Can We Stop Inviting The Whole Class To The Birthday Party

It’s 10am on a Thursday morning and a text flashes across my screen as I scramble to put the last of the groceries away. It’s a friend of mine — our daughters are in the same class — and she’s asking if we will be attending another classmate’s birthday at the local indoor trampoline park on Saturday morning. I freak out a little and frantically search my email for the invitation I definitely forgot about and haven’t responded to.

As soon as I start typing the child’s name, the cute pink and purple Evite pops up, complete with a detailed heart-shaped digital stamp. It’s the latest in a sea of full-class elementary school birthday invitations that my kids have received so far this year. Honestly, we get so many invites that they get lost in the daily shuffle of my inbox. So at the risk of sounding like a very ungrateful assh*le, I am here to make a plea. Can we please stop inviting the whole class to birthday parties?! It’s too much to add to our already packed life schedules.

Before you call me heartless, let me assure you that I understand why this phenomenon exists. When kids are young, it’s important for them to feel part of a community, not left out. I understand the value of inclusivity and avoiding situations that could potentially result in a child getting hurt feelings because they weren’t included.

But when you have multiple elementary school-aged children in classes with upwards of 20 kids, the logistics just get to be too much. For me, that’s 40-ish potential birthday parties — plus a few for my preschooler and middle schooler. Potentially 40 spots on the calendar, 40 drop-offs and pickups, 40 possible requests for me to stay and mingle with parents I don’t know, 40 $25-ish gifts to buy (that’s $1,000 total, for the non-math wizards out there). I can’t handle the current school, sport, and activity schedule in my house. Sprinkle all these party invites into the mix and I am losing my mind.

And it’s not just that I don’t want to go. I really don’t want to host a party that big, either. So when my kid’s birthday comes around, I don’t want to feel shamed into playing this party-scorekeeping game when I create the guest list. Because again, while I do not want to leave anyone out, once I add the class list to the list of the close family and non-school friends, I’m stuck breaking the bank to feed and entertain a small-weddings-worth of people. Something’s gotta give!

And isn’t there some value in a nice, intimate party where people can actually connect and have time with one another, rather than a crowded chaotic whirlwind of almost-strangers who are forced to make semi-awkward conversation over pizza and cupcakes? I mean, as generous as it is, my kids are getting invites from classmates I have never even seen or heard of before. I just think reserving birthday celebrations for a smaller group of well-bonded friends is kind of better for everyone.

Let’s band together for the birthday-party-great-good! Limit your lists to just a couple friends, don’t have invitations given out at school, tell your kid not to brag to others about party throwing or going, and call it a day! Let’s work together to save one another a little money, sanity, and scheduling. Ready… break!

Samm is an ex-lawyer and mom of four who swears a lot. Find her on Instagram @sammbdavidson.

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