Now that your baby is a little older, and a little less entirely dependent on you, your partner, or her other caregivers than she was even just a few months ago, you might have started thinking about certain parts of your social life that you have put on hold for a while after your baby was born.
There are parts of your social life that translate fairly easily to life with your baby, with just a few adjustments, like meeting for coffee and bringing her something to play with, or talking on the phone after she is in bed. Other things, like going to a movie theater or meeting up for drinks, either require a babysitter or are going to have to wait a few years. Party-hosting, though, falls somewhere in the middle of the two categories. It can be done, but it definitely requires a little more planning than it might have in the past.
First of all, there’s no need to leap into a six-course-dinner dinner party right away, or to invite everyone you’ve ever known. If you feel comfortable planning a blow-out, you certainly can, but you’ll probably have an easier time getting back into the swing of party planning if you keep it reasonably simple the first time around.
There is definitely a difference between the two. A ‘kids’ party is one where, even if they don’t make up all, or even most of the attendees, kids are specifically on the guest list, as opposed to occasionally brought along because their parents couldn’t find a sitter. If you’re having a kids party, even if parents will be mostly supervising their own children, it can be a good idea to have some kind of activity set up for the kids to occupy themselves with. And if it’s later in the evening, it might be nice to have a space set up, like a couch or a few sleeping bags, where your smaller guests can nod off until their parents are ready to head out for the evening.
If your baby is the only expected child-guest, on the other hand, you can probably leave any child who does end up attending in his or her parents’ care and just focus on your baby.
It’s a good idea to decide ahead of time how much of the party your baby will be around for, and how much you’re hoping she will be able to sleep through. If you can, dividing up responsibilities so that between you and your partner, one of you focuses on the party and the other is on your baby-duty can be a great way to cut down on stress.
Late dinner parties can be a great solution while your baby is young - she has the chance to greet your guests before bed, and then you or your partner can put her down to sleep while the other one hosts before dinner. Brunches can also be a good way to have your baby and guests coexist in harmony, especially if she is growing into a little morning person. Planning parties around naps can be tricky, because the excitement of party guests can throw even the most schedule-oriented baby off her timetable, but if you time it right, naps can be a great way to divide a party into the your baby hours and the your baby-free hours, for the best of both worlds.
For more elaborate or high-pressure parties, or just to keep a simple party even more low-key, consider hiring a babysitter to watch your baby in another area of your home. That way, he or she can come and get you in case of emergency, but otherwise, you can feel secure in the fact that she is being taken care of, and you can focus on your party.
For parties where there will be a few kids in attendance, hiring a babysitter or two to watch them for the length of the party while their parents socialize can be a nice occasional extravagance, too.