A friend of the mom is asking for advice after being charged a cover fee for a kid’s birthday party
Tired of being charged a cover fee for her child to attend a friend’s birthday party every year, one mom wrote to the Boston Globe‘s “Miss Conduct” column for advice. Apparently, her mom friend is asking each parent for $20 to “cover the cost” of each child’s attendance to her child’s birthday party. Which… no. You just don’t do that.
The mom says her close friend, The Cover Charge Mom in question, is a “lovely and kind” person. But that every year for her kid’s birthday party, she charges people to attend. “If it is at a venue, the e-mail will say something along the lines of ‘please bring $20 to cover the cost of your child.’ If it is at her home, there will be an envelope or basket asking for ‘donations.'”
The advice-seeker notes that the family doesn’t struggle financially and that people talk about the mom behind her back for making people pay to attend a kid’s party. Much like the mom who made all of the unsuspecting children attending her child’s Build-A-Bear party hand over their bears to her child, this mom could use a little reality check.
The advice columnist, Robin Abrahams (the Miss Conduct herself) is all for confronting the mom in question. “Don’t tell her people are talking behind her back or say ‘we all feel that way’ — that kind of thing only makes people paranoid,” she writes back. “But yes, speak up before her poor daughter has to, since sooner or later the girl will realize what her mother is up to and be humiliated.”
A very solid point. Money can be such an awkward topic of conversation for some people, so it’s understandable that the writer would want to confront her friend gently. But let’s get real here, when you host a party — whether it’s at a venue or your home — you and you alone are responsible for everything that goes into planning and paying for it. If you don’t want to pay for food and entertainment, don’t have a party. Or throw a smaller, budget-friendly, immediate-family-only party, perhaps.
And please, for the love of Beyoncé, this mom needs to think of her daughter. If parents are talking about the cover charge, the kids who are invited are likely hearing it. Which means the birthday girl herself will eventually hear it — if not now, then certainly when she’s older. My dad was a notorious cheapskate and while I love him dearly, there are absolutely memories floating around my subconscious directly related to his tight fist that make me cringe when they break through the surface.
Abrahams advises keeping all opinions of personal finances out of the conversation — it’s true none of us really ever know how our friends and family are doing financially. Though charging kids admission for cake, ice cream, and an hour of watching another kid open presents isn’t a solution to money worries — that much should be clear.