It can be tough being a mom.  I am talking beyond sleep deprivation,  messes that never end and children who never.sleep!  Guessing what to do sometimes in situations can be just as hard.. and much more embarrassing!

We got an invitation to a tea party birthday party a few weeks ago for one of Katie’s ‘BFF’s’.  We could not have been more excited.  Katie talked about it almost daily and when she got Strep Throat, was worried she’d miss it.

The day came and, as usual, we had 75,000 other things going on.  I had been up the night before until 3am folding laundry and getting ready for our new housekeepers to start, my husband was trying to install a doggie door and we had no gift.  So I took a lightening shower, threw three daughters in the car – promising to change them into proper tea party attire later – and headed to the store for a present.

Now, the party was actually for twins.  But only one of the twins was in Katie’s class.  So, on the invitation the mother had written that no gifts were necessary but if we got one to just get for the one child in Katie’s class.  I went back and forth on whether I should get two gifts since they do see the two together at neighborhood functions and such.  I decided in the end to honor the mom’s wishes.  Deciding that mom knew best -and was probably trying to eliminate present overload – we got one gift.  One card.  And put one name on it.

By the time I got my three girls home, put the gift together, gave them all time to write their names  – could you Puleze hurry! – on the card and double checked the address, it was time to leave for the party.  Messy hair and unmatched outfits and all… and the kids did not look any better either.

I get to the party with all three girls and immediately realize that I should have only brought one.  There simply was not space at the table for my two tag-a-longs.  So I called my husband and had him come get my littlest one.  Privately scolding myself for not  knowing that Katie is now at that age that when her name is on the invitation, it is meant just for her, I went about chatting up other moms and pretending like I had a clue and praying one little girl would not show up so Sarah would have a seat.

And trying to divert attention away from the fact that my girls were the only two not in tea party dresses and not wearing pretty bows in their unkept hair… that was hanging in their eyes.  The party went on, I met some really fantastic moms, chatted up the host and ignored the fact that I felt like I should have prepared for this better.

And then it was present time.  And on the gift table sat pair after pair of matching bags and presents.

And my one bag.

I racked my brain trying to think if I had made the ‘one present’ thing up in my head.  I was sure I’d seen it.  I remembered making a mental note.  I swear I was right.  But no one else seemed to get the note.  Or maybe I was missing the mommy alert telling me that that was just ‘talk’?

The girls opened set after set of presents, growing ever closer to mine.  With every one I felt more and more uncomfortable.  Thinking hard about the things I had at the house, I wondered if I should jump the fence, run home, find a toy still in tact, throw it in a bag and return to the party, second gift in hard, and pretend like it was there all the time. But I had forgotten my Superwoman cape at the dry cleaners and was sure that I would not be able to pull off such a feat without it.

I nervously talked to a mom next to me, dropping the hint that I was told one present.  She noted that most of the guests were family and that – yes – the request was probably made… and ignored.

They got to my one present with the one name on it and there was a moment where the second present was searched for.  I.was.mortified.  And then the mom said it was one to share and they moved on.

My face red, I banished myself to ‘Birthday Party Foul’ school and racked my brain for the reason I could not have figured out that the party was for 2 so we needed two presents.  I mean, I could have Googled the etiquette at least.  I beat myself up almost to tears.  I was so embarrassed.

I should have know.

This was the ultimate mom embarrassment.  The point where I contemplated handing my uterus to my husband.

Clearly I should have known.  And even after I asked the mom if I had read the card wrong and she assured me I had not, I still gathered my kids and headed home in complete shame.

Next time, 10 kids – 10 gifts.  I don’t care what the card says.  I committed a mom party foul.  And I am still embarrassed about it tonight.

Find more Motherhood Posts at My Recent Writings

Like A Day in Motherhood on Facebook  and Subscribe to A Day in Motherhood.