Salem Patch invites you and your circle of friends to help build a community of support for mothers and their families right here in Salem.
Each week in Moms Talk, our Moms Council of experts and smart moms take your questions, give advice and share solutions.
Grab a cup of coffee and settle in to read this week's question. Below is how the Moms Council answered, but we want to hear from you. Leave a comment in the comment box below and share your thoughts.
Questions: How do you handle birthday parties? Do you invite the whole class? Do you invite a select few? How do you make invites tactfully? What do you do if your child isn't invited to a party?
Kim Ayers: I've never invited a whole class. [I] have always stuck to "friends and family only" [and] kids they actually see outside of school. I also tried (but failed) to have them invite one guest per year (turning 5? Invite 5 guests!) By 12, it's now just a couple girls to dinner and a movie or sleepover. I'm pretty sure there have been parties my kids were not invited to, but they've never said a word — they either understand, or weren't bothered too much. I think the parents get more upset than their kids maybe?
Tracii Schaeublin: We have never invited the whole class. It can get out of hand, and my kids do not need all those gifts. So we have always done cake with the family — aunts, cousins, grandparents. Then, we have a party with their friends, and we have them limit invites of friends to friends that they hang out with or that they play with, so it ends up being about five to seven friends at their parties. We have them come over, and we run games, have them eat pizza and cake.
It's worked well with our oldest who is 17, and every year we tell him its our last party for him with friends, because he's just getting too old for "birthday parties." But, every year, his friends and him all ask us when the sleepover is and what the games will be. They have come to love the 24 hours that they get to be boys and just hang out and do silly things with their friends.
This helps with my younger boys, because they see that big brother has fun with his small group of friends and they want the same birthday parties as their big brother.
We tell our kids not to take it personally if they are not invited to parties, that everyone is different and that they probably couldn't invite everyone just like we can't invite everyone. But we also tell them not to discuss their parties at school or with other friends while out and playing just in case the other friends were not invited to their party.
Erin Cyr: The majority of Cad's friends are within a month or two of each other. This year, five of us decided to get together and host a birthday party together at a location where we could rent a space and the kids could safely play. That way, we could share the cost of cake, decor, and goodie bags. Plus, we have someone who will clean up and help entertain the kids.
Other friends thought it was such a good idea that they got together and are doing the same thing. So now we have drastically reduced the number of parties we are going to (last year we went to nine first birthdays!) and the moms are sharing the responsibilities of having a party. We will still have a small family party, but now we won't feel pressured to pick and choose which friends will come.
About Our Featured Moms:
Kim Ayers: Kim (Latinik) Ayers spent her first 18 years on Turner Street in Salem. She says she "fled quickly after high school, heading for 'greener pastures,' but years later, after living around the country and expecting [her] first child...realized that there's no place like home." She has been married for 17 years and lives in South Salem. She has 2 children. Her son,10, attends Horace Mann. Her daughter,12, attends Collins Middle School. Kim owns StreetSmart Drivers, Inc. in Salem, a driving school serving hundreds of Salem teens each year.
Tracii Schaeublin: Moms Council Captain Tracii Schaeublin is a senior accountant at St. John's Prep. She has been president of Wrestling Boosters for three years and treasurer of Football Boosters for two years. Her son, Joey, 17, is a senior at Salem High School. Her sons Adam, 8, and Alex, 6, both attend Witchcraft Heights. She is very involved with all her kids sports, football, wrestling, flag football, basketball, baseball and soccer. She says she "love[s] being a mom and all the craziness from juggling all the activities." In her spare time, she enjoys working out and reading.
Erin Cyr: Erin is a holistic health practitioner, Mumma to Caedmon (born in Spring 2009), and wife to Jared. She loves living in Salem and all that it has to offer for young families. She writes a blog on natural and holistic parenting with a focus on living in Salem at www.wholesoulmumma.com. Her interests include attachment parenting, herbs and natural medicine, cooking with locally grown foods, and marching to the beat of a different drummer.