What’s the Right Thing To Do?

I have something I’m trying to work out and I am not sure if I’m being too insecure and lame or if this is legitimately something that should be bothering me. So maybe you can help me!

OK, so we moved Em’s birthday this year to September (during the school year) because everyone seems to go away during the month of August. And I sent out an invite and almost everyone is able to come, so that’s great. Three of the boys are also invited to spend the night. (I’d take them all, but I don’t want to lose what’s left of my mind.) There is this one child who Em adores. And so he was one of the boys who was asked to sleep over. One of the reasons we moved his party was specifically so this child might be able to attend.

Two days ago, I received a message from the boy’s mother. (I like this family a great deal, so I don’t want to come off sounding rude or hateful in any way.) But his mother said he would be able to attend but only for a short while because there is another party he enjoyed last year and so he wants to do that as well. She said that if he’s having a good time, he can choose to stay at Em’s party, but that he’ll likely not spend the night and will probably leave after a short while.

Ok. I mean, I get it. Kids want the best of everything. I know my kid would like to do it all. But wouldn’t this be a good time to say, “No, you make a decision and choose one. Don’t leave a person hanging.”? I’m sincerely trying to figure out what I would do in this situation. I think I would tell my kid that he would go to the one party until it ends and show up late for the other party. It’s fine to not spend the night. Or I would say, “Hey, dude. Time to choose which one you’d rather go to, commit and have fun.”

Am I taking this too personally? I am mightily hormonal these days! But I’m taking my meds and my head has been clearer and I am less anxious and, well, I feel pretty damn solid these days. So I wasn’t sure if the old, insecure me was visiting or not.

Anyway, thanks for reading. Even writing it out feels better. Parenting is hard.


  1. Sounds like the club scene. This club is lame, on to the next! Except in this situation, it isn’t a general invite to the public, but a family specifically inviting you. No. You do not tell your kid to go test the waters at one place and then go from there. Choose a party. Attend that one and send condolences to the other. I don’t want your pity show nor do I want a child who isnt stimulated enough/satisfied with one party in a day.


    1. Dianne: Marry me? I could use a sister wife.


    2. This exactly. I have allllllll sorts of social anxieties that make me second guess every interaction I have, every choice I make, so this would make me bonkers. I would totally be taking it personally, but I know you shouldn’t. This is on the mom, she’s got a *teachable moment* here and is totally bending to either her own whims, or her kids.


  2. I’m not a parent, so some may think I don’t get a vote, but I’m with Dianne. Isn’t this one of those “teachable moments”? After all, how else are kids supposed to learn 1) that you can’t have everything you want, 2) that choices need to be made, and 3) what the appropriate/kind/polite responses to invitations are. Yeah, parenting is hard — and you’re doing great from what I can see. Hang in there!


  3. I get the above sentiment but I really don’t see anything wrong with going to both. Leave a little early from one and arrive a little late to the other but figure it out ahead of time and none of this “choosing to stay if you’re having a good time” nonsense. That’s so rude and completely unacceptable.


  4. See, that’s the thing. It was worded to him by his mom that he could decide while there if he wanted to leave or not. It sends a message to Em that he may or may not be that important and we will know that evening. Not sure that makes sense. It just seems like it might be time to make a decision and stick to it. If he doesn’t want to come at all, that’s fine. We are OK with that. If he wants to come for one hour, decide and let us know. But this maybe he will stay maybe he won’t just feels icky.


  5. Ugh what a sitch. I agree with all above and I think your feelings are pretty spot on. I just don’t know what you can do about it, if anything. If it were me I’d try to get the mom to nail down if he is staying or not so you can let Em know in advance. People are going to do what they are going to do so talking to him about it would be my main issue with the whole thing. My son would be crushed if he knew this went down so I’d just be working damage control to minimize drama. I’d rather be able to say “so and so’s plans changed and he is still coming but can’t stay over, would you like to invite someone else?” than get into the whole “he hasn’t decided if he is gracing us with his presence” rigamarole.


    1. I think I will write the mom and ask her to give us a definite idea of when he will be picked up so I can warn Em in advance. This would definitely upset him if he had any idea. Kids can be sensitive too! :]


  6. I agree with you. It would really hurt my daughters feelings if she realized someone was leaving a party not just because he was invited to another but because, in the moment, he decided her party wasn’t fun enough. This is definitely a teachable moment about social appropriateness and also consideration of others’ feelings.


