Left Out


It happened. I knew someday it would, and it has. Totally inevitable and only a matter of time.

Over the weekend, Lily found out about a classmate’s birthday party that she wasn’t invited to.


Now, the girl isn’t in her class, and it’s totally fine not to invite each and every girl in the first grade. Of course. Maybe there was a size limitation. Maybe the invitation got lost in the mail. Maybe this girl doesn’t like Lily as much as Lily likes her. All possible and none the end of the world. At all.

But to a six year old? It was shattering.

Jeff’s solution to this was to take Lily out for pancakes during the party, which while sweet seems like a sure-fire way to start a life-time long issue with emotional eating. Let’s stuff our feelings into puddles of maple syrup, shall we?

All of the parties I didn’t get invited to as a kid came flooding back. The junior prom to which I had no date, the weekend parties that I spent thinking about while I sat at home or babysat. It didn’t take much to remember how much the feeling sucks. And, I’d argue that it feels even worse when it happens to your baby. But, as much as I remember the crappy feeling, I just can’t remember what I wish my parents would have done.

She was over this particular party pretty fast, but I know it’s only just beginning. With three kids, we have years and years of heartbreak and hurt feelings ahead of us and I’m just not sure how to deal with it. Reason with them? Cry with them? Bash the other kid? Take them to Toys R Us every time they get left out? Is there anything we can do?

To think I thought the toddler phase was rough.



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  1. 1

    The Blogtessa says

    Oh Jill, poor Lily. :(
    I can remember so many things as a child that I felt left out of, too. And like you, I don’t know what I would’ve wanted my parents to do either. Is there even anything that can be done? And what I hate about these things and this first time is that it makes or breaks whether a child decides to try to be the way they think someone will prefer them to be, so that they are liked and don’t get left out again. Or if the child heads down the “What do I care who likes me?” path, which can be good… sometimes… but can take a turn for the worst if too much emphasis is placed in a child’s mind on thinking it’s ‘cool’ to be the non-comformist. I’m sure you know what I’m saying. I hope sweet Lily loved her pancakes and finds herself surrounded by many friends and her mailbox finds itself full of invitations for years to come. :)

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  2. 2

    Nicole says

    Poor Lily! I remember that feeling. It was just awful.

    I’d go cry on my bed and my mom would try to reason with me. Then she’d tell me that it was ok to cry because it was ok to be sad. She’d lay down next to me to keep me company and that made me feel better.

    Makes me remeber I have a great mom.

    Give a hug to Lily for me. Reminder her that they’ll be more parties to attend down the line :-)

    Can’t even imagine what I would do if I was in your shoes! A hug for you too Mama!

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  3. 4

    Jennifer Lynn says

    I found out about an end of the year party my son didn’t get invited to last year. He was the only one in his class as far as I could tell (I’m sure there were others). Even his teacher was invited. I wanted to hurt the parents! Especially when they talked about the party in front of me! How stupid can people be? If you don’t want to invite everyone, then at least have the decency to keep it quiet in front of the people you didn’t invite!
    As for your child, when this happened to me when I was little, the best thing my mom could do was hold me tell me she loved me. I just needed to know that someone did even when another kid didn’t.

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  4. 6

    sue says

    Ok, now here is my dillema. Jilly is having a different kind of party this year so lots of the 1st grade was invited but I did say no to some, especially the ones who her reaction was “who is that?” There is another child who she is not in her homeroom but also in the first grade. Jilly says she is not friends with her at all and does not want to invite her but would I be doing to this little girl what —– did to Lily? I see her at school events and at other kids parties but she has never been in Jilly’s class in all the years.

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    • 7

      Scary Mommy says

      If Lily doesn’t know know the kid, I’m not inviting them to the party. Our rule was all the girls in her class, plus the ones from last year that she was friends with. Hopefully there won’t be any broken hearts!

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  5. 10

    OHmommy says

    I am a 33 year old woman and every Monday at my daughter’s ballet class, in the waiting room, I feel left out. It’s the other motherfucking sahm’s that we are all “friends” with that talk, talk, talk throughout the entire hour about how much they went out over the weekend and their plans for the following week. In. Front. Of. Me. And a couple others who are never invited.

    End rant.

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  6. 15

    amber says

    That’s heartbreaking. Inevitable, but heartbreaking. Unfortunately, I think the pain is part of growing up. Pancakes might help, as will reminding them how special they are? Maybe?

