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.
Things to consider when planning a kids birthday party …
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. Or maybe 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. 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? Maybe they want 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. Maybe it’s better to 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.
Lessons to be learned …
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 then had to walk past the party to get home.
My heart breaks.
When it really hits 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. Let me try to be fair here before I start ranting and paint the whole picture for you.
Set the scene …
My youngest daughter’s birthday falls on a public holiday (in South Africa). It’s 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 there for about three months. And she was only turning two. We did celebrate at home with a cake and presents and my mom was there too, but as parties go, it wasn’t one.
Nailed it – no birthday party politics on that occasion!
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. 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. You try to forget about it whilst trying NOT to take it personally. It’s this type of birthday party politics that you need to steer clear from!! Or maybe embrace!
Fortunately, my daughter didn’t know. Clearly I am more invested than she is!
Switch It Up …
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 lived 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:
I have no idea why.
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.
Is it the end of the world? Am I being petty?
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 to 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 …