If your child has started school - or day care, or nursery school - then you my friend have probably started the birthday dance. With two kids, we usually have a birthday party (or more!) to attend every month. But now that my daughter is in Kindergarten - meaning larger classes - birthday parties start getting a bit more streamlined. They are expensive! So starts the delicate dance of what party to go to and (gasp) some you may not even be invited to. You know, that uncomfortable moment when someone says to you 'See you Saturday!' and you reply with a blank look because you have no idea what they are talking about. 'Little Susie's party - remember? - are you going?' And you realize you (well, really your child) have not been invited.
Whenever someone asks me, and I realize we aren't invited - I go through the stages of party emotions.
At first I am hurt. Ouch.
Is my kid being excluded?
Then I am embarrassed. Does the mom not like me?
Then I have relief - one less present to buy!
But let’s get real here. As 'personal' as this can feel for me - the mom - I have to remain focused on who is the game player here. It is not me. It is my kids. Are they hurt? Often they don't realize there is a party happening. But, if they do hear about it at school, and ask if they are going, I am pretty lucky that we have pretty busy weekends. I can remind them that they have their cousins party, or we are going to see that new movie, or we are heading upstate to visit Grandma and Poppy.
Some children invite the whole class to their party. Which, while generous and very inclusive, means you are going to a lot of parties and buying lots of gifts for children that your child might not hang out with that often. But, a fair decision that has all of the kids happy.
Some children invite only their own gender. So, if my daughter isn't invited to a party and I discover that only boys are invited, I can easily explain how she is simply not a boy and that was what dictated the guest list.
Some parents ask their child who they want to invite. This is a budget friendly, more personal approach for the host and guest of honor, but can result in some sad kids. But, with a little conversation between you and your child, you can very clearly explain why little Johnny, who they never play with, didn't invite them.
I have found the most simple way to deal with this is to not have a party. Seriously. I have never had to worry who we will or won't invite. I send a treat to school, but then keep the actual day of birth a family filled event. Although, this year my daughter is already giving me party ideas for her next birthday. Uh oh.
What it comes down to is if you are invited to the party, great, the kid is happy - you're happy. And if you not, you're a big girl, don’t take it personal, and have a conversation with your kid (if they bring it up, if not, phew, one less thing to explain.) This is just one of many dances you will be having as the parent so put on your big girl pants and dance away.
Post by Erica Young
Photo Credit: Hither and Thither
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