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  7. 16

    Eve says

    Awe that sucks! Unfortunately, I only have a 10 month old and he hasn’t been invited to anything yet, so I have no advice. Sorry! Let me know what you come up with. Until then….comfort food will do the trick. :-)

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  8. 17

    Rebecca @ Unexplained X2 says

    This is so sad, but I know it’s going to happen here too. I’m sure that with b/g twins, eventually, someone will have a “girls only” or a “boys only” party…ugh! My Mom used to bring me a little bouquet of flowers on the days that she knew I’d be especially disappointed…just looking at them brightened me up a little bit. It’s still hard knowing that everyone’s going to that party, but it might soften the blow a little bit (and will give her a little cheer that Monday when her friends are talking about it).

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  9. 18

    Diana @Hormonal Imbalances says

    This made all my horrid memories of school dances and my best friends becoming best friends with each other pour back. I think the best thing any parent can do is be there, sympathize, and tell them you know how it feels. Just what you did. Because it’ll happen now, and it’ll happen 30 years from now. It does to all of us.

    ((hugs)) to Lily.

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  10. 19

    ShortWoman says

    Ok, Here’s a story for the next time. And unfortunately, there will be a next time because there always is.

    When I was in 5th grade, one girl had a huge birthday party! She invited every girl in the 5th grade except me. Even the smelly girl. In fact, I probably wouldn’t even have heard about how I was slighted if it weren’t for the fact that a friend invited me for a sleepover the night before, thinking we could just go to the party together.

    My friend was livid on my behalf, even though my attitude was “well, I don’t like her either!” But the crowning touch is that the class prima-donna (you know, the one who somehow had Hello Kitty EVERYTHING) managed to do something that put the birthday girl into tears at her own party. Karma is a bitch, or “what goes around comes around.”

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  11. 21

    SaucyB says

    Oh that’s awful. There’s nothing worse than seeing your child hurting, whether it’s physically or emotionally. Wish I had some advice!

    SaucyB’s last blog… Make Me Laugh Monday

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  12. 22

    tracey says

    All I can say is this: It’s a good time to learn empathy. I’m sure your daughter can’t invite everyone that SHE likes to her parties, either. It’s a reminder that not being invited doesn’t equal not being liked. It means not enough space for everyone. Really. It helped my kids. Especially when they have their own parties to plan. They remember what it’s like and try to make thoughtful lists.

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  13. 23

    Jessica D Torres says

    Poor girl. It is sad when your child gets left out. My daughter had a hard time in kindergarten making friends with the other kids and it really affected her. As a parent we want to protect our kids but we can’t all the time. I think it only gets tougher for girls as they progress through the grades. Middle school and high school are really difficult.

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  14. 25

    Jackie says

    Ugh, that sucks. This why I got suckered into inviting my daughter’s entire pre-school class — that’s 15 2- and 3-year-olds for those of you keeping score at home — to her upcoming 3rd birthday party. We’re having it at our house and she really, really wanted to invite a couple kids but I knew a 3-year-old would never be able to understand that Child A but not Child B was invited (and keep it to herself). So, I sucked it up and invited them all. Send wine now.

    Oh, and p.s. the party is less than 2 weeks away and NOT ONE of those parents have RSPV’ed yet. So maybe they did think they invited Lily but that you just never RSVPed since apparently the rest of the world doesn’t RSVP anymore!

    I love the flowers and letting her cry over it comments from above. I’m filing those away for when this situation inevitably happens in our home, too.

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    • 26

      Scary Mommy says

      OMG, the non-RSVPing kills me. This year, people weren’t bad, but our last party? Over half never responded. WTF?? And, one woman dropped her kid off and was an hour late picking her up with no apologies or explanation. People can be such assholes.

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  15. 27

    Marilyn @ A Lot of Loves says

    I worry about causing that pain for the other kids in my son’s class. Birthdays and such seem like such an all or nothing thing where you have to invite the whole class or skip the entire thing. My son hasn’t been left out yet, but he will of course. I think the trick is to let our kids tell us how they feel, and don’t try to solve it by telling them everything will be okay or shoving toys at them. It’ll be hard though.

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  16. 28

    Liz says

    Poor little thing!
    I think a good way to make her feel better would be to share your own experiences. She looks up to you, and knowing that you have felt the same heartbreak will allow her to see that it can happen to anyone, even to you.
    Then watch a good movie. Movies are always a great distraction!

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  17. 29

    BalancingMama (Julie) says

    Oh my, another thing to fear when my child gets older. Thanks for bringing it up. Now I can work on my response for the next 4 years. Maybe I’ll have a good one when it’s time.

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  18. 30

    Crystal says

    Oh no! Poor little one (and mommy)! My daughter is just about to start school, and I already have every fear in the world and now I have this! Not only am I going to be a disaster when I first walk her through that door, I now realize that this is the end of my sanity for the next 13 years. Thank you for enlightening me to the joys of dealing with her future heartbreaks and disappointments! I’m gonna go get some pancakes now….

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