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.
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.
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?