The Top 10 Worst Birthday Party Parents

birthday-party-parent Image via Shutterstock

Ah, birthday parties. What a wonderful way to get together with friends and family to celebrate each year of your precious little one’s life.

A few years in though, shit gets weird. The precious little ones go off to school, and now in addition to your beloved family, you are also including their new friends at these celebrations. And these new friends don’t come alone (cause that would be strange). They come with one, or sometimes both, parents. People you may or may not be that familiar with from your day to day passings, but with whom you become increasingly more familiar through a series of interactions at your kids’ birthday parties. Some will become your friends. Most will not.

Here is a list of the Top 10 Worst Birthday Party Parents:

1. RSVP Optional Parent: We sent you a card in the mail, chased it down with four email reminders, but still you keep us guessing. Will you or won’t you? Can you or can’t you? Are you coming or not? It’s really not that hard. Figure it out and let me know! Preferably before the day of, when you show up with no notification.

2. The Early Birds: Hey, what has two thumbs and likes to party? This girl. But, if I ask you to come to my party at 1:00, you aren’t doing anyone any favors by arriving at 12:45. We just arrived. We’re setting up, taking family pictures, fixing the kid’s hair. And here you are. Standing there looking like you want me to entertain you. Not gonna happen, my friend. And by “friend,” I mean person I do not actually know. Please, just hang out outside for another 14 minutes, instead of sitting there looking bored. Of course you’re bored, there’s no party going on yet!

3. Dad who didn’t read the invite correctly: Great work dad, you’ve managed to get the kid washed, dressed and out of the house to give mom a break. I should probably take this opportunity to tell you that the party you are attending is not actually the one you RSVP’d to. I don’t know you, my husband doesn’t know you and your kid doesn’t look familiar to my kid. You are at the wrong party. We get it, it’s a big space. There are four other parties going on here at this very moment. Just make sure you figure it out before the pizza arrives, or prepare to feel super awkward when you read the kid’s name on the cake… and realize you were headed to Jacob’s party, but you are currently watching Ava blow out her candles.

4. Stripper Mom: Hey, I get it… we weren’t always milk machines whose primary goal is to not forget a child at the playground, while running to get another to a class less than ten minutes late. Some of us even still manage to shower most days. And hey, I like a bit of mascara when I think of it. Come to think of it, I wear jeans most days of the week… like real jeans, not even pajama jeans (though I have considered them). I put in a little effort. I like dressing up too. However, I believe that there is a time and a place for dressing up, like say Friday and Saturday nights, when you’re out at a trendy restaurant or nightclub just before that “G-D I’m old” feeling sets in and you have to head home before midnight because, well because it’s midnight and that’s pretty late and you’re exhausted. (Did we seriously used to do this every weekend? That’s nuts.)

But where was I… oh yeah, dressing up, totally great in some circumstances. You know when it’s not that great? How about a small kid’s birthday party? We’re all pulling our kids in and out of the ball pit, then throwing them onto a trampoline in a slightly too warm, over-crowded gym. This is when we dress for comfort. It is 2:00 in the afternoon and stripper mom actually looks better suited for a Vegas Saturday afternoon pool party than the kiddie gym party. It just looks silly here.

5. Social Butterfly: As I said in the beginning, birthday parties are a great time to get to know other parents. Please enjoy yourself. That’s why you’re here. Well, that and to watch your kid. Oh yeah, remember your kid? He’s the one that just poured a tub of glue onto the birthday girl’s head. Yeah, you might want to do something about that. Then you can go back to your conversation.

6. One Way Mirror Parent: The interesting thing about a one way mirror is that while I can see myself, from the other side, you can only see me. Now let’s pretend that mirror also divides our children, so while I can see my kid and her actions, you can only see my kid and her actions. So when my kid, after being pushed and pummeled by your little lad six or seven times finally decides she’s had enough and blows back, you are very quick to rush over and angrily point out that my kid just pushed your kid. How interesting.

