A friend recently emailed asking if I say yes to every birthday party Alex is invited to—her son had just received invites to four classmate’s parties over two weekends and she really didn’t feel like giving up that much family time. I immediately wrote back, “Heck no.” It’s a tough call—particularly when your instinct is to always say yes—but I told her she didn’t need to feel guilty about missing a kid party here and there. Then, to make her feel better, I shared the following un-pc reasons I have RSVPd no in the past.
- The party was during Alex’s naptime and I knew he’d be a monster the rest of the day if he didn’t sleep.
- It was at a creepy/dirty place that I didn’t feel like hanging out in for an hour and a half.
- Alex doesn’t sit still very well and the party was at a place that you have to sit still the entire time (great idea for a three-year-old party, huh?)
- The kid lives in a different school district so once pre-school is over they’ll never see each other again and I just didn’t feel like it was worth it.
- The invite annoyed me (it was a photo of the little girl dressed like a princess and the wording, which I won’t get into in case the mom reads the blog but trust me it was over the top, screamed “I’m going to be a mean girl someday”).
When you have a class of 20 kids, there can be a party every weekend and when you work during the week (or even if you’re home), you really want/need/cherish that downtime with your kids. And if you have more than one kid, as my friend does, the logistical issues of which parent takes which kid where come into play. An entire day can be spent in birthday party transit. Not to mention those parties can be mind-numbing, particularly when you don’t know the other parents. I should clarify that the parties I’m referring to are four and under and the kids are classmates that we don’t know well. I also know that, at least in Alex’s last school, all the kids get invited as a rule (we throw a family and close friends party for Alex every year rather than the invite-the-whole-class thing). So while I do try to take him to the parties I can, I don’t feel incredibly guilty when we miss one. And we never miss one if we truly have nothing else to do (Alex does love a good party and I’d never deny him that). But this is pre-school we’re talking about. We have lots of time to party with friends….and when my kids do get older and being at the party is more important (i.e., the kids talk it up at school), they will always be there.
Clearly I feel my friend’s conflict. She wants to do the right thing, as we all do. I was raised by people who always do the right thing when it comes to showing up. If my parents are invited somewhere—anywhere—they go. Nick and I try to do the same—we’ve attended friend’s weddings everywhere from Vermont to Vienna—but now that we have kids, sometimes it’s just not in the cards. Sometimes something has to give and, in my book, it’s OK if that something is a windowless room full of a blow-up bouncy castles.
What do you think? Do you go to every kid party you’re invited to? What’s the lamest reason you’ve used for RSVPing no? And here’s a good question: If you’re the one throwing the party, do you feel bad when kids--even the ones you don't know--RSVP no? My guess is yes (I throw a lot of parties and I love when everyone comes), which makes me want to scrap everything I just wrote. Crap. Here’s hoping Alex doesn’t get many invites this year because I guess we'll be going!