Birthday Party Politics. I’m not talking about adults, or teenagers, they can sort themselves out and live with the consequences. I’m talking about children. Little kids’ birthday parties.
When planning a party there are a number of things you have to take into consideration:
- Date – is your child’s birthday in the middle of the school week, on a weekend, or even in the school holidays?
- Budget – how much can you afford to spend? If it’s unlimited, good for you. Realistically it’s not though so know what you can afford and that will then help you decide on the venue, theme and type of party
- Your Child’s Wishes – Does your child want a big party or just a trip to the movies, or a meal out with one or two close friends?
- Venue – if it’s a party with lots of friends, you need to decide if it’s practical to host the party at your house, or use a venue (remember your budget), take into consideration the weather and season too (indoor, outdoor, summer, winter, rainy season, snow.)
- Theme – once you’ve considered all of the above, then your child (and you) can decide on a theme.
For me, I’d say those are the top things you need to consider when throwing a child’s birthday party.
With that said, please read this post I wrote a while ago about Birthday Party Etiquette. I’m not going to cover that again, but there are some valuable lessons and things to consider in there too. Manners people!! Manners costs nothing!
The point of this post is more about the adult politics that comes into play surrounding birthday parties for our precious children. Anette from 3 Little Buttons wrote this post about how her four-year old daughter was not invited to a friend’s birthday party and had to walk past the party to get home.
This really hit home for me, because my youngest daughter has also been excluded for the past two birthday’s in a row from a certain classmate’s birthday party. Let me try to be fair here before I start ranting and paint the whole picture for you.
My youngest’s birthday falls on a public holiday towards the end of the second school term, in winter. Two years ago her birthday fell on the day I was released from hospital after my first hip replacement (major surgery). I was determined to be home on her birthday regardless, but hosting a birthday party for her was just totally out of the question. Also at this point we were still new to the town and school only having been living here for about three months. And she was only turning two. We did celebrate at home with a cake and presents and my mom was here too, but as parties go, it wasn’t one.
Last year (the following year), I saw via the wonderful joy that is Facebook, that one of the little boys in her class had a birthday party and quite a few of their classmates were invited, but not my daughter. I was a bit hurt on her behalf. I tried to push it aside and make excuses to myself as to why this was; maybe it was only boys, maybe it was only family and a few friends, maybe there were budget or space challenges; but when there is photographic evidence to the contrary, your excuses run out and you just accept the obvious and forget about it whilst trying NOT to take it personally. Fortunately she didn’t know.
A few months later it was my daughter’s turn for her first proper party. She wanted a princess party at home so I invited five of her little girl friends, and if they had sisters the sisters could come too. Since my eldest would obviously be there she was allowed to invite one friend too. We decided not to spend money on a venue, so I set it up in our garage. We live in a townhouse so space was an issue and I couldn’t put the girls outside in the freezing cold weather. There were 10 little girls running around. They played dancing games, decorated cup cakes, everything was pink and sugary. The mommies were invited to stay (because I wouldn’t feel comfortable leaving my kids at someone’s house) and everyone had a lovely time. I put a few pictures on Facebook.
This year rolled round, and thanks again to the joys of Facebook, I see that the same little boy has just had a birthday party and all of their little class friend-clique were at the party, boys and girls, except for my daughter. Even my daughter’s BFF (whose parents are not friends with the family) was there. If I was ever in doubt of her being purposefully excluded, the doubt was now gone. There are two possible explanations here:
- Contrary to what I hear and understand, my child and this boy are NOT friends, and my daughter is a bully who beats this little boy up on a daily basis. Not that I have ever heard of any problems from the parents or the teachers over the last 2 & 1/2 years that these kids have been in the same class.
- The mother doesn’t actually like me and is upset that her son wasn’t invited to last year’s princess party. Therefore the only reason she hasn’t removed me from her Facebook friend list is because she is nosy. Which is fine. I can live with that.
Fortunately my daughter still is none-the-wiser about being the only one of her friends not invited to a party, again. I will keep it that way.
So what am I going to do about this? Firstly, I’m going to have a massive Facebook Friend cull! Secondly, nothing. What is there to be done?
This is just one personal example of Birthday Party Politics. I am quite sure this other mom has her own version, or hasn’t even given it a thought. I am equally sure that every mother/parent out there has their own story to tell about this topic. When did it get this? Why has it got to this?
We can make a million excuses for our own behaviour and that of others, but when we are trying to teach kindness, tolerance and inclusion to our children, shouldn’t we lead by example?
Maybe I’m the one taking this all far too personally. But I am a Lioness Mama! Hurt my children’s feelings and you will hear me roar. Not that they were hurt in this instance. Ah to be young and ignorant.
But I know. And I don’t forget.