Gransnet forums


Endless fretting about "School mums" and party invites.

(87 Posts)
biglouis Tue 16-May-23 13:14:37

It seems that over on Mumsnet some of the posters spend their lives stressing about whether or not their offspring get enough invites to "play dates" and parties. Then there is the time soothing their disappointed little children because they didnt get an invite to XXX.

I can NEVER remember this being an issue when I was a kid. Some children had parties, others didnt. Mostly I didnt because there was never any money. I can never recall either my mother or I feeling great angst because I had or had not been invited to a birthday party. There were no such things as play dates then. You simply knocked the door and politely asked the parent if Joan or John could come out to play.

I cant help feeling that these parents are far too invested in their children's social lives and always running to the school to sort out petty issues. How do these children ever learn independence and self determination if their parents are constantly organizing their friendships, social life and ferrying them around to activities?

FishandChips15 Tue 16-May-23 13:22:08

One year when my DD was about 8 or 9 she went to 33 parties. Friends from dancing, Brownies, school, swimming, etc. The only good thing was the presents did not cost a fortune.

One of her parties instead of party bags which usually were a load of rubbish, as the children left I gave them each a 50p coin so they could buy their own sweets/rubbish.

My GS had a party and twins in his class gave him a £25 Argos voucher each!

Grandma70s Tue 16-May-23 13:31:30

It certainly wasn’t an issue when I was a child - postwar austerity didn’t allow for many parties. I had one, when I was ten. I went to perhaps three at most. My children didn’t have parties often either. I can only remember one when my elder boy was five. After that they didn’t really want parties, but much preferred days out or the money equivalent! Grandchildren were the same. My grandson cried all the way through his fifth birthday party, tolerated his sixth but after that he rebelled.

I think a bit of healthy neglect does no harm. They will organise their own social lives soon enough.

Galaxy Tue 16-May-23 13:36:43

It must be quite difficult for young parents. We currently have two threads going, one saying young parents are neglectful and another saying they are over involved.

Witzend Tue 16-May-23 14:10:42

TBH I can understand children getting upset if it’s very obvious that many others have been invited, but they’ve been left out.

Dd1 is 44 now, but until she was maybe 9 or 10 she always insisted on inviting the whole class to her birthday parties. I still think of the little boy of maybe 8, who said, ‘Thank you for inviting me to your party, Lucy* - nobody else does.’ 😥

*not her real name.

NanaDana Tue 16-May-23 14:23:11

I certainly wouldn't want to be bringing up young children now, and feel that parents these days have so much more to cope with than we did back in the 70's. Yes, there were a few birthday parties, but quite simple affairs as regards both refreshments and presents, partly because I suspect that our children had much lower expectations back then. I certainly don't remember any angst related to parties, and the closest any of ours got to any "playdates" was the very occasional sleepover at a close friend's. They all played outside most of the day anyway, so none of us felt the need to make some sort of "date" out of it. Yes, I don't envy the young parents of today. I think they have far more to contend with than we ever did, in so many ways.

Shelflife Tue 16-May-23 14:33:17

Childrens parties have changed such a lot ! What happened to a traditional party with traditional party games . My DD has a friend with a two year old , they hired the village hall , paid for an entertainer, and also had a disco, flashing lights the lot!!!and a table groaning with food ( for children and adults) parents stayed and were offered fizzy wine too. I was flabbergasted,!! All this for a two year old who had no idea what it was all about. Am I just an old grump? I couldn't believe - perhaps I am turning into Victor Meldrew!!!!!

Calendargirl Tue 16-May-23 14:36:34

I had one birthday party, when I was 6.

I got invited to several, despite this, but am sure was missed out on others, to me that’s quite fair.

My own children had parties until they were 7, I never enjoyed hosting them and was pleased to move on to a family only treat in later years.

My own GC seemed to go to a lot, the birthday gifts seemed to me expensive, and no idea what ‘party bags’ include nowadays.

Foxygloves Tue 16-May-23 14:49:38

It never cease to amazed me why we on GN should be expected to be bothered by threads on Mumsnet.

If I wanted to read MN I would have joined but what exercises young mums does not actually float my boat so I remain agog with indifference

Dickens Tue 16-May-23 14:53:52

Where did "play dates", "date nights" and "sleepovers" come from?

And the wincingly awful "daddy-daughter date".

I've absolutely no idea why, but these phrases make my toes curl. Thy sound so simpering. But then I'm a curmudgeonly old bat anyway.

Dickens Tue 16-May-23 14:54:38

Thy - they

Caramme Tue 16-May-23 15:04:31

When one of my g’dtrs was 10 she was invited to a party for a girl in her class. This was following a spate of increasingly extravagant parties by parents clearly vying to outdo each other. G’dtr was allowed to go because the invite specified 10 pin bowling and fun, which seemed reasonable.
My no nonsense dil was horrified and angry to later discover that 8 young girls had been loaded into a stretch limo where they had been given mocktails and sugary sweets and were allowed to dance to loud music while unrestrained in a moving car travelling along the motorway to Manchester. They were treated to a burger in the Trafford Centre, then taken to the cinema before being brought by limo to a ten pin bowling venue in our nearest town. Finally they were given a very generous gift bag. To be fair, my g’dtr had a great time.
After that birthday invites seemed to dry up. It seems that, like my dil, there were enough sensible parents around to decide when enough is enough.