7. The Parents of the Kid Who Thinks It’s HER Party (but it’s not): Hi guys, welcome to our child’s celebration. Enjoy the activities! Have a good time! I see your little one is enjoying herself. She seems to have made herself very comfortable in the birthday boy’s seat (as denoted by it’s rather conspicuous placement at the head of the table and clearly marked with a bevy of ribbons, streamers and balloons). Yes, but an honest mistake. Oh, and she seems to have commandeered the birthday boy’s special birthday hat as well. Yes, it does look smashing on her. Oh, and look at that, she’s helping herself to his cake. Isn’t that precious? And now the birthday boy is asking her to give him his hat back, and get out of his chair. Well articulated, Birthday Tot, but the kid that thinks it’s her party isn’t listening. As for her parents, well, their lack of action is noticeable. Ah yes…by not getting out of his chair, eating his cake and not giving him his hat back, she has officially made the birthday boy cry… at his own party. And you continue to stand there watching and doing nothing. Thanks for that. Now I have to calm down a crying birthday boy when all you really needed to do was, hmmmm, how did one of the other parents so nicely put it? Oh yes, “Get that f#$king kid out of the birthday boy’s seat. Are you f#$king kidding me?” Yes. Please do that, won’t you?

8. Hungry Hungry Hippo: This one does not actually refer to anyone’s particular size. This one refers to the parents who take it upon themselves to push their way in front of the three employees efficiently distributing pizza to the guests, to really go above and beyond and start helping to serve the pizza to… oh, no, wait…you were just taking that one for yourself. Nevermind.

9. Cake Boss: So, the aunt of the birthday boy has made a pretty spectacular cake. It’s got two layers and on top there is a 3-D volcano made out of cake spouting Twizzler lava and marshmallow puffs of smoke, coated in grey buttercream. But please, disregard the time and effort that went into that when you loudly proclaim to the host mom, “Oh, your sister was very stingy with the icing.” I can assure you, the sister was not stingy with anything but bitch slaps, which she managed to hold back on, despite her deepest desires. For the record, cake bosses don’t only critique the cake, but will also let you know if they’ve had better pizza, prefer a different soft drink, and diss the snacks on offer. Hey, cake boss. What’s the best kind of food? That’s right, free food. Pipe down over there.

10. Porn Party Parents: Hey there you two. That’s really sweet that after five or ten years of marriage you both still have the hots for each other. But honestly, your smooching during the parachute was a little too hands on for some of the smaller onlookers. In addition, your grinding during that freeze dance party was inappropriate. And frankly, when you seductively feed your spouse cake in front of everyone else, it really just puts us all off the cake… and I hate being put off the cake. Just stop. It’s creepy behavior for a kiddie party.

If you’ve met any of these parents or know someone who has, please share. If you haven’t, you probably are one of these parents, so please share… You’re famous!

Related post: 10 Ways Birthday Parties Suck


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  1. ohhellno says

    You forgot the more the merrier parent who will rsvp for not only for her child the actual guest but also all 3 of her other kids who show up not only expecting to be entertained and fed but also demand goody bags. Yeah, thanks for taking up half of the available spots for our allowed number of guests A hole parent!!

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        • Sarah Johnson says

          I had a party for DD6’s birthday. Invited 4 families with 4 adults and 10 kids, 2 of whom were too young to have ice cream, cake, and pizza. My husband was deployed and so it was me and my 3 kids to add to the total number of mouths to feed. One family, WITHOUT calling and asking or at least notifying me, brings sister-in-law with sil’s 3 teen kids!!! I did not have a single slice of the 5 pizzas I had bought for what I thought would be 16 people to feed. Instead, I fed 20!, but as I mentioned, I did not get a slice of pizza. I was furious and when I pointed out that I would have appreciated notice for the higher guest count, not to mention I did not know this sil and her kids!, I was told that I was being uptight. Not to mention, the teen kids took over the seats for the younger kids. I am from the South and I found this rude as hell. If your family member is having a bad day, maybe you should stay home and entertain/feed them at your place. Not take them to a birthday party for a kid they will never meet again. I mean, honestly. Does anyone else agree with me?

