Dear Snarky – Party Crashers

d46061e43fd6a6aae3b297a1e0d56dccDear Snarky,

My friends and I would like some advice about what to do when a mom brings siblings to a birthday party? There are always a couple of mothers who think an invitation for one of her kids means bring everyone under 21 who still lives at home. Serving a few more pieces of cake is no problem yet it can really add up or create awkward moments when you run out of goodie bags or you’re having the party, at say, a trampoline park and you don’t want to pay for anymore kids. Help! We’re running out of patience and cash.

Signed, Wanna Be Snarky Moms

Dear Wanna Be’s

This kind of boorish behavior calls for a direct approach. These moms know exactly what they’re doing. They’re party crashers plain and simple. Oh sure, some of you maybe saying the “more the merrier” but sometimes for your sanity and cost reasons you need to keep the party to the number invited.

In my parenting career I’ve seen these party crashers in action plenty of times. Their M.O is to walk into a party with all their kids and act like they’re just going to hang out for a couple of minutes and chat with the other moms. Then not so slowly their kids, who were not on the guest list, become intertwined in the party happenings. Before you know it, your party for ten kids turns into an event for 14 and you’re scrambling around trying to turn a couple of gallon Ziplocs into goodie bags and rummaging through your pantry for bag filler which forces you to part with that secret stash of Easter candy you had been saving for yourself. But much worse than having your hospitality taken advantage of is that sometimes extra, unexpected guests, can ruin the dynamic of the party.

For example, bringing a four-year old to a party for third graders at a trampoline park means all the older kids have to watch out for the little kid and you know the preschooler is going to cry or have a melt down because the big kids either aren’t playing with him or he’s going to get hurt trying to keep up.

Even if you hold the party at your home having an uninvited guest that is not in the age bracket of the birthday girl or boy means something as simple as pin the tail of the donkey can become a challenge. And if the party crashers are older kids they’ll call the game “lame” and can and will under the right circumstances take over the party.

This is why you must be proactive. If a mom has a history of party crashing let her know before the event that only child X is invited. Explain that you have a limited number of kids that can attend and if it makes you feel better apologize as in “I’m so sorry but I want you to know up front we won’t be able to have any siblings at the party.” If she shows up with siblings in tow stand firm and offer to give her child, that was invited, a ride home so she doesn’t feel like she has to stay. If she refuses to take the hint sadly your only recourse maybe not inviting her child to anymore parties, at least, for a while. Don’t let yourself feel guilty – that emotion should be saved for the party crashing mom, not you.

If you have a question for Dear Snarky email me at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com

15 thoughts on “Dear Snarky – Party Crashers

  1. Jenni says:

    I’ve had this happen as well, the best way to handle the “extra” guest at a Fun Park, trampoline place, etc. is to tell the parent the invited child’s cost is covered, but if she wants the siblings to play, she has to pay. She usually leaves, extra uninvited guests in tow. 🙂 I have never felt bad about confronting these parents, nor did I ever feel the need to apologize. The party invitation clearly stated which child was invited.

  2. Nice Mom says:

    I think you’re mean. You live a much happier life if you just go with the flow and let any and all children enjoy the party. Open up your heart and your wallet.

    • Heather Pilkenton says:

      That works if you have money in your wallet. But say someone like me budgets and saves for months to give their child the party at the place of their choice and an extra uninvited guest I cannot afford. Does that make me mean?? I always say on the invitation that siblings are not covered in the party package and will not be allowed to stay. If that makes me a bad guy for not allowing extra uninvited kids then I guess I am a bad guy. Not everyone can afford or have the luxury of letting extra uninvited kids stay.

    • Gretchen says:

      It is also important to respect boundaries. An invitation is a boundary. As a guest you are being invited in a special space the host has created, it is rude to violate that and assume you are entitled to add people to their guest list. The host spent time, money and creativity planning an age appropriate event and in the end you as the party crasher are disregarding all of that for your personal interest.

      Use some creativity. Name calling does not really convey a message.

    • Janet says:

      Nice Mom – What is mean is being the parent who mooches so then their kids get left out in the future. And calling people names because you disagree is mean too – get a new nickname to hide behind!

  3. Gretchen says:

    Holy Cow! I can not believe this issue happens so often it needs to be addressed. What are people thinking just crashing someone else’s party? It is beyond rude. Then for the parent holding the party to feel obligated to give the extra party guest a goodie bag is just insane. People need to learn to respect boundaries. The invitation clearly states who is invited, it does not say “and family”.

  4. Jodi says:

    Amen, Snarky, Amen! Take comfort in knowing that it will not be long before this stops being an issue — as soon as the kids are old enough to be dropped off at the door without mom/dad having to stay “for a few minutes” (around age 9 or 10). In fact, the kids will be horrified at the idea of a parent coming in, let alone a sibling. (I once had a mom, dad and young sibling stay for the entire party — grrr.)

  5. Normal Mom says:

    Agreed that it is in part dependent on the type of party. If it’s a house party, I am more relaxed about these things. But if it’s a “pay per person” event off-site, that is quite rude to expect the host to take any and all comers.

  6. Tammy says:

    I’ve always been an “invite everybody” person, but recently, my daughter wanted a specific group of kids at her party. One of the moms assumed the younger daughter was invited, and when I emailed to explain the situation, all hell broke loose. She pretty much hates me now. Fortunately our kids (and we) weren’t really great friends in the first place.

  7. Marian says:

    It depends on the venue and the age of the kids. I had to cases:

    Case #1 Was at a bowling alley. I had invited exactly 10 kids 5 per lane. Kiddo #10 shows up with his grandparents (one on a wheel chair) and you guessed it: an uninvited sibling. The poor grandparents had no idea, they seemed so fragile and I felt that they were just sent… so I sucked it up and had to buy an extra lane for this kiddo. To my surprise the grandparents left!!!! So I had to care for this much younger sibling too. Ugh. When I gave favors out I didn’t have one for the extra kid either and at that point I didn’t care. Needless to say this kid was never invited again.

    Case #2 Also at a venue, I had seen this mom in a previous party bring her two pre-teens to a party (of preschoolers!) they were awful, no care or respect for the kids and one of them hit my son. The mom was chatting and payed no attention at all. So for my party I invited the whole class (the venue had no limit for the same price) and I did want to include siblings since all but hers were younger. BUT what to do with these two older ones? I just wrote on the invitation that the activities were for toddlers and there was a height and weight limit. Problem solved, said mama showed up with just the invited kid. 😀

  8. Nurse Mom says:

    Nice mom – you are part of the problem. Party crashing is rude. Would you do that at an adult party/wedding/celebration? Let the kids enjoy their party without the siblings!

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