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Alien Masks

March 5, 2008

For my son’s birthday party I made ten alien masks, out of glow-in-the-dark foam, with styrofoam bopping thingies. I made a comet dart board, and a moonscape birthday cake, and flying saucers to decorate. Friends had fun, son had fun, and whew! it’s done.

I hate entertaining. It’s massively stressful for me. In the hours before people arrive I run around picking up clutter and snapping at my husband (yes, I have Fly Lady CHAOS–can’t have anyone over syndrome. Her eight hundred emails I deleted today aren’t helping much.). Once people come, I settle down and enjoy their company, I really do. And I think how glad I am my son has friends to invite, and glad that all the activities worked out okay. I should do this again sometime, I think.

More on entertaining people later; that’s another post. But for now, I want to say that spending a lot of time doing birthday stuff is one of my “I Am A Good Mother Because I …” things. Things I do both to become a good mother, and so I can tell myself that I am one. In order to be a good mother / I am a good mother because I… make glow in the dark alien masks, I bake bread, I read books. As if there were some kind of score card–I get bonus points for an elaborate Halloween costume, I get docked when I forget to go to my son’s assembly (as I did just three days after the alien party).

What I wonder is how much my kids care about these things. Does it matter to them that I stayed up late making the comet dart board (or, for my daughter’s party, eight yarn-intensive magical pony headbands)? Do they realize that I am Not Crafty, so that my extending myself to find and do cute things is supposed to represent somehow my love for them, my sacrifice to be more like the other cuter moms? Do they see love in alien masks, or is the love covered up by my tense voice as I frantically hide the living room clutter in my bedroom before the guests arrive?

5 Comments leave one →
  1. March 6, 2008 3:33 pm

    OH Emily, I feel the same way about birthday parties (and Halloween costumes, too, but I usually get points docked because my son’s stuff comes from Target). I didn’t get parties growing up, so I vowed to do them for my kids. THEY STRESS ME TO THE MAX!! But I definitely feel like when they are done, I can out a check in the “Good mother for the day!” column, and call it good for a while. And I do think the kids, at least ones above preschool, care and remember parties. My mother threw exactly ONE party for me growing up, when I turned 5, and I still remember the feeling of being special, all day. It’s huge. So you go, mom.

  2. Emily permalink*
    March 7, 2008 3:31 am

    Thanks, Heather! It’s worth it when I see how special my kids feel. But I grumble a lot along the way. I am glad to know that other people get stressed by parties too.

  3. March 7, 2008 5:19 am

    I love this post. And I think the stress is worth it if for no other reason than so when they are teenagers and no matter how fabulous a mom you are they think they’ve got the worst mom in the world you will have evidence (I’m talking about pictures, not scrapbooks, I’m only making the terrestial kingdom because I don’t scrapook) to the contrary!

  4. March 7, 2008 5:24 am

    In case you were wondering, that comment is from me. (I got my blog back, by the way. Wahoo!)

  5. May 27, 2008 5:20 am

    You’ve hit the nail on the head–I run a scoreboard on my mothering too. Your analysis, will they remember the love in the party or the tense voice, is heart-wrenching.

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