I have an issue I haven’t talked about before. I have PPSD. Post Party Stress Disorder. It’s real. I have the mental and emotional scars to prove it.
I spent the past couple of weeks getting ready to host a Halloween party for kids at our church. A small party, just for kids in the 5th and 6th grade. A 2-hour party with tacos, queso, cupcakes, and games. Simple, easy and fun. No big deal.
I started stressing about planning this party early. I made lists. Multiple lists. Made lists of my lists. I took way too long creating a simple invitation. I spent hours on Pinterest looking for just the right games, fun party food, and decor. I didn’t get any of my regular responsibilities done for the week because I spent so much damn time planning this party. It was borderline ridiculous.
Finally last weekend, I woke up and realized that I was giving this simple party way too much time and attention. Our church has events for these kids every two weeks. It might sound like a lot, but it’s meant to be a way for these to get together socially in fun and safe ways. Parents take turns hosting the outings. I chose the date closest to Halloween thinking a Halloween party would be an easy one to do. But I was being obsessive about making it perfect when it didn’t need to be. These kids weren’t going to care one bit about how cute the decor was or what the photo booth was like. (Yes, I was planning on having a photo booth.) I needed to stop caring so much.
I blame it on my PPSD. My Post Party Stress Disorder. I haven’t always had this problem. I have hosted a lot of parties in my adult life and have always taken pride in throwing a great party. It is one of the many gifts that my mother has given me. But last year around Thanksgiving, something happened that changed the way I will approach a party forever.
Last year I served as homeroom mom for my youngest son’s class. I had done it previously for my oldest son (twice actually) and I felt obligated to do it for my youngest even though after doing it the last time I had uttered the words to my husband, “I am NEVER doing that again.” Mom guilt is a powerful thing and in the end, I couldn’t help myself. I was approached about being the homeroom mom and before I knew it, I was saying yes.
One of the responsibilities of the homeroom mom at our school is planning the Thanksgiving Feast. It is a half day of school with nothing but eating, crafting and partying. The school serves a huge feast and the homeroom moms have to plan a craft and for the older kids, a service project.
Last year, the administrators asked us to not serve a huge breakfast to the class because it keeps the kids from eating the feast that is served for lunch. In previous years, homeroom moms have served huge breakfasts (some actually catered from local restaurants, and no I’m not kidding) and the kids are so full they don’t end up eating any of the lunch which, of course, ends up in the trash. It is a horrible waste, especially when there are so many in our own city who are hungry. We were asked to keep whatever we serve the classrooms for breakfast–if we serve breakfast at all–small and simple, something like milk boxes and donut holes. Which is exactly what I did.
Side note: I had been communicating with these parents for weeks prior about the day’s festivities. I had made it perfectly clear that we were only having donuts and milk when the kids got to school. Just needed to throw that out there.
The day of the feast was going great. The kids had enjoyed donuts and milk when they got to school. We made a cute Thanksgiving craft with terra-cotta pots, popsicle sticks, and leaves. We counted all of the cans that we had collected all week long for our local food pantry. The kids were enjoying the day and before we knew it, it was time to go outside and enjoy the Thanksgiving feast.
For the first time that day, I finally got to sit down. I purposely sat down next to another parent to thank her for some cute things she had made for our feast table. If I had known what was coming, I would never have sat down. After thanking her, she started to lay into me. She was PISSED OFF that I hadn’t served a hot breakfast. She was angry that I had not provided her child a real breakfast, but only a snack. A sugary snack at that. She went on and on and on. I couldn’t believe it. I tried my best to remain calm speaking to her with patience, but that didn’t matter. She treated me like I was the shittiest homeroom mom ever. EVER. I was crushed.
My best friends now refer to her as Hot Breakfast.
Hot Breakfast gave me PPSD.
Unfortunately, I still had two more parties to plan for the year. And now, because of my PPSD I stressed out for WEEKS about planning the party perfectly as to not piss off anyone. Stressed out enough to give me diarrhea for weeks. HOW CRAZY IS THIS?!?! I mean, we are talking about parties for 10-year-olds. Kids who are fired up just to have a party. Kids who could give two shits about having a hot breakfast.
When the last party of the year was finally over and started to come down from the stress-induced adrenaline I had been experiencing all day, I breathed a sigh of total and complete relief that I would never have to plan a homeroom party ever again. But I now realize that even though my time serving as a homeroom mom is over, the effects of PPSD still remain. At least now I am aware that I have a problem. I’m dealing with my anger issues brought on by the feast incident, although I still find it hard to be friendly to Hot Breakfast.
I’ve come to realize that there are a lot of people out there who lack graciousness. They lack the ability to simply say thank you. Thank you for doing a job that no one else wants to do. Thank you for spending your own money and time to do something special and fun for my child. I appreciate you. Thank you for all you do.
Graciousness would help cure my PPSD, I’m almost certain.
In the meantime, so does wine.