Party Persona: Mary or Martha


I often regret the persona I portray when I am throwing a party.  Beforehand, I envision myself cooking and entertaining with ease as I laugh at the jokes of our guests.  In reality, I end up appearing anxious and busy as I dart in and out of the kitchen, unprepared and tending to the appetites of our guests.  As in the bible story of Mary and Martha, I am Martha.  I am busily concerned with what the guests are to eat or drink and missing out on enjoying their company.  But what will be remembered more, the delicious food, or the time spent together?

Mostly, I am concerned with what my son, Linus, will remember from his upcoming 2nd birthday party.  It is a time for me to be celebrating with my family as I watch him open his presents.  I should be present for him.  He will not care what food was served, but how much fun he had with his mommy and everyone else.  Yet, I worry that there will not be enough food for everyone, or it will not be food that they like.  The cost of the party also comes to mind.

My time should be counted as money, but I often see myself as free labor.  I need to consider the time I may be missing if I am busy in the kitchen, not enjoying the smile on my son’s face.  There must be a balance, but I am often not in a state of peace.  In a feeling of all or nothing, I lean toward choosing one side.  As a person of extremes, I am not sure if I can commit to try a little of each:  making some of my own food and buying some pre-made.  Once I start cooking a couple dishes, I will have great difficulty in stopping myself from doing everything.  I may become a slave to my lack of defense against myself.  This fear is growing as I await the responses of our friends and family.

Prayer is all I have to turn to in this case.  I don’t want to be seen as a robot, or a Martha.  Being a Mary is someone I should be striving to be.  She was present and listened to Jesus at his feet.  It was more important for her to be in the moment, than to be focused on preparing food.  While the meal for the birthday party is important, it is wise for me to remember what the day is really about:  the gift of my son from God.  I will be deeply meditating on this struggle as his birthday nears.  On an everyday note, we must concentrate on spending quiet time with the Lord, and not letting the busyness of tasks get in the way.

Copyright 2011 Tanya Weitzel


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  1. i understand COMPLETELY!

    in the end, the primary memories you will be making that day are YOURS! he will (likely) not remember his party at all, but YOU WILL! what do you want to remember? his party is a celebration of his birth… a very important day in YOUR life too. 🙂

    we all need to practice being a bit more like mary.

    LUCK! ttfn.

  2. Tanya, I’ve thrown MANY parties over the years (been married 23 yrs, have one boy almost 20, 2 in the middle & then an almost 5 yr old girl) and I do have some advice for you ~ make it a short party, make as much as you can in advance (I have hashbrown casserole & mini mocha muffins already made & frozen for dd’s upcoming party…more to come, maybe baking & freezing her cake this weekend!) If you can make & freeze dishes, even those that need cooking the day of the party (my casserole, mini pigs in blankets, etc.), you can enjoy the prep work AND most of the party too! What I started doing for dd’s birthday is have a Sunday morning brunch party. We go to Mass at 8 (I’ve already laid out premade/frozen/thawed muffins the night before) and as soon as we get home, I turn on the oven, put the food in the oven & have guests start arriving at 10. When the party is over at noon, and I have enjoyed my time w/our guests, the cleaning is done & we still have the rest of the day to enjoy ourselves, go to a park or some other outdoor activity (as do our guests…everyone LOVES the Brunch parties!). I will pray for your peace during this time…it’s not completely stress-free no matter what but preparing ahead of time is a GREAT & beautiful thing! God bless your little boy’s birthday!

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