by Sally Cameron, midwife, mother of 2 and co-owner of www.earthbabies.co.za . I am passionate, creative, trying to be Green unschooling single mom. It’s a journey.
I love organizing my kid’s parties I have huge ideas and usually take on way more than I can actually cope with but that is just the way I am.
For my sons first birthday I made papier-mâché dinosaur eggs for the party bags and knitted each child a dinosaur! This year Rachel was turning 5 and wanted a mermaid theme. It was the first party I had to do all on my own since splitting up with my husband. He was not going to be around for the big day and so it was all up to me. I had to make the day not only memorable but also to make up for her dad not being there. In his defense he works on an oil rig in the north sea so it was not from lack of wanting to be there that he missed her birthday.
We made the theme under the sea so that the boys did not feel obliged to be mermaids. Being a greener mom I wanted to try make sure that things I did for the party incorporated some of the eco R’s ( reduce, reuse, recycle) I made the party bags from cut off milk bottles which I punched around the top and put gift ribbon through to decorate them. I also did not want to give the kids typical party bag toys which are expensive and often break or get lost with the first few minutes of being home. So I got each kid a T-shirt and got a friend to embroider a sea theme picture on each one.
While I was tempted to go all natural with the food, I thought it is a party after all and kids still have to be kids and eating less healthy stuff now and again is okay. All things in moderation seemed sensible. What I did realize is that kids eat way less at a party than you expect, I could have done half the food and still been okay.
Planning and doing the party on my own was actually a whole lot easier than I thought. Parties would always mean stress and fighting in our house before. I would get into trouble for how much it all cost and I would get stressed about my ex not helping as much as I thought he should. It was almost always a case of each of us having different ideas and pulling in 2 different directions. The stress levels were always high and lots of fighting happened. This time it was just me, I knew I had to do it all and it was actually easier. I knew what I had to do and I just to got on with it. My budget was much smaller being a single mom but my parents helped out and we manage really well in the end.
Rachel had a good time and I guess that is the most important thing. I think in a way it was part of the healing process for me too. I learnt I can do it all on my own even when it is hard work it is actually more peaceful and calm and we could all enjoy it more. There are going to be many firsts for me and the kids where we do stuff we have never done before on our own, and I know we will survive and we will have fun and we will grow.