I have had many jobs in my time as an early childhood teacher (teachers never work only one job at a time, it’s part of the gig) that I assumed had prepared me well for raising a child and being a parent. I’ve headed up preschool and toddler classrooms, taught first grade, been a nanny, worked at an after school program for Elementary school kids, and helped run a home for Autistic children. Out of all the jobs that I have had, one stands out in particular as the providing me with the most useful skills for parenthood: Event Planning.
How I became an event planner is a long story. I’ll save that for another time. During my stint as an event planner I learned from some of the best how to throw one hell of a party. Who knew motherhood is just one big party?
Start from the End, Not the Beginning: This is key to a good party, and to a good day in mommyhood. If you want your guests to leave feeling happy and appreciated, figure out how you’re going to end the event and then work back from there.
For moms, think of how you want your day to go, from start to finish, then start at the end and work backwards. For example….
Think of the last task of the day and work backwards from there. Figure out what you can do, and when you can do it in advance to make each task go smoothly.
What is the last thing I have to accomplish today? Feed Baby E
What will I need to do to get it done and how much time will it take? I need to prep her food, which I do in bulk. This takes about 2 hours total from start to finish.
When can I do this? The morning, before we head off to swimming lessons.
Make a game plan, and move back to the next task.
Prepare yourself to be amazed at the smooth day ahead.
The Devil’s in the Details: Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff is a great motto, until the small stuff is a misplaced guest list or, in mom land, an empty gas tank on the side of the highway with a baby in the car. Add five minutes onto each item in your schedule to check for things like low gas lights and to make sure you have all that you need (you made the lunch, did you grab it?). Most importantly, take a few minutes for a deep breath. Channel your inner calm and think clearly about what you are doing in that moment.
You Can’t Please Everyone: Just like there will always be the guest who will complain no matter what, there will always be the person telling you you’re not parenting your child the right way. Sometimes that person is yourself. Whoever it is, take it into consideration knowing all the while that while there’s always room for improvement you are doing the best you can.
Remember Who the Guest of Honor is at All Times and Treat Them as Such: In my world this is Baby E. Things may be falling apart all around, from missed deadlines to car repairs and sudden moves, but the guest of honor will never know, and will instead feel welcomed, appreciated and well taken care of.
Appreciate Everyone Who Helped Make This Possible: “Thank You” is a powerful phrase that will keep your seasoned event volunteers coming back for years to come. Saying and hearing “Thank You” and “I appreciate you” to and from your spouse or partner can make a world of difference in your relationship, your home life, and subsequently your mental state. Whether it’s walking the dog, folding the laundry or changing a diaper, acknowledge these seemingly mundane tasks as they are what make the whole thing work.
Make Community Connections: Getting “in” with the social connectors will put your event on the map. Having a strong support network as a mom will keep you sane. Putting yourself out there to meet new friends through mom groups, kid classes, etc can be a scary proposition, and yes, you’ll have to sort through the crazies. It’s all worth it to have a group of amazing people you can call on for everything from a good vent, a much needed happy hour,or someone who will understand just how tired you really are and bring you a treat from Starbucks.
Have Fun and Enjoy The Party: “It’s your baby, enjoy it!” applies well to both event planning and parenthood. There will be crappy days, literally days filled with crap, in diapers and elsewhere. There will be days that will bring you to tears. You can choose to dwell on these or you can choose to focus on all the wonderful, laughter filled, hilarious moments you’ve had together and all that are still to come. Where your focus is is where you are headed.
Party On Mom.