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Giving up the fantasy for the greater good

Submitted by on Tuesday, 10 June 2008 No Comment

Working moms have strange fantasies. My most recent: Big Guy’s “”dream”" fifth birthday party.

Working moms who’ve been at this for a while also learn when it’s time to let go of fantasies that the reality of the 24-hour day render impractical. Times like this, when I have to make these choices, make me a little sad. But I acknowledge what a snappish grump I become when I’m overstressed and overscheduled, and I swore long ago to quit doing that to the guys and myself.

The party was to have been a Batman theme, of course. The gala would have opened with me as Poison Ivy welcoming the guests, then playing a DVD in which “”Batman”" asked Big Guy and his friends to help save him from my evil clutches.

Through various party games, the guests would have “”earned”" various parts of their own tiny Batman ensembles. Junior caped crusader costumes complete, “”Batman”" himself would have arrived to thank them, just in time for cake and a pinata.

The problem: Big Guy’s birthday is about six weeks away and I haven’t even ordered costumes. And between now and Big Guy’s big day, I have Little Guy’s birthday, soccer registration, the start of kindergarten, an oddball work schedule and various outings planned. There’s also the Fourth of July, and that’s always a huge block party in our neighborhood.

Cursing the constraints of a 24-hour day as I frantically googled at 2 this morning for Little Guy’s birthday gear, I remembered Big Guy’s first birthday and threw in the towel on the “”dream party”".

I was up until 4 that morning baking his first cake. I would have wanted to make it anyway, but his egg allergy that had been diagnosed six weeks earlier moved it from the “”want to”" to the “”have to”" category. I seriously underestimated the learning curve of egg-free baking, though. It took four tries to get something quasi-edible. 

As a result, every little carpy, harpy thing anyone said that day crawled straight up my back. What should have been a joyous day ended with me bawling in my bedroom. And binging on the rest of Big Guy’s sad little cake later that night. 

In the end, Big Guy won’t miss my fantasy party in the least. As long as he has his Batman cake and pinata and a few friends from school show up, he’ll be fine. But he will miss happy mommy if I’m walking around with my hair on fire for the next six weeks.

Four years ago, I would have tried to pull it all off anyway. This year, I’m a little proud of myself for having learned to recognize well in advance when I’m about to drive off a cliff.

Crash averted!

On the bright side: I have 13 months left to pull off my fantasy party for his sixth birthday. That should be plenty of time.

Copyright 2008 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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