There are three words that instill a paralyzing fear deep in my heart, and in the hearts of many other moms like me:

Themed. Birthday. Party.

Now, as of this week, there are four additional words on the ‘holy crap’ roster:

Elf. On. The. Shelf.

I’ve been a mom only a short time, and I already know that birthday parties (particularly themed ones) will never be my thing. I’m not that creative, or artistic, and I’m not willing to make time to do all of the little things that make a themed birthday party a resounding success: handcrafted placecards, an outfit that matches the decorations, custom-designed hand-glued invitations.

Just can’t do it. Sorry, Peanut.

My plan to hide my creative incompetence has led me to desperately avoid an Elf on the Shelf for a few reasons: not enough time, and not enough motivation to do it well.

The elf is right along the same lines. Sure, you can do the “Baseline Tempered-Expectations Version” of Elf on the Shelf, which entails simply moving him each night to a new location. But what makes it difficult for me is the cute and clever little elfin situations. Those I just can’t do.

Honestly, I probably could, if I tried really hard. But even then, I’d do a half-ass job of it, which I hate. If I am going to do something, I want to be awesome at it.

I’m that kind of person. If I can’t pull something off at 8 on a 1-to-10 scale, I probably should find another way to spend my time.

I don’t want Peanut to know she has an Unimpressive Mom. Unfortunately I can’t avoid birthday parties; birthdays happen annually whether I like it or not, so I am doomed to face those. But I have a plan so Peanut never realizes her Mommy is inadequate, and doesn’t discover that other kids have ganache-filled cupcakes in the same color as their birthday punch.

My plan: fill her parties with so much fun and little Peanut-friends that she’ll never notice. (I personally can’t wait until she’s old enough to go to a place like this, but mostly because I want to go there! Ha!)

My plan to hide my creative incompetence has led me to desperately avoid an Elf on the Shelf. Neither of my siblings has one. I think we all are avoiding him for the same reason — not enough time, and not enough motivation to do it well.

Unfortunately, our mother had other ideas. A few weeks ago, she met an Elf on the Shelf mom, and next thing you know, she’s on Target.com ordering three elves; one for each of us. I’m pretty sure the groan when we opened the boxes, despite being 110 miles apart, could be heard from space.

My husband had never heard of the Elf. I explained it and showed him some of the cute situations on Facebook that I’d seen some of my mom friends admirably pull off. To my surprise, he embraced the elf. He even volunteered to take care of the first night’s placement.

The next morning, I found this:

Elf on the Shelf Idea

“Sorry, mother-in-law, the Elf didn’t make it.”

 

And the following morning, this greeted us:

junkieelf

“Pills and black tar heroin. The elf diet of champions!”

(I’m still not sure how the elf managed to revive himself after being strung up from the ceiling fan. He’s magical. Maybe he has nine lives like a cat?)

My husband has a few more ideas for the elf. They are awful indeed, but at the same time, I think they’re pretty funny. Peanut doesn’t “get” it yet, so we’ll have our fun this year while we can.

Next year, though… I think there’s a chance he might get lost in the garbage can storage room and never be found again.

Think my mom will disown me?