How party season changes when you’re a parent

November 29, 2016

It’s Christmas party season! I know this because a) it’s December this week so of course it’s Christmas party season b) All the women’s magazines in the shop are telling me to ‘get the party season look’ while I saunter past in my mum parka on the hunt for CBeebies mag and c) All the shop shops are full of gold and glittery clothes with a side order of sequins.

Party season, when you're a parent - how it changes

I used to work in the type of job that meant December was all about cocktails, canapés, drinks, lunches and flimsy excuses to meet friends for more drinks. Every night. Which was brilliant but meant spending most of the month having 4am wonderings about who’d ripped out your soul and replaced it with a howling void of hangover.

And then, five years ago at around this time of year I had a baby. Which means that Christmas party season also signals the start our of our children’s party season, which is that particular time of the year when all your NCT and baby group friend’s babies have birthdays and it becomes the season of wall-to-wall parties.

(Just not for you. It’s not like you don’t get to go to parties as a parent – you do, but they take about four month’s worth of planning, diary co-ordination and cancellations – it just means you spend all your spare time going to parties with your child).

So from one party season to another, how do things change? Let’s take a look:

Party season outfits

  • Then: Satin, velvet, lace, glittery anything. Day-to-night, a hint of slightly-seasonal-slutty. Picked up from Topshop Oxford Circus during late night opening hours (surely the only reason it stays open late is for tipsy shopping purchases?)
  • Now: Satin, velvet, lace, glittery everything, fancy dress. For my children. I’m in jeans, obviously

Party venue

  • Then: A bar or restaurant, somewhere, anywhere (although once we had to take a client ice skating first. I still get panicky flashbacks. I have no balance)
  • Now: Church halls, soft play. Much less disco dirt but you still get covered in grubby handprints.

Party timings

  • Then: starting late, finishing early. Or the just-the-one-leaving-early-yikes-where’s-a-taxi-where’s-the-nightbus? occasions
  • Now: starting early, finishing early. For 2-4 hours party people only. No chance you’ll struggle to get home.

Catering:

  • Then: Where’s the free champagne? Followed by a dodgy takeaway on the way home and a side helping of regret.
  • Now: Tea, no bar, but more than enough crisps for a mum-ganate.

Although I miss the fun and dressing up potential of wall-to-wall parties for me, I love children’s parties. Because they make children a) happy and b) exhausted. And the best part is no hangover, for yourself. Or chance you’ll get so drunk you talk to a wall (no comment).

So on balance, I know which party season I prefer. No matter how much effort, after children’s parties I’ll still be home early and tucked up on the sofa falling asleep in my glass of wine while my tired children sleep upstairs. No impossible traipse home wearing shoes that hurt. Now THAT is worth celebrating.

More posts…if you’re feeling Christmassy then easy Christmas decorations and an alternative gift list for mums…if not then party politics from 1980 and less-than-perfect mums

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