Skip to main content

Why I'm Saying No to My Kids' Birthday Party Invites

I'm reclaiming my time and you can, too

Erin Smith

Published on: June 17, 2019

Birthday Party Kids With Party Presents Gifts

It’s that time of year again. SO many birthday parties. The more people you know, the more parties you’re invited to. And the more kids you have and the more friends they make, the more invites you’ll receive. OMG, the number of birthday parties involved with having a school-aged child can be overwhelming!

I took an informal poll among just my friends, and the average number of birthday invitations received from classmates per child was somewhere between five and 10 annually. Add to that invitations from kids you know through sports, choir, instrument lessons, church, the neighborhood and family and that’s a lot of parties! And is it just me or does it seem like the majority of the parties are happening right now, at the cusp of summer break? Starbucks must be putting something in the pumpkin spice each fall, amiright? 

If you have more than one child, birthday parties can start to feel like they are taking over your life, or at least your weekends. Personally, I’d rather spend my weekends with my children barbequing, hiking, swimming or just catching up on things around the house that I don’t have time for during the week.

So, what is our obligation to the other kids in our kids’ lives? Where do we draw the line?

If you ask Rachel Hollis, author, blogger and self-helper, we not only have to wash our faces and stop apologizing, we also have to attend Every. Single. Party. According to her video on The Chic Site, we are essentially teaching our children to be horrible, discriminatory people if we do not attend each birthday party that they are invited to (insert eye roll here). 

I’ll admit, I get what she’s saying to a point. But attending every party of every random kid from class who sent out a mass invite through the backpack system? Really? 

So, should we buy into the “girl, go to the party” guilt trip Rachel Hollis is shelling? If we choose not to attend these parties, are we truly designating those children as “other or different or wrong,” or is it possible that we are showing our children that time is precious and we should spend it with the people we care about most?

If you, too, are tormented by this "do we or don’t we?" dilemma, let me reassure you, you are not a terrible person if you:

  • prioritize your family by choosing not to attend some of the dozens of parties your children are invited to. 
  • don’t want to subject yourself to the awkwardness of being surrounded by strangers and forced into small talk on your day off. 
  • spend enough money on gifts for the people who enrich your life and the lives of your children and choose not to spend your hard-earned dough on gifts for kids you don’t even know. 
  • RSVP "non."

Yes, you read that last one right. You still have to RSVP. On the RSVP point I agree wholeheartedly with Hollis’ vlog post. But RSVP translates to PLEASE RESPOND. As in, contact the person who invited you to tell them if you are coming or if you are not coming. Text, email, call, hail them down in the frozen food aisle at the grocery store — whatever. Just do it. That’s right, RSVP doesn’t imply that you get a free pass to ignore the invite if you can’t make it. But you are absolutely not obligated to dedicate any of your family’s free time to anyone else.

So, who’s with me? Who is tired of attending multiple birthday parties almost every weekend? Who is ready for a break and a priority shift, guilt-free? It’s time to reclaim our time and our family’s weekend. Just don’t forget to RSVP.

Get the best of ParentMap delivered right to your inbox.

Share this resource with your friends!