Dear Party Mom, Can I Leave My Kids?

kids partyIt has come to my attention… er, I am making it come to attention that we are not being clear when it comes to the attendance of adults at kids’ birthday parties. So, let’s clear it ALL up once and for all:

Do you need me to stay at the party for YOUR kid that you invited MY kid to?

Seriously, do you?

I have kids who are now well into elementary school, and I was confident that I’d finally hit that sweet spot of no more playdates that involved me, another mom, and my biggest anxiety-slash-annoyance: small talk. It’s been an epic level in parenting to just drop a kid off to play, and pick them up a few hours later. I would hope the other parents felt the same when leaving a kid at my home. “Girl, you’re good! Go scroll Instagram for an hour, take a shower, and order takeout, then pick up [insert name here] by 5:30. Seriously, don’t be late.”

We had a good thing going. Until birthday party invites arrived where NOT ONE parent has been clear about whether or not I need to stay.

I’m confident that they are at an age of having zero potty issues, the ability to eat and drink without me, play nicely, have manners (please God, make sure they use them), and be a genuinely well-functioning party guest. It seems though, that rival parents are not.

Side Note: Parents who encourage or force you to stay at the child’s party are automatic “Rival Parents.”

Honestly, it would help me decide whether my child will be attending the party if I know in advance that I have to attend. Basically what I am saying is, if I have to stay, they are unfortunately unable to make it to the party.

I’ve had parties for my kids, and I tell the parents to go and enjoy themselves. I am clear about my intentions, and I promise to keep them safe and sugared up. I have also had parents who don’t leave. Even after telling them that they could go. They stayed. The whole party. Attempting small talk. Lucky for me, it’s how I found out who I would be friends with and who I wouldn’t. Those are not my people. My people get out so fast, I wonder if they will eventually come back.

I made a choice to host a party, for however many kids, at whatever age they were. I knew that responsibility meant that it wouldn’t be for other parents to help. If you feel overwhelmed throwing a party with that many kids, you need to live with the consequences of your own actions or not have the party.

Now, don’t get me wrong, y’all try to sway the parents to stay with adult beverages and room temperature apps that kids have stuck fingers in. I am also more inclined to stay if I like you, and you are not a rival parent. Let that be my choice. The same way that your choice was to have a cotton candy machine next to a water slide inflatable with 14 kids on it at the same time.

Consequences of your own actions.

Either way, if we could be clear on the invites, it would help me, my anxiety, my plans, my family’s plans, and my anger management of small talk, all decide on our RSVP.


  1. Wow.. interesting article. I’ve thrown many parties and honestly this is the first I’ve heard that I need to tell the parents if they would need to stay or not. Sorry if I offend a parent by inviting their child to come have a fun day with friends. If a parent has asked if they can drop their child off, I’ve never minded, but depending on the child, that could be at their own risk. To the author of this article who is offended about their child being invited.. How about just don’t send them and watch your child yourself?


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