Rules for Navigating Your Child-Centered Social Life



My daughter’s social circle has been growing year by year. In December alone we attended five birthday parties and yes, I once took cake right out of some kid’s mouth because my own daughter didn’t save me any pizza.

The side effect of acting as your kid’s entourage is mingling with other parents, and sometimes all you have in common is parenthood. I’ve created some helpful guidelines for navigating these social engagements.

1. Until we’ve gone out for drinks together, it’s perfectly acceptable that we refer to each other using the formula [Kid’s Name] + [Mom or Dad], know what I mean, Isabella’s Mom?

2. If I bring a gift to a party in a playspace that smells like a locker room where I am required to remove my shoes and am fed greasy pizza, I anticipate a thank-you note.

3. If I invite you to a party in a playspace that smells like a locker room and require you to eat greasy pizza that I have to order and pay for in advance, I expect a timely RSVP.

4. When re-gifting shopping for the present I’ll bring to your kid’s birthday party, I always think, “Would I want this in my house?” Please exercise the same judgement or I will fill your gas tank with Moon Sand.

5. I will always treat, “Should I bring wine?” as a rhetorical question.

6. I am willing and happy to help you out in a childcare pinch, but know that you’ve just opened a tab.

7. If your child is super sensitive, please don’t expect other parents to force apologies at every meltdown, then everyone will get a complex and no one can afford all that therapy.

8. If we’ve exchanged niceties at drop-off for 3+ years, I expect you to hold the door open for me. I may not always brush my hair but I promise I’m not a vagrant trespassing for the free applesauce.

9. When organizing get-togethers or outings, remember that dads are parents too and not penis-wielding creepers who tag along with the moms.

10. Please clearly label your nannies. I feel better when it’s a 19-year-old au pair making me feel fat and matronly and not a peer.


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  1. onSanity says

    absolutely hilarious, and could not agree more. only but is on the thank you cards, those should only be reserved for wedding presents, I’ve done enough work on that birthday party (thank you very much). I am so going to be mulling on this one and adding on….

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  2. Amy says

    If your child and my child are in the same daycare class, but I don’t know your first name, I’m not inviting your kid to the 2-year-old birthday party. My 2-year-old is not old enough to pick her friends. I still get to pick them.

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  3. Jenny says

    Amen! Numbers 4,5 and 7 are my favorites! Number 6, I can’t do. My version would go: “It makes me cringe when you ask me to watch your kids, because I am perpetually exhausted and fantasizing about child-free time, just like you. You better have a freaking kidney stone and not a haircut appointment.” :)

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  4. MomsUnite says

    Ugh…perfect timing! Just re-entered the preschool party circuit with my 4 yr old DD (my other DD is 14 – mall drop, movie, done!) and ended up in the land of the giant dancing rat this past weekend. Of course she promptly dove under the table when she saw that thing coming. Don’t know a single parent in the school (yeah – I could “reach out” or something but I can’t keep up with the friends I actually like…so sue me). Apparently they do invite BOTH 4-yr old classes to EVERYthing. Luvin #1 esp because there is never a NAME to rsvp to on these invites and if it’s by email….I don’t know if it’s a proper intro to say – Hey!, thanks for the invite, count me in…I LOVE parties where you can pet LIVE giant reptiles & snakes! Booyah! Although this mom WAS smart enough to say “siblings cannot be accommodated.” WHAT!?!?!? Wouldn’t that be a given?

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  5. Angela says

    I despise writing thank you cards for my kids!! Can’t wait till they can write their own but then I’ll be harassing them for days/wks I’m sure. Who started thank you cards?!!!

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  6. Allison @ Motherhood, WTF? says

    Penis-wielding creepers. Haha. And #7 should be a law. I hate having to make my kid apologize because your kid’s feelings are hurt by my kid’s preference of pretzels over goldfish.

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  7. JD Bailey @ Honest Mom says

    Oh, lord, the MOON SAND. God, that stuff is awful. If anyone ever gives that to my kid again, that person is on my “Invite over for a playdate when we have rotavirus” list.

    Just kidding. I wouldn’t do that because of Moon Sand.

    But I would do it if you give my kid a drum set.

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