So the last couple of weeks I have been fighting stress, because as much as I love people and parties, I am also a perfectionist, so planning a birthday party for 20+ people is quite a task for me. Last week, I spoke to my mom and my friend Laurie, and they really helped me to put things in perspective. It’s not about how clean the house is, or the variety of food you have, it’s about how those guests feel when they come into your home, i.e. did they feel welcome and loved. Once I understood that stressing out was not going to do me or anyone else (a.k.a. my husband and kids) any good, I was able to do these few things and they really helped me to not only have a good week, but enjoy the party and the wonderful guests who came to celebrate with us.
- Be practical. Know your limitations and level of skill. For instance, don’t take on the task of making a cake and frosting from scratch, and decorating it yourself, if you cannot do it well. Hire someone else to do it, or do what you can. In my case, it was box mix and premade frosting. No one complained, so I am assuming that they all thought it was delicious, since we had very little left over. Prepare dishes you are familiar with and that you like. A party is not the time to get too adventurous! Keep it simple, yet tasty, with your appetizers, and instead, be creative with how you plate your food and decorate your table.
- Delegate. You are only one person. Stop being a control freak and let your family help you get your house ready. Let them know what needs to be done, and focus on what you need to do. Remember, that they want to make a good impression too (especially, with first time guests).
- Be Thankful. This one may be the most important. If you are blessed to have help, say “thank you” and really mean it. You can’t say it enough, and I’ll tell you why. When you acknowledge others and realize that you are not alone in preparing for your company, it really does release the stress of it all. The more I thanked my family and friends, the less stressed I became.
- Let it be. At some point, you have to let go of whatever else you had on your list that didn’t get done and be with your company. No one is going to wonder where the bowl of nuts is; they don’t even know there was supposed to be a bowl of nuts! Enjoy the people you hand-picked to come into your home, and celebrate with them!
Maybe I am just slow in learning to avoid stress (or maybe some of you will relate and find this helpful), but for the first time in a long time, I was able to prepare for an event, all while not losing my temper or feeling overwhelmed, and when the guests arrived, I was able to enjoy our time together and make beautiful and lasting memories with my family and friends.
Shalom and blessings,