Last Saturday was my daughter, Amber's 7th Birthday Party. A Very Vicious Viking Party! In my post party exhaustion, I curled in a ball and wandered whether it was worth all the effort! As a control freak, it's hard to accept that there is the inevitability of things not necessarily going according to plan. There will always be things you forgot to prepare. New little friends too shy to join in or those too difficult to control. A wind so strong that the cake blows off the stand and all down your dress...! But it's the age old problem of not having enough pairs of hands or versions of yourself during the party itself, that causes the most problems. So it's this that I always need to work on, to prevent the process killing me... again and again!
The majority of kids turned up looking wonderful in Viking costumes! They had so much fun casting rune stones to find out their futures. The 'Seer' being housed in a tent complete with stag horns. Then they engaged in raids on England, France and Italy from their long boat.
My exhaustion was partly due to the fact I didn't follow my own steps to 'planning perfect parties' (see my post.... http://www.hoppingharesparties.com/planning-perfect-parties-step-step/ ). We were so busy over Chinese New Year and before, that I wasn't able to allow myself enough preparation time. I basically had just over two weeks. I also managed inadvertently, to design things that became very time-consuming to realize.
I thought a lovely little traditional Viking board game would be nice for a going home present. Just cut 16 x square pieces of plywood, sand, paint and stick on a printout that I would design...easy! But no, it took ages to source a company that was willing to sell and cut such a small quantity of wood. The spray glue kept on bobbling under the paper print-out. Then once I had re-done those several times, the top layer of sealer again wrinkled the paper, or worse, made the colours run. After doing several again, I put them outside to dry. However, drops of water, from I don't know where...or insect pee or something, left bleached-out blobs on the surface. So I had to do those yet another time!
Handmade, small versions of the Viking board game Tretavl to take home and a large version to play at the party.
The simple idea of having cardboard shields for the kids to paint, turned out far less simple to implement. Have you ever tried cutting out 32 x circles from double thickness corrugated cardboard?! Exhausting and impossible to get a nice clean cut! Then of course, I wanted a Viking longboat cut from the same cardboard...!
There were also the hours wasted searching on-line for Viking charms, to make necklaces. I needed a supplier that could guarantee delivery within 2 weeks. Only one company from the UK could help me. So the charms, that were made in China, were shipped to the UK, then came all the way back to Singapore! The ones direct from China wanted 2 months for shipment...!
These problems were exacerbated by my short preparation time. Had I stuck to my usual 4 weeks, a lot of the stress and lack of sleep would have been avoided. Basically, things ALWAYS take longer than you think!
Cardboard shields that were painfully difficult to cut out! But looked fantastic when the kids painted/decorated them all. I love this photo of them all about to go on a raid, shouting and raising their shields!
Dealing with the workload on the day itself
I think the most exhausting bit, is the preparation and hosting on the day itself. How does one deal with the massive work load?! Baking and decorating the cake and preparing all the food. Setting up, in this case, in the nearby park. (I couldn't follow my own advice and do it all the night before. It could only be done an hour or so before the start of the party. This to ensure nothing got damaged or inconvenienced others). Greeting guests, while trying to explain how to do a craft to those that arrived earlier. Organizing everyone for the games and crafts, while trying not to ignore the poor mummies that decided to hang around. Running back and forth to the house for things that were forgotten. Getting the food and taking kids to the toilet. The answer is I really don't know...!
Going back and forth to the house to bring out food prepared that morning. Fortunately the lollipops for taking home, were something I was able to prepare well ahead of time!
No! Actually the answer is to accept help... or demand it! I demanded....asked nicely (!).... for the wonderful help of my husband and older daughters. They acted as English Christian monks and slaves from France, for our treasure hunt. They oversaw the painting of shields, as the paint got sloshed all over the park. And helped with the runs back to the house! I accepted the help of a wonderful mummy who stepped in to get the kids organized with the first craft...soon followed by other mums. And received the gift of another fabulous mum taking amazing photographs for us.
As a control freak, it's hard to accept that I am not actually in control! It's hard knowing in your head how you want things to go, but then finding them hurtling wildly in the opposite direction. But the way to reduce post party exhaustion is to learn that help is always there. And people are generally quite happy to offer it. So take a deep breath and accept it! It doesn't mean I, or you, have failed in any way. At the end of the day, we all just want to just see our kids have fun. Inevitably you will be tired, that's just part of the course, but at the end you will have been the creator of something lovely. You will have deepened ties with friends. You will have delighted the kids. The fatigue will soon pass and you all will be left with all those wonderful photos and memories to treasure.
A wonderful mummy helping with the necklaces, Daddy, a.k.a the unsuspecting Christian monk, being manhandled and Zoe, my eldest daughter, being caught and taken away as a slave! Fantastic helpers I couldn't have done without!