Most likely your own kids enjoyed birthday parties where the food on offer was fairy bread, washed down with loads of sugary cordial, and the entertainment stretched to simple games like pass the parcel or hide and seek with a few of their closest pals.
Nowadays though, parents are pulling out all the stops for their kids’ parties and it seems the stress is causing what should be a happy occasion to feel more like a nightmare.
It’s not just the amount of planning and organisation required that is taking its toll though, as parents are inviting more and more of their youngsters’ friends and classmates to the events, only adding to the pressure.
One mother shared an anonymous letter with media website Mamamia in which she revealed that hosting a kids party requires “a lot of coordination, patience, time management and focus”. Adding to the anonymous woman’s frustrations was the fact that the parent of one of her daughter’s friends had left their four-year-old child at the party unsupervised.
The Aussie mum, who had invited a total of 31 children to her daughter’s fifth birthday celebration, said she had spent the entire night before, and morning of, the party “setting up, decorating, making fairy bread, cutting up fruit and setting up games”, adding that she had enough on her plate without having to look out for someone else’s child.
“You came in with your four-year-old son at the start time, exactly 10am on the dot,” she wrote. “You told me his dad would pick him up at the end, then you promptly turned around and left.”
She added: “I’d usually (in non-party situations) respond responsibly and ask that someone please stay to supervise Jake because there were about thirty other children in attendance, as well as my own three children.
“I really had enough to do without watching your son too. I instead muttered a taken a back okay’ … Basically, I was Jake’s mum for two hours. I did what you or Jake’s dad should have done, all the while doing it for my actual children and attempting to host a child’s party.”
The disgruntled mum went on to say: “I’d like you to know that it was not okay to leave your four-year-old son by himself at my daughter’s party. It wasn’t okay because firstly, I don’t really know either of you or your son. I have met Jake a handful of times at Kinder pick up.”
Many people commented on the story, with some calling the mother’s decision to invite so many kids as “extreme” for a fifth birthday and pointing out that the party host should assume responsibility for those in attendance, while others agreed that the boy’s mother had been wrong to leave her child unsupervised.
One person wrote: “You did not ‘become (that kids’) mum’ who even thinks this way? Does a teacher become a mother to the thirty or so kids in her care for 6hrs a day? No, you hosted a kids party so assumed responsibility for invited guests, I always leave my (school aged) kids at birthday parties, unless it’s somewhere in public like an aquatic centre where more supervision is required, if you can’t take on the responsibility to supervise other people’s kids for a couple of hours, perhaps hosting kids parties is not something you should be doing, or at least state in the invites that you need parents to stay and help.”
Another commented: ” I always drop and run…I can’t think of anything worse than hanging around at a kids birthday party…not to mention I have 6 kids, so there were 5 other kids that needed looking after that didn’t get an invite…
“And if I was hosting a child’s party I actually don’t want the parents staying, I’m not there to feed and entertain them, I’d expect them to go do their groceries or get a manicure or something.”
While one woman said: “What are some of you saying! Dropping a 4yr old off and leaving … How irresponsible to leave a small child unless it’s family.”