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Why Should I Let You Bring the Whole Family to My Kid's Party?

Boy playing with balloons at party
Photograph by Getty Images

It happens every year. Every time. Without fail, when the invites go out to my kid's birthday party, the texts come in. From numbers I don't know, from people I never met before. But the messages are always the same:

"My son/ daughter would love to attend the birthday party! Can I bring his sister, too?"

Um, what?

Didn't you see the invitation? Didn't the envelope clearly state the recipient of this invitation? The invite was addressed to your kid. One kid. It was not an open invite for your entire family. It was in no way an invite to all of the kids in your house.

I get these requests and wonder, 'Have you ever thrown a birthday party before?'

I mean, where does it end? Do you want to bring your three nephews as well? Are you going to round up all of the other kids in the neighborhood? If I wanted to invite your kid's 30 closest friends, don't you think I would have just done so myself?

I don't get where these parents are coming from. I get these requests and wonder, "Have you ever thrown a birthday party before?" I know they have. They've hosted the entire class at a bouncy house/laser tag/arts and crafts place before. I think, "I know that you know that they charge me per person. I know that you've paid for a kid's party before. I know that you know you have to have the right amount of party favors for each kid."

SO THEN WHY ARE YOU ASKING ME IF YOU CAN BRING YOUR OTHER KID TO MY PARTY?

Ahem.

Yes, I get it childcare issues. We all have childcare issues. That's why when I can't make arrangements for my other kid, I suck it up and say no to a birthday party invite. Or sometimes I'll hire a babysitter. Or sometimes I'll carpool/exchange babysitting with another mom who's in the same situation as me. But, I assure you, I have never once asked a mother if I can bring another kid to her kid's party. It's basically like saying, "Can you pay for my other kid to attend this party he/she wasn't invited to?"

And it's always from a mother I've never met before. It's almost always rude, with a sense of entitlement. One mom told me that she had to work, so she could either send both of her children or none at all. (Oh, hello, ultimatum, lovely to see you!) Another mom simply informed me—that right, didn't ask, just let me know—that her child would be attending with the older sister in tow. (Now that is one take-charge mommy.)

The invites go out, the texts come in. From numbers I don't know, from people I never met before.

Once, a mom asked me if I knew that her child had a twin brother. (Um, no, I didn't know that, because I don't really know your kid, and I've never met you before. Anyway, aren't twins separate people? I mean, if they were conjoined twins, then, yes, the other twin is certainly invited to my kid's party. But if they are two separate people, then, I don't really see your logic here. Do they have to attend parties together? Is this a twin thing that I'm not privy to since I'm not raising twins?)

It happens every year without fail. The invites go out, the texts come in. From numbers I don't know, from people I never met before. Always the same:

"My son/ daughter would love to attend the birthday party! Can I bring his sister, too?"

And every year, without fail, I (always, always!) text the mom back and say:

"Yes, of course! The more, the merrier."

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