This was the year. The year my youngest bonus daughter Elle was turning 10. The year my hub’s had his daughts for her actual birthday with a conjoining weekend.
With alternating schedules in a divorced family setting we don’t get my bonus kiddos every year on their birthdays. It’s every other year. And the years we do have them for their birthdays it’s exciting to plan their birthday parties and all that.
Now in a normal co-parenting setting the parents alternate coordinating their child’s birthday parties and inviting their child’s friends to those parties. But unfortunately that is not always the case with all.
As with us sadly it is not so.
With my bonus daughter getting into her double digits we started planning her 10th birthday party months in advance. Deciding on where to have the birthday party was the hardest part seeing as most of Elle’s friends were from her school in Mcminnville whilst we live in Oregon City. I mean it’s only a 100 mile round-trip difference between the homes and who doesn’t mind a road trip? 😅
So with her friend’s homes in mind and how far their parents were likely willing to travel for a birthday party we planned on a location quite close to their homes in MAC.
The location was chosen, the theme was chosen, the colors, the cake, and even the presents. It was time to choose the friends to invite and write out the invitations.
It was the weekend Elle had come over, a month prior to her birthday, the alternating weekend scheduled with us when we were planning to write out the invitations together to invite her friends for her upcoming birthday party with us… when we were informed by her that her mom already invited her friends to the party her mom was planning at their house a week prior to her birthday, the week prior to when she would be coming over to our home to celebrate.
And bam just like that all our plans went out the window. Even though we had started planning months in advance it would seem it didn’t matter. Our plans just didn’t matter to the other parent. The fact that it was my hub’s year for his girl’s birthday just didn’t seem to matter to them.
Now some of you would say screw it, just invite the friend’s anyways and have a party but for those who have been through the ringer enough times know that most parents will not go to a birthday party twice for the same child. Also why would we put parents in a difficult spot along with my bonus daughter feeling deserted by friends that don’t come because they made it to her first party? (And yes I speak from experience because this HAS happened already twice to us)
Being upset over this is quite normal and many questions started resonating in my mind. Like why do some parents don’t wish to co-parent? Or share birthdays with the other parent so that all parties involved will be part of their child’s lives along with their child’s friends? Or allow the parent the courtesy to plan and enjoy their child’s birthday party when we have always displayed the courtesy to them on their alternating years?
The answer is simple. It doesn’t matter! The moment we start focusing on the negatives, on why someone else may not be workable, on why they do what they do or don’t do, or seemingly continue to devalue the relationship the parent is working on having with their child is just that, we lose focus on what’s important. And what’s important is the child! To keep asking “why” will be a never ending question that’ll only leave you frustrated more.
So with only our youngest in mind we switched up our plans, found a fun place to celebrate her birthday (SkyZone) which was closer to home, invited her close-knit family to love on her, decorated our home to her liking, watched her favorite movie, ate her favorite foods and cake, and celebrated her all day. And she loved it. And that’s all that mattered. 🥰
And it all worked out.
While your feelings are valid in feeling devalued as a parent however I encourage you to refocus. Focusing on the negatives and what you feel the other parent fails to do only creates more negativity in your life and puts an extra amount of pressure and stress you don’t need. Refocus on your child. Once you refocus, the joy of creating a fun birthday event for your child comes back. And they are all that matters.