Do what you do best...

All photos in this post by Brittany and Evan Hildreth

All photos in this post by Brittany and Evan Hildreth

It's been ten years since I took a college business class and learned the mantra "Do what you do best, and hire out the rest." I haven't forgotten it since.

This makes perfect sense in a business context, but the basic principle (you don't have to do everything) also applies to personal life. In some cases, it's simple: I don't know how to fix a toilet, so (maybe I will google a solution, but) ultimately I will call someone to fix it for me.

The trickier situations come about when there are things that I could do, but maybe shouldn't. Either I don't have the skill, the patience, or simply the bandwidth to tackle something. Often, it's just an area where I need to learn how to delegate — a skill I'm still working hard to develop.

Ella's birthday last week — during one of the busiest weeks of the year for me — was a good test of this principle. I wanted her birthday to be special, but knew I couldn't do it all.

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We decided to throw a very small party — a collective undertaking if there ever was one. I made a tiny garland and the cakes — using sprinkles from my brother and sister-in-law, a frosting recipe and a candle from Erin, napkins and balloons from my mother-in-law, and plates borrowed from my mom. We added leftover flowers from Indie Craft, and enlisted the whole family's help getting the house ready.

Also, I turned over one of the most important tasks — capturing photos of Ella's first birthday party — to good friends and very capable photographers, Brittany and Evan. This was maybe the best decision of all. If you want my best party-throwing tip, this is it: hand the camera to someone else. The party was short and I didn't have to spend it worried about capturing the perfect shot or missing a moment.

And everything turned out just right. Special, and not stressful.

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It was exactly the kind of birthday party I wanted for Ella and a very fitting cap on what this first year of parenthood has been like — friends and family coming alongside, lending, sharing, giving — to make sure everything comes together.

Once again, I'm glad I don't need to do everything myself and thankful for the community of people who are there to remind me of that.