Saturday, September 1, 2018

Simple Is Best. That's Who We Are.

Over the past decade, I've compiled a short list of Mommy of Human Kid/s bloggers that I read several times a week. They've made my favorites list because they're candid, down to earth, simple, and they share the messy stuff. Although their lives and situations are completely different, they share that common ground throughout their blog columns. Another common ground I've noticed over the past few years is their aversion to high-end kids' birthday parties.

You know the ones I'm talking about...

The parents of these human kids spend several thousand dollars to throw ritzy birthday parties for their kids. It's not just a birthday party, it's a major event with dozens and dozens of people attending. And the festivities don't just involve the kids. These parties are meant to impress the adults too. From the elaborate invitations and decorations to the tiered birthday cake and fare, no expense is spared.

You know damn well that kids and their parents are frothing at the mouth to be invited to these events year after year. 

The Mommy of Human Kid/s bloggers that I have kept up with year after year after year want no part of that. They embrace frugality. And, they've taught their kids that you don't have to spend a lot of money to celebrate a birthday.

For example, one of the Mommy bloggers has a swimming pool. The kids that celebrate their birthday during the Summer months usually opt to have a pool party. The kid/s are allowed to invite only a few guests. Snacks are provided along with hamburgers and hotdogs. Then, cake and ice cream. The Mommy blogger plans a simple craft activity and a few games with cheap prizes.

Guess what? 

Mommy blogger spends less than $100 on the party and the kids have a great time.

As I read more and more of these similar blog columns from my favorite Mommy of Human Kid/s bloggers, I realized this is one tiny bit of common ground that we Dog Moms share with Moms of Humans Kids...

A few years ago, a woman reached out to me asking if I'd make gourmet birthday dog treats. Her pup's birthday was coming up. I hesitated a bit before replying. I'm not going to lie. I didn't particularly care for this woman. By marriage, we are related to her in the most distant of ways.

I could go on about the reasons why the mere sight of her face irritates me, but to keep things simple, she is the adult version of that girl in school that all the girls wanted to be friends with. Her circle is fairly tight, but that didn't stop the other girls from wanting to get their foot in the door or, at the very least, be acknowledged by her.

If you were acknowledged by her, it was a pretty big deal.

This woman is extremely high maintenance. You wouldn't catch her dead shopping for makeup or hair products at a drug store. She spends hours in front of the mirror doing her hair and makeup. Her nails are always flawless. The bigger the diamond, the better.

Every year, she throws her pup a ritzy birthday party.

When she reached out to me, again, I hesitated but eventually agreed to make the gourmet birthday dog treats.

Within 24 hours, I regretted my decision. I received message after message about the details.

She didn't want full-sized bags. She wanted party sized bags for the guests to take home. How many biscuits were in our full sized bags? Could I divide those up into smaller bags? Did we have decorative bags or the just the generic clear ones? What color were the sprinkles?

At one point, she ordered special spools of ribbon to be sent to our home to tie and bow the bags with.

Lisa and I spent $10 on small diva party bags that matched the ribbon.

Then, she continued to ask question after question.

She panicked that the biscuits wouldn't be there on time for the party. I kept reassuring her that they would. We shipped priority.

I think my irritation surfaced at one point because she apologized for her Birthday-Zilla attitude. She informed me that she was treating this party as if she were planning a wedding. In fact, she purchased a new sofa because her old one was too old for the party.

Her apology provided no solace. I was grinding my teeth and waiting for that private message asking, "How many sprinkles do you put on each biscuit?" Or, "Can you make sure there is an even amount of each colored sprinkle on each biscuit..."

This woman had me so stressed out. Prior to her ordering birthday dog treats, I sent her a photo of what we offered. We didn't do fancy. We opted for simple. She placed her order anyway. So, she was getting no more. No less.

The day that I drizzled the homemade birthday dog treats and packaged them up in the pricey bags Lisa purchased, I opened a bottle of wine. 

After packaging the several dozen bags of dog treats, I grabbed the ribbon she ordered and had shipped here. Maybe it was the wine. Maybe it was the amount of stress she had caused. Maybe it was the crisp fabric the ribbon was made out of. Maybe it was a combination of all three.

I made the decision to not put the ribbon on the bags. In all honesty, the bows would have gotten squished. I certainly didn't want to deal with her rage if that happened.

When Lisa arrived home from work, we packaged the homemade birthday dog treats in a big box with lots of bubble wrap.

And, the spools of ribbon...

Lisa shipped the box. The cost of shipping was more than double what we had anticipated and charged the woman.

That evening I sent the woman a message. I gave her the tracking number and anticipated delivery date. I made a comment about paying more for shipping to assure her that the biscuits would be there a few days before the party. I told her that we had purchased special bags for her. I also explained about the ribbon.

She thanked me but made it quite clear that she wasn't happy that I hadn't made bows for all of the bags. The party was only a few days away. Her time was pressed. How on Earth would she find time to make bows?

I just sat there and sipped my wine. Exercising my middle fingers.

The following day, I received her check. No tip. No thank you. Nothing.

The icing on top of the cake were the photos she posted after the party. One photo caught my attention. The birthday dog treats we had sent. They were in different bags. I just sat there. Exhaled.

So, yeah...this stuff exists in the Dog Mom world.

We don't celebrate our kid's actual birthdays only because we know 2 out of 4. They are rescue pups. Instead, we celebrate their Gotcha Days. That translates to celebrating the day each of the kids joined our family.

To celebrate, I make their favorite cupcakes. They get to choose a gift. All of our kids love the DIY Dog Mom Projects we make so they've often requested nappy nooks, doggy beds, indoor dog houses, and more unique doggy beds.

In addition, we make their favorite meal for all of the kids to share for their dinner that evening.

We always have a great time celebrating the day our kids joined our family. It's always a special day and we don't make any plans for those days. It's a total family day.

In no way, shape, or form am I knocking the parents of human kids or furry kids who spend an obnoxious amount of money on birthday parties for their kids. To each their own.

What I do have a hard time with are those parents who have the attitude that their kids, whether human or furry, are better off and loved more because they spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars on their birthday parties.

I also have a hard time with the guests who think they're a big deal if they get invited to these events.

Love has nothing to do with money.

Our kids are happy, healthy, loved, and well taken care of. Our world revolves around them.

Our simple Gotcha Day celebrations aren't through the roof. They don't cost a lot of money.

But that doesn't mean our kids are loved any less than the furry kid whose Mom orders Sephora by the caseload.

Our philosophy has always been, and always will be, "simple is best..."

That's who we are.

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