I had an epiphany today. Mom life can be very monotonous.
Don’t get me wrong, every day brings something new but overall, the days kind of blend together. As much as I love staying home with my kiddos, I realize I need to be more intentional about breaking things up. I need to set up activities that I’m going to look forward to as much as my kids. As moms, we spend a lot of time prioritizing our kids, which is important, but there’s nothing wrong with creating an activity you’re going to enjoy as well.
So rewind a couple of months, and I had the wonderful privilege of getting connected with a company called Kettle/Black Teahouse out of Cannon Beach, OR. I’ve always enjoyed tea but I never considered myself a connoisseur. I figured whatever Stash tea caught my eye was good enough. Apparently, I was very wrong. This loose leaf “fancy” tea I got from Kettle/Black was AMAZING!
It got me thinking, wouldn’t it be fun to share this with some girlfriends and have a good old fashioned gab fest. Oh, but wait, kids . . . and husbands with varying degrees of availability to watch kids.
Okay, we can still make this happen. So, with a little help with the ladies from Kettle/Black Teahouse, I’ve pulled together a few tips for throwing the perfect spring tea party that works with kids.
Location, Location, Location
Kids and polite tea parties aren’t necessarily a match made in heaven. So you need to think about a place that will occupy your kids attention for a good length of time. If you have a dream backyard full of climbing structures and swings, it might be close to home. But, if not, a local park can be a great location too!
Consider the ages of the kids attending and the type of playground equipment available. You’ll also want to think about how close a picnic table is to the playground. The goal is to keep the kids occupied within easy viewing and shouting distance. To keep things simple, using a park table is best but if you know of a dream playground that’s just lacking a table, you can always bring one.
Set the Mood
The goal here is to break up play-date monotony by making this something special for you and your friends. A little can go a long way when it comes to the ambiance. Start by bringing a table cloth, the frillier the better but don’t bring something that’s too special to you as you will be using it on a park picnic table. Then, pick up some of these fun frilly paper plates as a little splurge. They are a lot better than hauling real dishes out for everyone.
Cup o’ Tea?
The centerpiece here is the tea. This is a special occasion, so spring for something special. You can pick up loose leaf tea from a local tea shop or Kettle/Black will ship tea anywhere. Pick a crowd pleaser like Earl Grey and something a little more unusual such as an Indian tea like Nilgiri. If you’re gathering a crowd, you could also throw a White Tea or Tisane option in the mix for those low to no caffeine drinkers.
Loose leaf tea can be a bit intimidating for newbies but there’s really nothing to be scared of. You don’t need any expensive equipment to steep loose leaf tea. You can buy empty tea bags and make your own, use an individual strainer or use a teapot with a removable strainer. In a pinch, you can even make a little satchel of tea out of a coffee filter and some string.
It will feel more fun if you have an actual teapot to pour from so bring hot water in a thermos and transfer it to a tea pot. If you’re worried about your teapot at the park, swing by the local thrift store and pick up a discarded one for a few bucks.
Of course, you’ll want a few additives such as sugar, sweetener and honey as well as a little pitcher of milk and some lemon wedges to make sure everyone can prepare their tea to their liking. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can also bring things like boba, ginger, chocolate or mint.
This might sound like a lot to handle along with your kiddos. A good rule of thumb is to try and fit everything into one easy to carry box to avoid multiple trips back and forth to the car. Don’t stress out about being all set up when everyone arrives. We’re all part of the same tribe. It’s kind of amazing we’re making this happen at all. You’re guests are going to be more than happy to help lay things out.
Share the Load
As the hostess, you’ve arranged the place, provided the table linens and brought the tea. Don’t feel bad asking your guests to pitch in and bring their own tea cup (or mug) and a snack to share. The food doesn’t have to be a hassle. A plate of cookies, brownie bites from the grocery store, some cheese and crackers, it all adds to the sense of something special.
Don’t forget the Kids!
You’ve created something special, that means the kids are going to be hanging around wanting to be a part of it too. Throw in some disposable cups and a jug of apple juice so the kids can have their own “tea party” nearby. If a few people have brought some snacks, there should be more than enough to spread around.
This is an extravagance ladies, not an everyday (or even every week) occurrence so treat it as such. Make it an event and don’t feel bad if a few of your regular “duties” slip by that day. It’s important to invest in yourself and in your tribe of friends. The support of other moms is invaluable in navigating life with kids. Make it special but avoid the temptation to make it “Pinterest perfect”. This isn’t about pennant banners, burlap or lace. It’s about doing something just enough unusual to make it meaningful without stressing yourself out too much.
Have you ever done something special like this “just because”? What are some ways you’ve discovered to make time for meaningful friendships around everyday life? Do you think your girlfriends would ever pitch in for a tea party in the park? I’d love to know what you’re doing to maintain you’re support network!