Before I ever had children, I imagined myself as a “boy mom.” I don’t know why, but for some reason, I just always thought that if I was blessed enough to have children of my own, I’d have a house full of boys. So, when I had two girls back to back (only 15 months apart in age), I was immersed in all things girl. Though I never felt anything but immense love and gratitude for my daughters, there were moments when I felt a little too glittery and pink and floofy as I was quickly surrounded by dress up clothes and dolls. My daughters (especially my oldest) love entering a room with a twirl and leaving nothing but glitter behind, which made this “non-cutesy” mom have a whole new perspective on appreciating my daughters for exactly who God created them to be. I had to embrace the feather boas and adore the princess dresses as I watched their sweet imaginations blossom. I never want my daughters to feel like they are better than anyone else or entitled, but I do want them to always feel like they are beautifully and wonderfully made, just like all of the other unique women God created so intricately.
Since my daughters love to dress up and feel fancy, I decided to start doing tea parties with them from time to time. Tea parties are supposed to be fun, but they also have so much potential if we just look at them as an opportunity to help our daughters grow into strong, graceful women. It also gives me the chance to soak up their innocence and embrace this sweet age.
At our tea parties, we talk about the following:
- Women in our family: those who came before them and the ones who surround them now. This is one of my favorite things to talk with them about and one of their very favorite things to hear about. I tell them about my “Memom,” (my grandmother) who said, “ESTA!” when she’d sneeze and who loved UK basketball more than anyone I’d ever known. I also tell them about how she served others, even in her times of grief and struggle. I tell them about their great aunt Lori, who passed at the age of 36 and how the tea set we use came from her. I tell them about her hilarious laugh and how she always made others feel special. We talk about their aunts and grandmothers and they ask me to retell the same stories to them over and over again as we find inspiration in the grit and grace that came before us and still surrounds us today.
- Table manners and kindness. We practice how to be polite at the table, how to look people in the eye when we have discussions, how to say, “Thank you,” and, “Please.” We also set the expectation so that our discussion with each other is always encouraging and uplifting with everyone at the tea party.
- Serving others. Tea parties are a great opportunity to talk with them about how it brings me joy to get to serve them their tea and treats and I ask them to serve each other. We talk about how doing so is not only kind to the others at the table, but how it makes us feel when we serve.
Here’s how we set up tea parties in our home to make them more than a party and less of a hassle.
- The food is stuff I already have in my pantry. I shop at Aldi and I purchase a few things that could double as something “fancy.” Below are some items I’ve used before for our parties, but I’m sure you could use anything. You could also use this as a time to get picky eaters to try something “new and fancy” you’ve been wanting them to try.
- Dried fruit (we love dried mango)
- Fresh fruit
- Toast with different type of jam
- Cheese (I have ever taken string cheese and cut it into small pieces)
- Salami slices
- Muffins (I often buy the Garden Lite Muffins from Costco, which are full of veggies. They are frozen and thaw quickly with the help of a microwave.)
- Pirouettes (these just seem soooo fancy to my girls)
- I make a small pot of tea, and when it’s gone, it’s gone. I typically use decaf or a low caf green tea.
- Instead of using sugar for them to mix, I usually use sweetened liquid coffee creamer for them to pour. It’s already sweet and it’s less of a mess, and they also love to pour things.
- The girls get to dress up. Sometimes, they’ll ask me to fix their hair fancy or to paint their nails. If time permits, I honestly love to do both because it’s extra time I get to spend with them. But if dressing up isn’t your thing, then it’s not your thing. On Christmas Eve morning, we do a tea party and we do it in our PJ’s.