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We are two working mothers — Lauren Rose, the director of business development for Name Bubbles, and Betsy DeMars, the assistant managing editor at The Saratogian. Try as we may to be really good at both, balancing motherhood and career can get pretty messy. As professionals, work schedules and mommy schedules often collide. So, we plow through, hoping at the end of the day, our kids — Lauren's 5-year-old son and Betsy's 11-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter — know how much we love them.

Monday, June 21, 2010

This party had to rock(et)

When I asked my son what kind of party he wanted for his birthday, he looked at me in a way that could only mean "that's a dumb question, mom". He wanted a rocket party, of course. I said "sure, honey" and then asked myself the bigger question. What on earth is a "rocket" party? Without anything in mind, the planning began.

I went online and typed "rocket-themed kid party". Site after site of how to plan, buy and decorate for such a party lined up on Google for my viewing pleasure. Unfortunately, most of the instructions and suggestions I wouldn't follow. Why? What working mom has the time to plan out rocket-themed games, make homemade pinatas, and shape and decorate a four layer rocket cake? OK, there are a few moms that work out there who could pull that off, but I knew I wasn't one of them. So, here's what I did:

1. Ordered cool rocket plates, cups, napkins and a "build your own solar system with stickers" party favor on
2. Walked over to the Bread Basket bakery for help with rocket-themed cupcakes for the kid party and a two layer cake for the family party. Only a crazy over-planner like me would have two parties in the same day. With Sunday being Father's Day, what choice did I really have? That's what I told myself anyway...
3. Bought a boatload of old fashioned bomb pops for the kids. It was a pool party and I figured they'd be a hit. Not the low sugar, no food coloring kind. The yummy pops we grew up eating poolside and at picnics.
4. Went to G. Willikers for a Stomp Rocket then visited every-other-day for a week straight to stock up on rocket toys, Silly Bandz, and space books for the goodie bags (the RSVPs kept coming in...)

The preparations continued as three co-worker friends also pitched in - one helped me decide which image of a rocket I should use on the invitations, one shared her lunch hour helping me fill goodie bags and another took it upon herself to create a rocket "craft" after work one night for the party - complete with hand cut-out rockets for tracing. Folks, when you're a working mom you never say "no, thank you" to extra help (If you do, stop it right now!). I'm so fortunate to work and live in one great town with great people.

Saturday morning came and my husband, son and I got busy running errands (me), cleaning the pool (my husband) and playing with everything we put out for the party (my son - and occasionally, me). We had balloons on the mailbox and the yard was looking pretty darn good after my husband took days off to mow, blow, and weed whack since the previous weekend rained NON STOP for three days. We coaxed our son into "resting" (napping was out of the question - the kid was waaaay too excited), while we brought out snacks, filled coolers with drinks of all kinds and blew up pool floats and filled water balloons. I kid you not I hadn't been this excited since my own kid parties a million years ago.

Guests arrived (I invited all my son's school pals) and were drawn immediately to the main attraction. It was nearly 90 degrees and we had a pool! My son smiled from ear to ear as his friends arrived saying things like "Mom, did you see that GIGANTIC pool?", "Mom, Kenneth has a pooooool!". Our pool is pretty basic and frankly rather old, but to kids it's got the stuff amusement parks deliver. It's magical.

So the day was spent laughing and splashing. There were cupcakes and bomb pops in the hands of children AND adults. As my son ate his rocket cupcake and opened his gifts I could see that he was truly having the time of his life (I have the pictures to prove it).

Adding "party planning" to my already fragile attempt at work-life balance made for a crazy couple of weeks, but moments like these make it all worthwhile. My son was happy and my husband and I were thrilled to have made the moment and memory possible. It was official: this party most definitely rocked.

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