The Birthday Party Nightmare

Makeba Giles

Makeba Giles

Content Creator and Curator at MELISASource
Makeba Giles is an Health, Family, and Lifestyle Blogger. She is also a Midwest Mother of four, and the Founder and Creative Director of MELISASource.com. |

EMAIL: [email protected]
Makeba Giles

A few weeks ago my youngest daughter received an invitation to a birthday party for a classmate in the mail. The party was to consist of fun and games at a party center and a sleepover. Beautifully crafted, the invitation left out a few pieces of important information, so I called to get further clarification of the details. My daughter’s only nine, therefore I needed to know:

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  • The exact address of party center
  • Transportation method and who would be driving
  • What time to pick her up
  • Anything special needed (was it going to be themed, etc.)

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The mom, whom I had never met, did not have answers to the questions that I asked.  Every response was either “I’m not sure” or “I haven’t figured that out yet.”  Hearing this, I was very reluctant to let her go, but the look on my little girl’s face melted my heart long enough for me to say yes.  I figured that I could always Goggle the address of the place and meet with her there to discuss particulars.

 

That Idea was a big mistake.

 

The night of the party, with address in hand, I drove to the center; only to get there and see nothing—no children, no decorations, nothing.  I asked the manager about the party and he told me that there were no birthday parties scheduled for that day.  Confused and frustrated, I got back into the car and decided that I would try going directly to their house—maybe the ‘party center’ portion was cancelled, but the sleepover portion was still a go.  I arrived to the house and knocked on the door—no one answered.  I then grabbed the invitation and called the sole number that was listed on it, only to find that it was a house number and not a cell number. My call went to an answering machine.


All of this took over two hours’ time.

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I left a message asking for a return call, but I never got one—that is, until the next day in the late afternoon. She apologized and said that she had changed the date of the party to the following weekend, and that she told her daughter to make sure she passed the word around at school earlier that week…..

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Huh??!!


Needless to say, my daughter did not attend the revised party.

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Being a Busy Mom myself, I completely understand how frantic things can get when trying to plan birthday parties. However I also know and value the importance of good communication and organization. I’m sure the other Busy Moms whose children were invited to the party feel the same way.

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Here are some things that would have made this experience a lot less stressful for everyone:


Include the physical address of the party location on the invitations

It is never good to assume that every parent knows exactly where the location of your party is. Always give the full address (including zip code) and even enclose a small printout from Goggle Maps, just so that parents can have a visual.

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Include a cell phone number (or 2) on the invitation

Who is at home these days? Hardly anyone! When creating invitations, list at least two numbers where you can be reached quickly and easily. Not only is this good in case someone gets lost in-route, but also in case there’s an emergency.


Have the specifics of the party already finalized before sending invites

When it comes to deciding to entrust your little one to someone else, nothing screams uncertainty like the words, “I’m not sure” and “I haven’t decided that yet”. Take the time to detail as much as possible—from start to finish—prior to making any phone calls or trips to the Post Office. With younger children, unless the parent is already comfortable with you, it’s also good to include a schedule of events with the invite.


For parents whom you’ve never met, offer to set up a date prior to the party where the two of you can meet face-to-face and discuss any concerns/questions

Just because your children are/were classmates doesn’t mean that the parent is acquainted with you–or even knows what you look like. If unsure, state on the invite that you’ll be happy to meet with parents beforehand. If it’s a sleepover, offer to meet at your home so that the parents can tour. It will certainly ease any reservations.

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If something changes with the party, use at least 2 different methods for notification

Leaving it up to your child to “pass the word” simply doesn’t cut it. Call parents directly, ensuring that you talk to someone-not just leave a message. Also, do a follow-up with an email.  Never entrust this crucial information to a young child–it will either get delivered wrong or in our case, not delivered at all.


In all of my years of parenting, I can honestly say that this was indeed a first-time experience.  Going through the hassles of that evening definitely made me appreciate the art of planning, organization, and communication more than ever before.  It was certainly something that I’ll never forget (in a not-so-positive way)! 😀

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Have you ever had a unique child’s birthday party experience? ~Share with me in the comments below or tell me about it at: [email protected]

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11 Comments

  • That sounded very frustrating, Makeba. I don’t have any children as you know, but I have been to some adult parties that had that same unprepared theme to it; which probably made matters worse because a bunch of adults planned it, instead of one.

    I don’t give any slack for people who choose to waste my time. Time these days is very valuable, and if someone chooses not to appreciate, respect, and/or acknowledge someone else’s time; that let’s me know that there are other areas they won’t appreciate, respect, and acknowledge either.

    So what I do is enjoy myself at the one I received and accepted the invitation too, have an absolute ball (as much as I can have), and when the next invitation comes; I turn it down (with all christian, love, and kindness, of course). 😀

    Respect in any area of life is delivered only when it’s received.

    • Greetings: You hit the nail right on the head my friend!!

      One thing that I have very very very low tolerance for is anything that I feel is wasting my time–and that is exactly what that evening turned out to be! Once I begin to feel that a person or event I’ve attended has done that, it’s a done deal for me……and it takes a very long time–if at all–before I muster up enough confidence in that person or event again! Like you said, respect is not something that’s automatic; it’s only received if given indeed. ~Thank you so much for commenting! 🙂

  • Just the fact that it was a parent you’ve never met beforehand would’ve made me not let my kid go to begin with. That sucks though, that you and your kid had to go through all of that. I don’t think the other parent was too busy to be on top of things, just clueless on how to run a party. Maybe it was their first time hosting one.

    • Greetings: I agree with you 100% — my very first thought was exactly what you said: that maybe this was a first-time thing, or maybe the parent was not familiar with handling situations where children outside of family members were being invited. I really wish that some additional advice would have been sought to avoid such a disaster. I hate that my little girl had to experience that, too. ~Thank you so much for commenting! 🙂

    • Greetings — and welcome!

      Thank you for dropping by and for following! Consider the favor returned! 🙂 ~I appreciate you commenting!

    • Greetings:

      Yes one thing that I try to do with everything that I experience is to find the life lessons that can be learned from them–even if it’s something as simple as the gaining more value and appreciation for lessons that I may already know. It was indeed an ‘enlightening’ experience! ~Thank you so much for commenting! 🙂

    • Greetings — and welcome!

      It was indeed a frustrating experience–I’m glad to know that I’m not alone in my feelings for deciding to not let my daughter attend the revised party! ~Thank you so much for commenting! 🙂

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