  7. I agree with all of the above commenters, and would probably even go a bit far and say the mother is being quite rude and thoughtless. Or at least just thoughtless. I do think you should speak with her and ask for clarification of the plans so that you can tell your kid. That is what RSVP means! I will also gently suggest that this might be something best done in person or on the phone, not via text. As a dedicated shy person, the thought of that conversation makes me want to die, but so much gets lost and confused in text exchanges. Ugh. Being the grown up is so uncomfortable!


    1. She did this all via text with a bunch of kissy face emojis.

      You guys are helping me out greatly. THANK YOU. I am going to ask her to let me know one way or another as Toby is grilling for all the kids.


      1. Toby GRILLING!!! Can I come and take someone’s place

  8. Yeah, this is awful and rude, not to mention shitty parenting on their part.


  9. Another Elizabeth September 14, 2016 at 3:44 am

    Definitely rude. It’s sounds as though it’s phrased very much as though ” well, if your party isn’t hopping, then we’ve given Junior the option of bailing in favor of another party. But he might deign to stay if he decides it meets his very sophisticated party tastes”. Which? Just, no. If she was trying to be fair and spend equal time at two good friends’ parties, I could see it but this sounds really not very nice. Perhaps something was lost in the texting, or perhaps I’m feeling extra sensitive today – but – unless it’s the latter of those two scenarios then that Mom needs to rethink her priorities.


  10. Yeah, that’s having your cake and eating it too. The “he might want to stay but probably not” clause doesn’t work for me. I think using the food as a way to pin them down is a great move. What lessons are we giving our kids? In my opinion this is a “user” mentality. She could just as easily have said “hey we happen to have two parties that night so we will need to come to yours for a while and then head onto the other”. It’s called being polite people.


  11. What’d you end up doing/saying? It’s important to note that this isn’t about that Mom or child at all; you can’t change anything about them nor teach them any sort of manners. Not possible; not your job. All you can do is manage your *own* reaction. I’d have simply written back something like, “Thanks for the note! Emory will be so sorry to hear that Timmy won’t be sleeping over on Saturday after all; he was really looking forward to it. Let’s catch up in the next few weeks to pick another weekend night that he can stay over with us instead. We’re all looking forward to seeing Timmy this Saturday at the party, even if he’ll be heading out sooner than we’d hoped.” There’s absolutely ZERO middle ground here: Timmy was invited to the party and to sleep over; she’s not giving you a definitive yes; therefore, you make the decision for her (for YOU); you invite another boy to definitively sleep over in Timmy’s place. End of story. While Emory adores this boy – and you his family – this isn’t an emotional situation. It’s simply a matter of facts, one that you should treat pragmatically, cheerfully, steadfastly, kindly, unflinchingly…and then move on (with a smile) to having a great birthday celebration.

    Basically? It’s truly their loss, NOT yours (nor Em’s). There will be other days, other nights to sleep over. Ain’t nobody got time for wishy-washiness. You and Emory deserve better. Showing Emory that you both deserve respect and won’t settle for anything less (and can do so kindly and cheerfully) is the very best birthday gift he’ll get this year. <3


    1. OK. So, this is interesting, how everything unfolded.

      I wrote the mom simply saying: “OK! So since toby is smoking food on the grill, we need a headcount for dinner. And we need a headcount of breakfast as well. So, I’m going to count Timmy as a no for the breakfast, and we will have a little extra for dinner just incase he stays longer than a hour. I hope that works! And maybe we can do a sleepover at a later date.”

      At the same time, I sent out a reminder email to all the guests with the time and the date of the party. BEHOLD: she had the date wrong, thought it was tomorrow and not today. So he CAN come to the whole thing. He will get to go to both after all. :]

      So everyone is happy.

      But I did sit Em down and explain that he STILL may not stay over as this boy likes to do it all and there is always the possibility that something else could come up. (It has happened before.) I told him to be excited he will have his best pal over, but not to be too let down if he should leave.

      That seemed to make Em happy.

      And now we face a house full of kids. The next 24 hours should be interesting to say the least. :]


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