Indicators of popularity are always tricky when your kids are young. Honestly they shouldn’t matter at all. Is your kid happy? Does your kid have some friends? Then cool, we are golden.
However, there are some things that are a rite of passage that can’t be overlooked, and how do you handle it when your child isn’t a part of it?
My youngest child, by all accounts, is a sweet, nice girl. She gets along well with everyone at school. She does have friends. I know that by how many times a day she takes my phone and talks to them on Snapchat. I’ve spoken to her teachers. She is never left out of activities or at lunch or recess. All seems well from that front.
But when we try to make plans outside of school, or when I talk to other parents, something changes.
There are times when, of course, activities get in the way. We have our own things with cheer and dance. Totally understandable. Then I hear it. “I’m sorry, we can’t do this day to play. We have a birthday party to go to.” I also talk to other parents and hear their plans and lament how many parties they have to plan around, how many their kids get invited to, and that’s when I realize:
My child has not been invited to a birthday party all year. Not a single one.
My heart at that moment just breaks. She’s an amazing kid. She’s funny, she’s kind, she would do anything for anyone. Why would no child want her?
My brain is silently begging she hasn’t noticed. Unfortunately, she’s 10, she’s not stupid, and she has.
“Mom, is something wrong with me? Why won’t anyone invite me to their parties?”
What kind of answer do I give her? Of course nothing is wrong with her! Also, nothing is wrong with the other people either, even though as a Mama Bear, I want to scream at these people and ask them what their problem is.
I sat my girl down and told her she’s at an age where a lot of kids don’t hold parties much anymore, and if they do, they are smaller, and parents have to keep the guests lists smaller. So maybe only a few kids get invited. Also, maybe some of her good friends’ birthdays are in the spring and summer, and the invitations just haven’t come yet.
Those explanations have held her off for now, but I can’t imagine she’s not hurting.
It’s one of the reasons I didn’t hold a party for her this year, although I didn’t tell her that. We just lucked out being very busy with lots of activities and couldn’t find a good time. I just didn’t see the point of inviting a bunch of kids to a party that weren’t inviting her to theirs. I’m not angry. I’m just really sad. Sad that my little girl has to go through this popularity garbage so young.
Would I like to know why she’s not invited? Maybe, maybe not. Is it because I am not popular with the PTO moms? That would be a terrible reason. Just because you don’t like me, you shouldn’t take it out on my kid. Is it something my child did personally? She’s 10. That would be terrible to her self esteem as well. Maybe people don’t know she isn’t getting invited to places. Or maybe her personal friends really aren’t having birthday parties. We could speculate all day I guess. I do know she is not the only child this happens to. Maybe we should get all of those kids together and hold a big party just for them.
This is not to say she does not have friends that don’t invite her places because she does. We would invite those few girls (and their moms who happen to be equally as awesome) with us anytime, but on the school front, I think we are going to sit this stuff out for now until a solution presents itself.
As a parent, I understand it’s not possible to invite every child, but as a mom whose child wasn’t invited to anything this year, the heartbreak is real. So here is to another ice cream date the next time she finds out about the next party. It’s a life lesson she will take with her, and I know it will make her stronger and kinder as she grows older.