If you have children you probably know the role of Professional Birthday Mom all too well: Buy gift, wrap gift, smile, drink the punch, eat the cake, wipe, blow, home — only to do it all over again in a few days.
That means you also know that when it’s time for your own kid’s yearly celebration, Go-Go Gadget Birthday Mom quickly turns into Holy Crud, Freak Out Mess. So how do you host a fun event that’s low-stress for the parents (because you know what it’s like) and especially for you (because you’re operating on one brain cell), all while creating positive, long-lasting memories for your family?
Don’t stress! Press! And let technology do all the heavy lifting.
Planning: There are tons of moving pieces in party planning: Sending invites, picking location, choosing food, hanging decorations, and the beat goes on. You can get so bogged down with logistics you forget the cake — trust me, it happens. Hack your mommy brain with organization apps like Asana or Slack where you can create shared to-do lists with family members and guests. Assign tasks, check off purchased items, and address any issues all from the convenience of your smartphone.
Creating: File sharing is the new email attachment, so if you don’t already know Dropbox, it’s time you two met. With Dropbox you can share all your favorite memories by uploading photos into a family account. Now birthdays, vacations, holidays, graduations, baseball games, dance recitals, first steps, first drives, and everything in between can be easily accessed to go through at any time. And for those who want to share outside the family, creating a private Facebook group to share photos will have everyone clicking LIKE!
Cleaning: Outsourcing is what technology does best, so my absolute favorite thing to outsource is after-party clean up. When hosting thirty 5-year-olds comes to end, you probably feel like running a 26-mile marathon would’ve been a less exhausting activity. Luckily apps like TaskRabbit make it easy to hire someone — even just for an hour — to lend an extra pair of hands in the cleanup process, if not take it over completely. And all for an affordable price and insured guarantee that’ll soothe your blistered birthday feet.
Thanking: May is bona fide Birthday Month in our home so by the time I finish writing "thank you" notes for one, it’s already time for the next — a never-ending cycle of stamps, envelopes, and paper cuts. I’ve even been tempted to say "no presents!” to avoid the Gratitude Gridlock that piles up. Then, aha! I discovered the easy — and more personalized — video and photo “thank you” note. By recording a short 5-10 second video of your child playing with their present, you can express appreciation in gif, jpeg, or .mov form — without the hassle of your bad handwriting or a trip to the post office!
Unplugging: The planning is done, the guests are arriving, your family is all there — what do you need your phone for? What if guests need to reach me? What if I miss a photo op? I hear you, I’ve been there, and it's all going to be okay. Send out a text or email a few hours before the party, reminding your guests of the address (with directions) and let them know you will NOT have your phone on you. See if you can share the photo-taking duties or hire a photographer (TaskRabbit!), then put your phone away and enjoy the moment! Remember technology gives you freedom to enjoy the wonderful events in your life, not distract you from participating!