School party invitation etiquette

Its all over the news and social media, a headteacher has written a letter asking parents not to hand out party invitations in school if the whole class isn’t invited. People are up in arms; its a disgrace children should not be sheltered from such things, if you’re not invited then its your tough luck, even if you are the only child in the class not to be invited. What utter rubbish.

For me, the school run can be summed up a bit like that scene in Dirty Dancing where baby is carrying the watermelon. I know I will never fit in with the St Albans yummy mummys, I don’t share their values, their ethics or very much at all really and my kids only go to school because they want to go. Not because I want them too, because at the end of the day I’m more than happy to home educate them.

I have tried with the other mums, I really have. I’m a bit like Bridget Jones in the new book though, I cant help but say the wrong thing or act the wrong way in their eyes. To several of the mothers I’m this terrible person thanks to a particularly bad experience where I foolishly agreed to childmind one of the other mums kids. This resulted in endless playground bullying from one group of parents the repercussions of which continues to this day. Despite me doing absolutely nothing wrong.

I must say, I was delighted when I dragged myself to my one and only ‘mums night out’ to sit at a table and be told by one of the mums how disappointed she was sitting near me because they all looked to be having so much fun at the other end of the table. [Insert personal expletive].

My children, my son in particular, hardly ever gets invited to parties. This is definitely my fault, parents not wanting to associate with me. My daughter has now started going to a fair few, but there have been serious tears over the party thing. Aged four this is not something she needs. One child whom she played with everyday didn’t give her an invite, she insisted she was invited, the child told her and told her where and when it was. Talk about a difficult situation. She sobbed for three hours that afternoon. Thanks parent.

You see, at our school the handing out of invitations is almost ceremonial. Being the last mum on the block most people want to associate with, my kids could be the best friend at school to the kid who is having the party. They ain’t going to get an invite. However, everyone else is, and they are getting one in front of my child before school. This is not only wicked, its downright tantamount to child abuse. Yes, thanks stupid mother I know you hate me but I could really have done without shoving my little boy (a reluctant learner) into class yet again wondering why he isn’t allowed to go to ‘the party of the decade’ desperately holding back tears (from both of us). Take out your petty vendetta another time, please.

Then there are the parents who ‘only want to invite close friends, you know, 15 or so’. Fair enough I am all for that. BUT IF THEY ARE CLOSE FRIENDS THEN WHY NOT TEXT, EMAIL OR HAND OUT INVITES ON THE NEXT PLAYDATE. For goodness sake, this isn’t about kids or about teaching them ‘life skills’ its about parental one up man ship.

I am strongly of the opinion that there is far too much parent involvement in schools, there is no split between home life and school life and I have no idea who is dealing with my children and what strangers they know. The party invite thing is yet another example of where it has gone wrong. School parties don’t have to be big things, costing a fortune, they don’t have to be exclusive and they don’t have to make children feel isolated. Why isn’t there a chapter in Debretts on this? Its a disgrace and I am totally behind this headmaster and wish that our school would enact the same policy.

For the record, wouldn’t it be better if each term the school organised a ‘party’ for all the kids in that term who were having a birthday? No-one would get left out, everyone would get a party with friends and this would stop all the party one up man ship. I mean, I’d rather spend £300 on a weeks holiday!


1 Response

  1. Clare 14th October 2013 / 1:14 pm

    My sentiments exactly. Well said! <br />I&#39;m fed up with the competing parents who all try to outdo each other with the most imaginitive (and expensive) party possible. Whatever happened to a tea party at home with old fashioned games. Same can be said for what some parents spend on the dreaded party bags. <br />

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