Parenting Blog

You Can’t Invoice For Ignorance

The Birthday Party Invoice Today I Eat Cake

Last spring, we ventured outside our home for a combo birthday party for our two daughters. Up to that point, we hosted them each at home, separately, and all went off without incident. I mean, there was that one time I had to yell at a kid for repeatedly harassing our cat after multiple requests to cease and desist. And that other time I had to step in between an overexcited boy who was getting a little too touchy-roughy-feeling with a girl who was asking him to stop. Otherwise, like I said, without incident.

To give myself a one year reprieve from prepping, cooking, cleaning and worrying that the cat would dart out a backdoor left open repeatedly by children who apparently live in a barn (as the saying goes,) we enlisted the square footage of a local bounce/climbing/activity warehouse at a price of, roughly, $20 per kid. Now, we’ve struggled, as I understand many have and do, with getting the parents of our children’s classmates to respond to email invitations. Why this is such a difficult task, I’ll never understand. We know the e-ddresses are correct and we follow up once or twice before and after the soft RSVP deadline but to no avail. Some people are either technologically ignorant or are simply assholes…or a toxic combination of both. Then there was one time when a kid did RSVP (thanks) but didn’t show up at our house for Mouse’s 6th birthday (no thanks). His dad called about an hour in to apologize and ask if it was still ok for him to arrive (“but of course,” I kindly replied) and then he never showed up, and we never heard from him again. Damn black holes.

This all leads back up to that combo party at that place for that price per. One kid didn’t make an appearance until 1/2 way through the event, after I’d already spewed fifty or so muted curses in her parent’s general direction. When her mother did stroll in, casually, with no apologies (of course,) she had her other daughter too, and asked if child #2 could partake in the 2nd half of the festivities because she had errands to run. No please. No thank you. No ‘sorry I’m a disorganized dunce who can’t arrive anywhere on time and can’t make a simple call/text/email to give you the heads-up that we’re still on our way’. No ‘sorry to drop the extra kid thing on you now, in the middle of the party, instead of asking when I originally RSVP-ed’. I may or may not have had to take a solitary walk around the building at the exact moment she arrived, leaving the Mrs. to politely-with-clenched-teeth say a $20 “sure, why not”.

The conclusion? Some people ARE ignorant assholes. That’s unfortunately just the way it is and try as you might to put yourself in positions to always skirt them in life, you’ll ultimately cross paths with one or two, most likely in the weeks leading up to or at your child’s birthday party.

But, but, BUT! You cannot reply in kind with a fucking invoice for the cost incurred by the assholery of others. You just can’t. You can’t invoice for ignorance. Much like retail stores factoring in a certain amount of loss and theft into their pricing strategy, you have to build into your skin’s thickness the fact that other parents will be dicks and will cost you time and money and mental energy. That’s part of sharing this beautiful planet with less-than-beautiful people. No invoice necessary.

*Today, I Eat Cake shirts, gifts and gadgets available here.

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