10 Brutally Honest Thoughts I Have When Opening a Kid’s Birthday Party Invite

Woman Opening Envelope

Kid’s birthday party invites….ugghhh….

If you say you enjoy going to kids’ birthday parties, you are more full of shit than the goody bags awaiting my child at the end of every one of these damn things. Kid’s birthday parties are THE WORST.

I can’t even see clearly at a birthday party. It’s all just brightly colored, high-on-sugar blurs producing deafening sounds through which I have to pretend to enjoy small talk.

That’s why every time we get a kid’s birthday party invite, these are my thoughts:

“Fun! An envelope from the Smiths! I wonder what this could b…DAMNIT.”

There are many instant high-low transitions in parenting, like proudly observing your kid take his first few steps and then watching in horror as he trips, falls and puts his tooth through his lip.

This is how I feel about the birthday invite. I get all excited thinking I’m just getting a note from a friend and then BOOM – I’m smacked in the face with cartoon figures donned in birthday hats asking you to join them for two hours of hell.

“Didn’t this kid just have a birthday?”

Nope, that was his younger brother. Remember? The party with the moms all dressed to the nines and I was still in my workout clothes? Yeah, that was awkward. Oh, and this kid has an older brother, too, so I’ll get an invite to that party in a few months. It’s like a reoccurring nightmare, only I am awake and won’t be able to reassure myself that it will be over soon, because it won’t, because God hates me.

“We have something to do that weekend, right? TELL ME we are busy and can’t make it.”

We do have something else that weekend: another birthday party for another kid. The parties don’t overlap, but they are on the same day and on opposite sides of town and both request that my child dress up in differently themed costumes.

“Damn, this is a nice invite.”

Like, what the hell, people? Is it not enough that we are one-upping each other with stuff like, “My kid learned to walk at 9 months old,” and, “My 3-year-old understands common core math”? Now we have to host these over-the-top birthday parties that are Pinterest-planned down to the damn invite? You know what I did for my son’s party a few years ago?

Texted people their invites and ordered pizza. And my 2-year-old hasn’t had a party ever because: second child.

“Maybe my husband will go to this one instead of me.”

Hahahahaha. HA HA HA HA. Oh, that’s a good one. My husband flying solo to a kid’s birthday party is a bigger disaster than 40 kids wrestling in a bounce house built for just five toddlers.

“I don’t even like this kid.”

There, I said it. I don’t always like the kid! Some kids are brats and are mean to my kid. I don’t want to spend money on a present for some punk who last week at a play date told me that I look old and fat.

“What the hell do I buy for this kid?”

I don’t know what he’s into. I don’t know what he has. The parent has not given me any fun clues, like, “Here’s our Amazon wish list!” or “Please bring a book for his library” or, my personal favorite, “No gifts, please.”

“Is a gift card an appropriate present for a 4-year-old?”

No? How about a personal check? Or a sedative?

“Damnit. I’m not going to know a soul there except the understandably frazzled mother.”

How many flipping times do I need to fake interest in what a complete stranger does for a living? Or how old her children are? Or where she got that necklace? I guess I’ll just stand in a corner willing time to move faster. Other parents and I will use the kids as a focal point to avoid conversation, each of us staring straight ahead making occasional comments about the “creative décor” and “delicious homemade dip” when really, we’d rather be at home, on the couch, binge-watching Netflix because THAT IS WHY GOD MADE SATURDAYS.

“I better RSVP now or else I’ll forget and get a text from the mom the week before asking if we are going.”

It’s inevitable. I’m going to go, my kid is going to have a blast, and I’ll get over it just in time for the next party. Bite the bullet, call the parent and lie through clenched teeth that I am looking forward to it. After all, my kid wants a party this year, so I’ll be the one putting parents in the same predicament soon enough.

Kate Meier has two kids and zero tolerance for people who criticize parents for bullshit reasons. Go enjoy her sarcastic sense of humor at her blog, My Kind of Parenting, or here on Facebook.

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9 Comments on “10 Brutally Honest Thoughts I Have When Opening a Kid’s Birthday Party Invite”

  1. Many of your posts are on point. This one makes me angry and sad. As a mother of disabled children I would love to have your problem with too many birthday invites. My children did not get invited to parties very often. When it did happen I was thrilled. Next time you have a party look around your child’s classroom for the weird left out kid – and invite them. You will make a friend for life. Btw I have rolls of unused birthday wrapping paper. We didn’t get birthday invites but were still expected to participate in the fund raisers….now that’s ironic.

    1. I feel you… my son has been invited to one party in his life he hears kids talking about their party’s and when we has his only two kids showed up 6 rsvp with a yes he was let down

  2. I love the way your mind works! I have two kids of my own and to be honest, it’s a relief to know I’m not the only parent who feels this way. So here’s a toast to you! Cheers!

  3. I feel exactly the same way. I have never understood the point of a toddlers birthday party. Nor have I understood the need, for a reason to have fun, or have a party. If you want to have friends come over just do it. I am a grown ass man, and father of four. I have no need or obligation to make people happy, or feel good about themselves. Nor do i feel guilty when i do not attend your party. My wife Is a full time home schooling mother. Every day is a toddler party at our house.We do not want to go to your toddlers
    party, and on the same note I avoid weddings also. I will however give you a pass for a funeral, but not a “celebration of life” party. What the hell is wrong with grown people anyway

  4. When I was little my mom dropped me off and never stayed at a single birthday party, even when I was in kindergarten. I didn’t know it was a thing for the mom/dad to also attend the party.

    1. I am in my early fifties and my mom never came to a kid’s birthday party with me. Nor were there goody bags or bounce houses or a three course meal. Cake, ice cream, a few simple games and boom! party complete. I love the comment about one-upmanship and pinterest themed parties. All this “my party” (gift bag, bounce house, child) is better than yours nonsense trend should be just that, a trend. Please, for the love of God, just invite your child’s closest friends, don’t expect the parents to stay (unless their child is a well known monster) f.. the goody bags and ENJOY your child’s special day!

  5. I drop my kid of at the door and pick it up a few hours later. Parents are not supposed to stay. So actually birthday parties are double fun: I have the house to myself for a few hours and my child is having an awesome time!

  6. I get that it’s a pain to go to so many kids parties but maybe we can focus on the purpose of the party. It’s for the child, not for you or for any other parent. I don’t always enjoy going to parties but I do enjoy seeing children interact and have fun with one another. It’s more about enjoying them and finding happiness in THEIR joy. If you don’t enjoy all of the over the top parties, don’t do them for your kids. I’m sure they’d be JUST as happy! As far as my own enjoyment is concerned, I actually do want to get to know the parents of the children my kids hang out with. In this age and time you have to be aware of who your child’s parents are. It’s, unfortunately a matter of safety. I do like getting to know people as well. I do care about learning from different people and seeing life from differing perspectives. It certainly teaches me a lot. I do wish that birthdays were more for close friends though. However, there is always that special needs or typical child who sits in the corner alone and would love to feel included. I understand this perspective because sometimes you want to just veg out! I think that there are positive and negatives to every situation. Just depends on what you have the energy to focus on at that moment.

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