Do I Really Have To Come To Your Kid’s Party?

I recently received the followed letter from a reader of The Spinsterlicious Life:


“I was just curious if you’ve ever touched on the subject of singles being invited to countless kids’ parties…when they don’t have kids of their own? I’m reminded of Carrie on the Sex & the City episode where she went to the kid’s party and someone stole her shoes and the hostess was mortified when Carrie asked to be reimbursed. I feel obligated to go to my cousin’s kid’s parties…but really don’t want to! I know I should take that up with her but I’m curious how others handle these situations.”

Yeah, being expected to attend the parties of your friends’ (and family’s) kids is one of the burdens the childfree must bear. Here’s what I think: I think the parents are confused. I think they think that because you love their kid that you want to come to their party. And that might be true if their kid was the only kid at the party. What they fail to take into consideration is that it’s a kids party…meaning there will be other kids there. Lots of ‘em. And that’s really the problem. The kind of person that chooses not to have kids is usually the kind of person who doesn’t want to hang around with a lot of other people’s kids. Why don’t parents know that?


Fortunately, most of my friends are pretty good about not forcing me to come to parties for their children. Every now and then one of them slips up, but I usually manage to have other plans… or the flu. If I can’t get out of it, here’s one tip: arriving late is easier than leaving early.


The scary party

Just a few months ago, my favorite toddler turned one. Naturally, her parents had a big shindig planned. They invited me to her birthday party at a park with about 1000 other kids and their parents. Fortunately, they were kind enough to tell me I wasn’t really expected to come. (This is why I like them).


But I know the first birthday is an important one and she is my favorite toddler so I didn’t want to ignore this big event…I just didn’t want to go to her party. So, genius that I am, I came up with a better plan. I invited her and her parents over to my place for dinner and a mini-birthday party with just the four of us the day before the big event. (Five, if you count the dog). I think this was a brilliant idea: I was able to celebrate this milestone event without having to suffer through the real party.

My more civilized party



So now, I –and Debbie, the letter writer—want to know how you manage. Do you feel obligated to go to the kids’ parties of your friends and family? What tips do you have for others on how to manage (or avoid) them?


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5 Responses to Do I Really Have To Come To Your Kid’s Party?

  1. Child free not childless says:

    I have come to strongly dislike going to children’s birthday parties. I’ll babysit anytime! but the second “mom comes home they all turn into little demon children. I come from a small family with zero younger siblings or even cousins meanwhile my husband and I have 6 tiny nieces and nephews. We love them but we don’t have kids ourselves and haven’t decided if we want any at all. His whole huge family is kid centered they’re great people…everything they do is for the kids and every birthday party, holiday, or excuse for a get together is a huge event. I just wasn’t raised that way and no one seems to understand why we don’t attend every family party. The most comfortable place I seem to find myself every time is posted up over a sink full of steaming hot dishes scrubbing away. Most parents I know think other peoples children are annoying yet no one seems to put two and two together that none of these kids are ours so….

  2. I’d like to offer kudos to the parents who include their single and/or childfree friends in the invites. And I’d also like to offer kudos to the parents who lovingly accept the decline. I often invite my far-away friends to local events because I want them to know I’m thinking of them and would love for them to attend. I think sometimes this stresses them out because they feel like they’re supposed to come. But I just want them to know that I love them. Perhaps the parents are doing the same thing. If there is pressure to go, I would be honest and say that I am too busy. Even if I end up staying in that day, this is true. Because I am too busy nurturing my own tired soul to do something utterly draining and unsatisfying. And then I would send an adorable gift that the parents would never buy. But if you’re not into shopping for kids gifts, just send the kid some cash.

  3. smokie says:

    Oh my. Throwing a little party is more work than popping up at a party for an hour!

  4. Anna B says:

    Thx for my party Eeeeeeeee!

  5. Janine says:

    I never get invited to kids’ parties, thank God, but I used to paint faces at them. Hardest job I ever did.

    Just wondering whether you, Eleanore, and all your loved ones are all OK in the wake of Frankenstorm?


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