was horrified that I made such a mistake. Can I still blame it on post-op fuzziness?
I had 48 hours to get everyone to the party on time. I had emails for only 2 mums. I credit my uber-organized daughter for diligently telling her friends. Everyone called to confirm they got the message. I figured all my work was done.
Wrong again. I hadn’t really thought through what it would be like to be responsible for 8 little girls in a wave pool. That 1 hour felt like an endless day of screeching, being splashed, kicked, and yelled at by lifeguards for not being close enough to one of the kids. My husband and I went into a military-style communication pattern of flashing fingers at each other, indicating the number of kids we each had in our sights, to make sure we always had our 8. Then I was alone in the change room, holding up towels for the shy girls, counting socks and packing backpacks.
Next time I outsource a party, I’m going to pick something that doesn’t require me to wear a swimsuit.