1. Julie

    I’m a new mom, and I’m having trouble navigating the waters of parenthood etiquette. I also have found myself with many new friends after entering motherhood and meeting other moms in various groups and places. My question today is about playdates: I don’t feel like I can commit to more than one event per day (always keeping in mind the best interests of my son). So, when I am invited to multiple playdates, how do I balance this, and what do I say to a mom when I have to decline her invitation because I’m already visiting with another mom and baby that day? I would obviously never want to make up an excuse because I do not like dishonestly one bit, but how do I decline without hurting someone’s feelings because I’m going to spend time with someone else? Any thoughts?

    • Elizabeth

      Your situation is not unlike any other kind of invitation. You decline it in exactly the same way: “Sorry, I wish I could, but we’re busy at the time. (Or, we have a previous engagement.) How about Thursday at 4pm instead?”

      If you can come back with another date/time suggestion, the other mom will move straight into answering that question and will not dwell on what you have going on. No one should ever ask you the reason why you can’t do something. But if they do, just say, “Actually Timmy has another playdate. So what day next week is good for you?” Don’t apologize, don’t feel bad. (Why would you?) You aren’t hurting their feelings, any more than if they would hurt yours if they couldn’t make a play date with you because they were busy.

  2. Julie

    One more question about motherhood and etiquette: My son’s first birthday is approaching, and because I’ve met so many wonderful new moms in the past year, I’m feeling overwhelmed and lost about whom to invite. (This is probably akin to a wedding guest list issue in a way! :) ) I’ve been blessed to make friends at mom groups and in my neighborhood, but I know that neither my house, nor myself, nor my son (most importantly) will be able to handle a large number of guests for a birthday celebration. Do I make it a family-only event, or pick a community venue and make it like an open house event? If I decide to invite the baby friends, how do I handle get-togethers or comments when I’m around some families who may not be invited if I must limit the party size? How can I invite some moms/babies from a mom group, but not all? Help!

    • Elizabeth

      Keep it simple – have a small family party, take some photos, and share with your mom friends after the fact.

    • Chocobo

      Julie, I would keep it small and simple, and limit the party to just family. Large birthday celebrations for small children are more of an obligation than a joy to most people who are not parents or grandparents. An open-house event would be dangerously close to looking like you are soliciting presents from anyone you know, rather than the true purpose throwing an enjoyable party for your son, who is after all the guest of honor. The playmates as well as the birthday boy will not be able to understand or enjoy it, as you say. I think it is best to start including other children — and thereby their mothers — when the child is old enough to start choosing his own guests.

  3. Sharla

    I have a question regarding 2nd marriages. Our oldest daughter, (she is actually my step-daughter) is engaged and planning a wedding next year. This will be her second. For her first wedding, she eloped. Upon return home, a reception was held. But we were not asked to provide any monetary assistance. My question is who pays for the second marriage? She and her fiancee’ are financially able to manage, but I wanted to be sure that her father and I handle this correctly. I also would like to know if her mother and step-father are obligated/should contribute. Her father and I have already committed to paying for their honeymoon.

    • Elizabeth

      In this day and age, no one is “required” to pay for anything. Parents obviously do often pay for their children’s weddings, but this is a gift and not a requirement. There are things that were traditionally paid for by the groom’s and bride’s family. But in your case, and especially since this is a second wedding of two established adults, your offer to pay for the honeymoon is more than generous. That is, unless you want to pay for some part of the wedding. You could offer to pay for a specific thing, like the photographer or the flowers, or you could gift the couple a certain amount of money and leave it to them as to how to spend it. Perhaps your daughter feels like she must make up for the wedding she never had? She can have this as long as she and her fiance are willing to pay for it, or if you, her father or her mother and stepfather wish to do it and have the means. Again, no one is obligated.

  4. Lynn

    I am a recently engaged soon to be bride. My fiance and I are planning a small intimate wedding with 100 or so guests of close friends and family only. We have planned our weddng this way to keep expenses down for retired parents and for us as well as we are taking care of some expenses. My parents insist on paying for the majority of the wedding costs but they have been dealing with financial obligations from my dad having cancer this year. My question pertains to a work shower. All of my coworkers were made aware that we are planning a small wedding with mostly family due to expense. However, after being notified of this one of my coworkers insisted that she wanted to throw a work shower for us. I had not planned to invite coworkers but now am unsure of how to handle this situation propperly.

    • Elizabeth

      Work showers are actually the one exception to the rule that shower invitees must be wedding invitees. It sounds like you have made it known that the wedding will be small and that you won’t be able to invite any but the closest friends and family. Your coworker is very sweet to want to do this for you, so it would be nice (and perfectly well-mannered) of you to register for some modestly-priced items and enjoy it.

  5. Alicia

    You are in luck work showers are the exception to the all people invited to prewedding parties are invited to wedding rule. As long as coworker keeps it to coworkers only and this is commonly done in your workplace you are good.

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