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          • Hotsy Totsy says

            I TOTALLY agree with you! Its AMAZING to me, constantly, how folks assume their invitation to a small child’s party really means – bring however many you want, with no notice and no apology even! I have been in the position where I had no choice but to bring a younger brother of the invitee and been unable to tell the hosts ahead of time. I could not imagine assuming the party givers would welcome another number, so OF COURSE, get your non-invitee kid his OWN happy meal! NOT hard!

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          • says

            OMG that is so RUDE! Completely agree with you, those people totally should not have come to this party… and imagine calling you uptight! Talk about spoiling the day for you. I hope your little one had a better day…

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          • Amy says

            I completely agree with you! I too am from the south, but I would not of been as nice as you. I would of asked the teens (that were uninvited) to move for the smaller children and I would of told them I was sorry but the pizza was for the invited guests! They were rude as hell!

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    • Marcella says

      Or the kid who is the brother of the guest whom you graciously allow into the party, play games, have pizza and cake and then tells you how much he doesn’t like any of it. Possibly its because you were not invited to said party. You are 10 and the birthday boy is 5. Shut it!

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    • frynnsk says

      They also forgot the kiddie dump parent as in : I know the invitation said one parent must attend but im going to get a mani/pedi bye! So now not only are you hosting a party you’re a babysitter too.

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      • Tanya says

        I do have to say I have done this, dropping my kid off at a party because I have 3 other children and I think it would be more rude to ask if they can all go rather than leave one kid for the party.

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      • Laura says

        Oh yes. Many moons ago – when I was way too young and clueless – I allowed my 4 year old to invite all the kids from her preschool class to her birthday party at a bowling alley. SO MANY of the parents just dumped their kids and took off! And of course their kids were monsters – throwing, rather than bowling – the balls down any lane, running around all over the place, screaming at the tops of their lungs, etc. Thank God my neighbors stayed or else it would have been my husband and me with sixteen kids. I swear I was in a corner, sucking my thumb and pulling my hair, by the end of the party.

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    • Samantha F. says

      We don’t do the big parties much, only on milestones but I remember having one smaller gathering that was just pizza and cake with a few games. My son invited 3 friends and we had a few adult guests as well. My sister called 20 minutes AFTER the start of the party to say she was on her way and “oh-by-the-way she has her roommate, roommate’s adult daughter and her husband and 3 children, is that ok?” I said no, it isn’t and told her to just stop by another time to see her nephew when she didn’t have SIX extra people with her I didn’t know about ahead of time.

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    • Diana says

      I always always always ask if it’s ok to bring siblings-when I even entertain the idea at all (never at venues where I know the host pays per kid instead of per party). I don’t like to just drop my kid off and leave them (I’ve hosted too many of those parties where it’s just me and the hubs and 15 kids), but since hubs works most Saturdays and so does Grandma, I’m usually stuck with the whole bevy of monkeys (4 kids total). So, if I think it’s appropriate, I will either ask outright if it’s ok for the others to come (really only two are old enough for much partying anyway), or I’ll ask if it’s ok that I’m dropping off the birthday partier since I don’t have anyone to watch the other ones. That leaves it up to the parents whether to invite the other kids. I sincerely don’t care one way or another if they don’t. Most of my kids’ friends know and like the siblings and we get invitations made out to “The L…. Boys/Family” instead of the individual kid in the birthday boy or girl’s class. I make out the invites to my kids’ parties to the kids of the family rather than just the individual as well. It’s just easier and usually more fun. We don’t do parties where you have to pay per kid, so no biggie.

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    • me says

      Yup! Our worst experience was a fam that insisted they only go places as a family, so invited their other son to our party, and didn’t even often to pay for him. Then when they showed up, they had brought and aunt with them as well!

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    • Gigi says

      Yes! What is that? What’s even worse then the straight up asking if the kid can participate is the passive aggressive showing up with the extra kid who sadly watches the festivities.

      If you don’t have childcare I’m suggesting a universal understanding that after the age of say 4 just drop the invited child off. I’d rather watch the guest then pay for his sibling. These parties don’t come cheap yo.

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    • Robyn says

      Yeah, what the heck is up with that?! I didn’t realize that my kid’s birthday party was a family day for others. I had 10 extra unRSVPed guests at my house for my 4 year old’s party – I was so stressed about whether or not I’d have enough food, cake, or party favors for everyone that I could barely enjoy my son’s day. Not to mention that several of them showed up 45 minutes late… Birthday parties are not what they used to be!

