Tuesday, March 18, 2008
An Open Letter to Parents Regarding Invitations
Your child just received an invitation to the birthday party of a friend. Awesome! Now here are some helpful hints to help you avoid being throttled by the parents of the child who is having the party.
1. Is there a phone number? RSVP! There's a reason that number is there and it's not for shits & giggles. Most parents prefer to have a semi-accurate head count when they do things like order a cake, plan the food, or create goodie bags. While it is one thing to not call because your child isn't going, it's another thing entirely to not call when your child is going. Both are rude, mind you, but the second one runs the risk of putting a parent out who had not planned on entertaining your kid, too.
2. Who is the invitation addressed to? If it's addressed to one child, please don't show up with all of them and expect them to all be accomodated. If there is some reason you feel like all of your children should go to the party, call and discuss this with the parent hosting the party. That's also what that phone number is there for.
3. If your child is old enough to attend his or her own toiletting needs, it is potentially acceptable to drop your child off for the party and find something else to fill your time with. Call the host parent to discuss the preferrence for this particular party. Sometimes it's no big deal either way, and, sometimes, it's an inconvenience for the parents to hang around for the party. Remember that your child was the one invited.
4. If you plan on dropping your child off at the party and then finding something else to do, for the love of Pete, please make contact with at least one of the host parents, introduce yourself, your kid, and let us know when you intend to return. Once you leave we become responsible for your kid, so it would be super to know who your kid is and that they belong to our party.
5. Gifts. Look, our kids go to a school where the average is lower middle class. I totally get this. My kid didn't invite your kid because she thinks your kid will bring her an awesome gift. She's getting the best gifts from her grandparents (and her aunties), and she already knows this. My kid invited your kid because she genuinely enjoys your kid and wants to share her party and her cake with your kid. Please don't stay away because you can't afford a gift. We could give a shit if you show up with a gift. Hell, if you call me and RSVP and let me know, I'll even pony up to feed you and your other kids, including cake. Free lunch? That's always good, right?
OK, y'all, here's the deal. RSVP. It's only right. If you can't come, you're not going to hurt my feelings, and then I'll know. If you're not sure, let me know that, too. We hope you can make it, but we understand life happens. If you have questions about whether you should stay, whether your other kids can come, whether lunch is going to be served, whatever, ask when you RSVP. Also, please give me a phone number when you RSVP, especially if you're leaving it on my voicemail. That way, if there are last minute changes, I can reach you to let you know.
Now that you've RSVP'd, show up! If you're coming to one of our parties, it's not a bad idea to show up 10 to 15 minutes late, because we are perpetually running behind. But, still, come!
Unless you've discussed it specifically with the host parents, please don't show up with your whole brood and expect everyone to party down. This isn't as much of an issue when the party is at a park, or a pizza parlor, but, sometimes, people have parties at places where they pay per person and paying for people you didn't invite can be a major suck. Remember that we are in a poor area, so most of the parents can't afford to pay for your kids, too.
For our kids, we split birthday hosting with their dad. We usually do the park or pizza. We'd love to do something fun like lazer tag or mini golf or roller skating or bowling, but we never get RSVP's. So I have no idea how many kids are showing up, and, therefore, I have no way to estimate or guess what my total cost is going to be. Y'all, I am just not rich enough to cover a surprise tab. Sorry!
Just remember that the host parents are parents, too. We've got a ton of stuff to do and not a lot of time or money for the doing of it. We understand, truly. Please just remember to take a little common courtesy and spread it around liberally.