by Lisa, Colorado Mom
We received an email from a mother inviting my daughter to her daughter’s birthday party. My daughter is eight and just recently became closer to the birthday girl. They had been hanging out at school for maybe three weeks when we got the email about the party. I do not know the birthday girl’s parents and wouldn’t even recognize them if I passed them at the school.
The email explained that the party would include six girls there (all seven to nine years old). It was going to start off-site in the afternoon on Saturday. Then they would go to the birthday girl’s house around dinner time for dinner and movies. Those who wanted to go home that night would leave around 9:30 or 10 and would be welcome to return for breakfast in the morning.
I was really thinking that I would go with my daughter and let her stay for dinner and a movie and then we could head home. Then I got to the end of the email and it said, the birthday girl “prefers it is a kid-only event,” but the mother would be there the whole time.
I was so creeped out. I always make it clear to parents that they are welcome to drop their child for a play date at my house or stay for coffee or tea, whatever they are comfortable with. I really felt like the invitation was saying I couldn’t come. I don’t know these people and I was just shocked that I was supposed to send my daughter off to their care for 24 hours.
I may have been able to enter into a dialogue and come to a different agreement but we decided to decline the invitation. We explained to our daughter that part of our job is to keep her safe. We also pointed out how we always welcome parents into our home and asked her if she thought we would ever tell a parent they couldn’t stay at our house during a play date. She really recognized how that was a strange request to not have any parents. She was disappointed but really okay with it.
In writing this, I see we really could have tried to speak with the family but their comment about being a “kid only” event felt like such a closed door. I hope I wasn’t being too overprotective but there wasn’t any way we were letting our daughter go under the conditions the birthday family had set.