Read about being a mother of 12 as our resident 'Supermom' shares her wise parenting advice.
The coolest birthday parties
I am the mother of 12 terrific kids. Some of them have left the nest and have kids of their own, some of them are little and still at home, but on one thing they all agree: their mom makes the coolest birthday parties. Kids have been known to offer bribes for the privilege of attending the parties I host. Here are some tips that will have the neighbor kids talking you up as a birthday party hero.
Force of personality
Think about your favorite teachers from elementary school. They weren't your favorites because of the subjects they taught. You liked them because they had a sense of humor and spoke to you like you were a person, and not just a kid. They knew how to get your attention and keep it, just with the cadence of their voices, and you never bothered to misbehave while in their presence. They were fair and authoritative without being dreary. That's who you want to be at your kids' parties. Remember that kids can become embarrassed by their parents. You can't predict everything that will embarrass them, but you can keep their feelings in mind, and avoid reprimanding their friends for ill behavior at the party.
If you're a shy violet, it could be worth your while to hire some teenagers to MC for you. Or perhaps your child has an older sister or brother who is good with kids. The two of you can share party hosting duties. Try to encourage the children who have a hard time with games, but give credit to those who compete and win at party games. Make your child feel special, but don't favor him over others during the games.
If you can't invite the entire class because of space limitations, invite the kids in such a way that word doesn't get out and hurt the feelings of those who weren't asked to attend. Phone calls are good in such a case, but it's very possible your kid will spill the beans and feelings will be hurt. Use this as a lesson to teach your children empathy.
Don't freak about the mess
No one is going to have a good time if you're worried about the effect of so many young kids on your household. Move precious antiques to a room that is off-limits, and don't bother to clean up until all the guests have left. Then grin and bear it. They're only kids once.