A day or so after Rafe turned 11 months, I received an email from a place we registered for baby gifts when I was pregnant. The email said that I should begin shopping with them for his first birthday party and “get it right the first time.”
It hurt my feelings — the idea that I or any loving parent could screw up their child’s birthday party.
So when I began planning the party, I wanted to make sure that everything I was doing was truly for my son. I fought the temptation to scour Pinterest for a jillion ideas that I knew would ultimately leave me overwhelmed and disappointed. I threw a simple party for my son and it turned out more lovely than I could have imagined. Hanging the decorations and preparing the food was the easy part. If I can brag a little, I’m really good at hosting parties. And I love doing it.
The scary part of this Thing, the reason it counts, is because of the guest list.
For starters, mixing friend groups makes me sweaty.
What if my super conservative friend ends up in a corner with my super liberal friend?
What if I introduce two people knowing that they went to the same college, but as it turns out, they are actually exes?
What if someone feels left out?
What if someone cusses too much and then my mom thinks I hang out with HEATHENS?!
It’s all just too much. I had four baby showers to avoid this situation. I usually have multiple dinner celebrations with each friend group. It’s just easier.
But not today. Today, basically everyone we know (I was slinging invitations left and right) gathered in our dining room and ate donuts and crafted concoctions at the bloody mary bar.
Secondly, there’s the issue of mom friends. This is a new group of friends I have. They are women that I would not have met if they didn’t have a kid and I didn’t have a kid. Our common denominator is a kid and the goal is to find other common denominators to see if we can be friends. It’s hard. As a first time mom (I say that because I’m hoping this fear dissipates as more baby(ies) come), speaking is terrifying. We are all terrified and doing our best and just want to love our babies the best way we know how but the thing is, we don’t know how. We are new at this. So we put up a front to try to convince ourselves and others that we got this. There are so many different ways to love our babies and not one of them is wrong. But understanding that in the beginning is hard. So I invited momfriends. It meant opening myself up to criticism for not properly baby proofing my kitchen and feeding my baby copious amounts of sugar and any number of other things that might be grounds for judgement.
And I’m so glad I did. I made myself vulnerable and I turned some momfriends into real friends in the process.
Happy birthday, sweet son. Mommy got you some new friends to play with.