The politics of “parties at school” ….

I am dragging this tired old subject out of the cupboard again and re-airing it, so that maybe I can get some consensus on the issue. It is a bit of an awkward one to chat about to the “mommies in the parking lot” group.

In the beginning I got really excited about my kid’s (or kids’) birthdays.  Like psycho excited.

I wanted to throw a humdinger at home or at a venue.  I invited all the kids in the class.  Spent my pension fund money and threw a party that made my head spin. It would usually end with Kennith and I having a “moer” of an argument about two minutes before the guests walk through the door.  Ah the joy.

Most of the kids in Connor’s class would come along and kids in general would have a good time.

That is a party.

Connor changed schools in Grade R mid-year.  At his previous school I never experienced a “school party” – all parties were big things done on weekends.  But in the Boerewors triangle it appeared school parties were the norm.  (maybe it was an area thing, or maybe it was a sign of the times, I am not sure)

My kids are both in schools where “parties at schools” appear to be the way things are done.  Invite gets sent.  But it is not really an invite as there is no RSVP and the party is during school times, so is it a “real” party ?

The first year of “parties at school”, I sent presents for EVERYONE.  If I knew the kid, if I did not know the kid, what ever, I sent a present along.  Made sense, cost a bomb. (2 kids x 25 kids give or take each year …..)

I then decided to throw a “party at school” Connor (or Georgia or both – I can’t remember).  I had no mentor to explain how it worked.  I did invites, and party packs, and balloons and cake …. and a snake show … as you do.  I made almost as much effort for the “class party” as I would for a home party.

Let’s say there were 25 kids in the class.  I catered for each of them individually.  I asked each parent to RSVP so that I could make individual things for each child – most parents didn’t.  I still made individual thingss for each kid.

I noticed that Connor/Georgia probably received presents from 10 kids when it was their “class party…”  Yes, it is not about the presents, but it is a bit. Or that is just me.

The accepted rule of society is “you go to a party you take a present” it is just what is done.

I realised “school parties” are actually not “proper kids parties that appear to fit the norms that kid’s parties stick to…”.  They  fall into the cold hinterland of parties which are not quite parties… people do not rsvp, you do or don’t send a present, and as the party giver appear not to expect one … or do you …. so I am totally confused with the rules.

Georgia gets really upset when she brings me an invite for a “class party” –  she whines and yowls that I must send a present, and gets really upset.

I have started saying “Georgia it is not a real party, it is a party at school …. you do not have to bring a present and if I had a party at school for you, I would not expect presents …..”

I realise I might be standing in the firing line on this issue, but I am seriously over spending a fortune on presents and making an effort for birthday presents for “class parties….” when the entire concept confuses me.

I might be the minority and other moms might think class parties rock the daisies.  I think they are a great solution when you do not want to go through the effort/chaos/expense of a party … and is it the norm not to send presents, and realistically for the child (parents of the child) to not expect presents?

I have had several years of them, and I have still not quite “got the rules” …. maybe you can explain them to me, or you can just let me know what your thoughts are, and then we can see if there is a consensus.