Don't judge me, but... I'm mad at the women who ruined my daughter's party.

How would you feel if half your party guests didn’t show?

My daughter just had a birthday, and in the middle of her party, I nearly found myself crying. Not tears of joy.

The party was at a big indoor play centre. (Yes, I could have been one of those super-organised mums and held it at my place, home-made Frozen-themed cake and all, but I have a nervous dog and a backyard in need of landscaping and… well, anyway, I didn’t.) My daughter had eight friends she wanted to invite, and wrote their names out neatly on a list, each in a different colour.

These parties aren't cheap, you know.

These parties aren't cheap. For each kid, you're paying for entry into the play centre and party food. Then you have to have a cake, and some kind of entertainment, like a magician. It ends up costing something like $40 a head. But I thought of my nervous dog, and all the cleaning up I wouldn't have to do before and after the party, and I booked it.

My daughter invited her eight friends. I was secretly hoping a couple of them wouldn't be able to make it, which would have brought the costs down, but seven mums RSVPed to say 'Yes'. As for the eighth girl, I didn't hear from her mum and couldn't catch her before or after school, but the girl kept telling me how excited she was to be coming, so I had to assume she would be there.

My daughter and I made up little individualised party bags for each of the girls, and printed out stickers with their names on them.

The day of the party arrived, and four little friends turned up. My daughter was thrilled to see them, and the five of them were soon having a great time. Me, not so much. As the afternoon went by, I was wondering where the rest of the girls were. Then I got a text from one mum, saying her daughter would be there, but late. Okay. Then a text from another mum, saying her daughter couldn't make it. Okay. But the other two? Nowhere to be seen. No texts.


I felt really upset for my daughter's sake. Half her friends not turning up? What if she'd only invited those four? Didn't they like her? I could feel tears pricking my eyes.

Eventually, we had to sit down and eat the party food. Some of the friends had brought younger brothers and sisters with them, so I invited them to join in the party, so there wouldn't be empty places at the table.

After the food was finished, a latecomer - the girl whose mum had texted me - arrived. Then, just as the party was supposed to be ending, another little friend turned up. Apparently, her family had been to the beach that afternoon. As for the girl who kept telling me how excited she was to be coming, she never showed.

I shouldn't complain. I'm lucky my daughter has friends. They're lovely kids, and the presents they brought were really thoughtful and generous. My daughter had a great time at the party, and that's the important thing. But I can't say I did.

I just wish all parents would realise that if their child gets a party invitation, there are parents out there who have put time and money into organising that party. Please RSVP. Please text ahead of time if you can't make it or will be late. Don't make a little kid (or her mum) feel sad on her big day.

Do you think I'm right at being annoyed with the other parents?

If, like this reader, you have a dilemma that you would like advice about, please email [email protected] with Don’t Judge Me in the subject field. You will be contacted before publication, and your identity will be protected.

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