At the end of this month Isla will be turning 5, and my days of simple “Mostly Family and a Few Friends” birthday parties are over. With Isla being in preschool and dance for the past nine months she has developed a wide circle of friends and of course, she wants to invite ALLLLLL of her classmates to her party.
And then of course, there’s friends outside of school and dance who she’d like to invite, and at that point, do you even bother inviting family to a child-dominated screeching fest? Oh, and how on earth do you even decide on how many kids to let her invite?! AND HOW DO YOU HAND OUT INVITATIONS WITHOUT HAVING SOME OTHER KID FEEL LEFT OUT?!
Of course, I have answers to those questions. Or at least answers that work for us and our situation.
Backstory: Isla decided that she’d like to have a bowling birthday party after attending one back in February. After looking into the cost Kyle and I thought it was totally doable, plus it takes the chaos and mess out of our house. Win!
When it came time for Isla to decide who she’d like to invite to her party I simply asked her. She had her go-to friends (the ones who she’s been friends with pre-preschool and dance), and then she went on to list nearly every kid in her preschool and dance classes. Ruh-roh. Cue one of what will be many sit-down serious discussions with Isla: We told her how she unfortunately couldn’t invite everyone she knows, and to think about who she likes spending the most time with, and we’d go from there.
Eventually we had her par down her list to a few kids from both preschool and dance. I scrutinized her list a little, asking if she was certain on who she wanted to invite, but she seemed certain so we let that be that.
How to hand out the invitations was the biggest stress factor for me. As much as I didn’t want to hurt any tiny human’s feelings, Isla knew who she wanted to invite and while I did my best to sway her decisions, I wasn’t going to make her invite anyone she didn’t want to. I managed to hand them out on the DL with relative ease and so far, there hasn’t been any backlash. Whew! <wood knocking>
Of course, there’s always going to be some second guessing, mostly on my part. Should we have invited one child instead of another? What if no one can come? What if she suddenly becomes “not friends” with someone she invites? (Which may have already happened …) Should we let her invite someone else? What do we tell parents who ask why their child wasn’t invited? What do I tell Isla if someone can’t make it?
The mom-guilt is real and I just have to keep reminding myself that this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to birthday parties and that things are only going to get more complicated as she gets older, especially if her social circle grows.
I know I’m most definitely over thinking all of this and Isla probably won’t even notice if only two out of the however many kids she invited show up. She gets cake? Yay! Bowling? Yay! I just need to remind myself to keep calm and let her party on.