Do I Really Have to Invite the Whole Class?

“Was your son invited to Wyatt’s birthday party?” I was asked by a mom I ran into at the playground.

“Yeah, a pool party, should be fun,” I naively responded.

She quipped back with, “We won’t know. My son wasn’t invited.”

Oh. Didn’t see that coming.

“Do you know why?” she awkwardly asked me.

“Ummmmmmmmm……..,” was literally the only thing my sleep-deprived brain could come up with.

“I thought they were friends,” she went on.

“Ummmmmmmmm……..,” is all I could say. (And I used to be a “professional talker” for a living. Baby brain, forever.)

Fortunately, another friend, who had obviously had more sleep, interjected, and saved me with, “It’s probably just an issue of space.”

“I just don’t see how you could invite one kid from the class, and not invite the whole class,” she huffed.

**mental note to add her son’s name to my son’s birthday party invite list…

I ended up inviting her son to the party. And, guess what? He didn’t come. PROBABLY BECAUSE OUR SONS ARE NOT FRIENDS.

I now understood why my sister-in-law told me that she waits to have her children’s birthday parties after school has let out. “It’s just easier, the kids don’t talk to each other, and you avoid the drama,” she told me, before I could even fathom why 4-year olds were worrying about plus ones.

We live in Northern California. My sister-in-law is in the northeast. And a friend in the midwest told me that her son’s school actually puts out guidelines for kids’ parties, and the school rules state that if you invite one kid from the class, you have to invite the whole class.

Is this like a thing now across the whole country?

I’m all about political correctness, but where does it end? If I invite one kid from the soccer team, do I have to invite the whole team? If I invite one kid from the neighborhood, do I have to invite the whole neighborhood? I’m going to have to rent out a Costco to have my kids’ birthday parties.

Maybe, just like wedding planning, I can start having an A-list, and a B-list. And, if enough people from the A-list class decline, then I can move toward the B-list soccer team. And, if enough people from the B-list soccer team decline, I can move toward the C-list neighborhood friends. I’ll make sure that I don’t include the invite list on the Evite so that none of the other parents will know who was included on the A-list. That would be mortifying.

Now, I just need to make sure that before Costco closes down for the day (for my child’s party), they can make a cake big enough to feed the class, and the soccer team, and the neighborhood, and the music lesson friends, and the people from summer camp, and the kids of the moms from my prenatal mommy support group.

Or, here’s an idea: maybe I could just invite my son’s friends? What a concept. Because it’s his party. He only has a handful of close friends anyway. And, you know what? That’s life.

Sometimes you’re friends with people. And, sometimes you’re not.

Recently, the mom of my son’s best friend (who was born in South America) told me her son’s birthday party was coming up. I asked her if she was inviting the whole class. She looked at me, confused, as if maybe she lost something in translation. “No. We just invite his friends. Why, am I supposed to do that here?”

Apparently.

Julie Forbes

Julie Forbes

Julie Kroenig Forbes graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Missouri School of Journalism. She spent the next 10 years working as a news anchor and reporter in various cities, most recently in Nashville, Tennessee. She now lives in Northern California with her husband and four kids.
Julie Forbes

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