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    • Tonia says

      Why do parents expect their kids to come home with a “goodie bag” from another kid’s birthday, anyway? It’s not the Oscars, the Emmys, the Tonys, or even opening night for a Broadway show in the backyard. Can’t the little buggers understand it’s Someone-other-than-ME getting the special attention?
      When my boys were going to their friends parties, or I was hosting theirs, it was NEVER expected than anyone other than the birthday boy got gifts.

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  2. It's me says

    Gawd yes I remember those days. So glad that things get smaller and easier the older they get. Or maybe I’ve just become more adapt at handling the byproduct of asshole parenting.

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  3. Amanda says

    These people just make me sick. I knew someone who fitted into this category… The first time i invited this person (for her kids’ sake) she never rsvp’ed so i had to call, only to tell me on the phone that she had no idea what she was gonna get my daughter for her birthday, she then showed up with something she quickly found around the house plus her tots were constantly snatching my daughters new stuff and her pretending to tell them off. Another time she wasnt invited to another friends’ but came along somehow, with no present whatsoever. I mean how embarrassing is that??

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    • Dawn says

      I personally dislike people who throw parties, any type of party, and then are more concerned with what presents they are going to get than they are with being gracious hosts.

      I believe in being a good guest. I rsvp. I make sure that it’s okay if I bring my toddler on my hip (if not, then my older child likely cannot go either because our families circumstances usually means it’s not possible to find care for the other child, but that’s okay, we graciously bow out of such invitations). But how many presents does your little special snowflake need? We usually will give a hotwheels or matchbox car. So I guess you’d complain that we gave your child a “cheap” gift and brought along an uninvited toddler (despite having asked first if it’d be okay) who ate a slice of the gargantuan cake and now you’re left with slightly less leftovers to gorge on at midnight.

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      • Betsy says

        Wow…With that attitude, insight and level of basic manners, a much better gift for both the host and honoree would be just declining the invitation.Then you can count your complaints and pennies at midnight, leaving them to enjoy their leftovers, for which they paid (and guaranteed more than a whole 79 cents per slice)

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      • Mali says

        I appreciate cheap toys because I feel less guilty when I throw them away a week later. We don’t have a huge house and the toys take over very quickly.

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    • liz says

      Do you really have the party for the gifts? We actually write on the invite no gifts please. Our little one has more than enough. Let’s just get together and have some fun and eat cake.

      We have been other party with no gifts it was a relief not to have to guess what a kid you hardfly know would like.

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  4. says

    Agree re: #1. I have given up on this in today’s society. The common courtesy just isn’t there! So I let it go and usually don’t even put an RSVP anymore on invites. I just guesstimate because I used to let it drive me crazy too!!!

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    • Christi says

      At my nephew’s party, one mom brought extra kid guests and never mentioned to the hosts that her kids were all gluten-free and dairy-free, so when it came time for cake and ice cream, her 3 kids just sat there looking sad and their mom glared at the hosts! Nice.

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  5. says

    I’m #2… the fear of being late makes me this way. I try to be helpful when I arrive though. help set up or watch kidlets…. granted we haven’t gone to a birthday party where we didn’t know the host that well since my son is only 1.

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    • Torie says

      I understand that #2 people are trying to be respectful…I really do…but it really is stressful to many hostess’. Maybe just stay in the car until the proper time. If a store opens at 9 am, you wouldn’t show up at 8:45, come in, and then just ‘watch’ the workers get ready to open. And in all honesty, when a guest asks if they can help, it’s just MORE stressful many times, because now I have to ‘figure out’ something for you to do. It’ll take me just as long to explain to you what to do as it will for me to do it myself.

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    • says

      We used to do parties, but that’s what we do now – they get to pick going out to dinner, and of course I make whatever cake design they want, and family comes over. No pressure with all the bs that comes with planning a party. They don’t need a bunch of gifts either. Hubby says it’s bad for self esteem, etc but I think mine handle it well. They are 3, 5, 8, and 9.

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