Theexwife Tue 16-May-23 15:49:11

It seems parties have to be Instagram-worthy, it is not a proper party without a balloon arch and a very fancy bespoke birthday cake.

ParlorGames Tue 16-May-23 15:58:37

Seemingly, kids parties are now either an excuse for parents to have a p**s up, or an opportunity for 'one upmanship' to see who can spend the most on their childs party.

Gone are the days of a plate of sandwiches, crisps, orange squash and jelly all served up in the garden if the weather was fine followed by 'pass the parcel' and 'blind mans buff'.

GagaJo Tue 16-May-23 16:43:29

Took my daughter 6 days to make DGS's cake this year. The alternative was to spend £80 on a cake. Apparently. I'm not convinced.

lyleLyle Tue 16-May-23 16:56:48


It must be quite difficult for young parents. We currently have two threads going, one saying young parents are neglectful and another saying they are over involved.

Came here to say something similar. And yet we will still see the moaning threads where the youth don’t bother and we wonder why hmm

BlueBelle Tue 16-May-23 17:03:07

Absolute nonsense thank goodness my kids and grandkids just had ordinary tea parties, some food, some games, a cake and party bags that ll do nicely and as for play dates I hate the term it s like finger nails on a chalk board

Moonwatcher1904 Tue 16-May-23 17:16:27

I'm so glad that my children are grown up and no grandkids. So no parties to bother over.
On the subject of parents trying to outdo other parents we watched a programme recently called Billionaire Blooms. The couple from London spent thousands of pounds decorating their home for a childs party with flowers, giant ice cream cones, fairground horses and a dodgem car. What a waste of money and how many parents of children could compete with that.

Hellogirl1 Tue 16-May-23 17:50:45

We had 5 children of our own, so didn`t go in for big parties. They were held at home, and the child concerned invited 6 friends, we played games for little prizes that the lady at the newsagent sourced for me.

crazyH Tue 16-May-23 18:20:42

We have 3 AC. When they were little , all bday parties were held in our house / garden - no hiring of halls etc. and certainly no ‘play dates’. My GCs too have parties at home - I think once or twice the parents have hired the church hall.

lixy Tue 16-May-23 18:49:25

Parties at home for my now AC until they replaced a party with a special treat - a day at a theme park with a friend invited to come too for example.
G'chn also have had parties at home on the whole, though there was a hall used when GS wanted a football party - with a January birthday that one was always going to be indoors.
Generally parties here are pretty low key.

When teaching at school we had traditional parties - pass the parcel, pin the tail on something relevant to the party, home-made hats, jelly and ice-cream - the lot. The children loved them and so did the parents who came along too!

CanadianGran Tue 16-May-23 19:48:39

While I agree the whole birthday party scene has gotten way out of hand (just like bachelor and hen parties), I do understand the 'play date'.

Families have so much on the go with sports, music, brownies, etc, and most parents work. There isn't much time left over for unstructured play. Yes, we used to knocking on doors to 'call on' our friends to come out, but mothers tended to be home after school, and we would play in the neighbourhood until dinnertime, or the street lights came on!

MerylStreep Tue 16-May-23 19:52:27

My son in law is very extravagant with the children’s birthdays.
We have a family meal ( with cake, 😄) on the day then on the next weekend all the friends and neighbours are invited to a big do.
It’s lovely 🥰

Primrose53 Tue 16-May-23 20:20:01

I remember a few years ago a girl of about 10 was having a birthday party. Her parents are not well off and live in a tiny house but they booked the village hall and did all the food and had a mini disco and not a single child from school turned up. I felt so sorry for that kid. So there was just her parents, her 4 older brothers and their girlfriends.

If your face doesn’t fit, childhood can be a miserable place.

M0nica Tue 16-May-23 20:35:05

There are far to many sweeping statements on this thread.
Yes, SOME parents and children get all het up about parties and play dates, but an awful lot don't. The same with extravagent parties. SOME parents and chidlren want to have these parties and out Jone the Jones, but an awful lot don't.

I can remember taking DGD and a group of friends to a Farm Park. We packed a picnic because, once the entrance was bought, the cost of a party table and food was just too expensive.

My father was in the army and different groups, Officers, Sergeants etc would organise parties for ALL the children on the base. My mother insisted that my sister and I went, but we loathed them, we didn't know anyone, neither of us was that keen on party food(iced diamonds, playbox biscuits and blancmange and jelly) and the event always finished with slapstick comedy films, Charlie Chaplin, Abbott & Costello, Laurel and Hardy, which neither of us liked.

My children had parties at home until while they were in primary school. After that, it was an outing or meal out with a couple of friends.

I think this low key approach is far more common than the very expensive parties.