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 firstname.lastname@example.org