I'm a dreamer, writer and actor obsessed with classic television, lace, baking and quoting Ace Ventura (one of these things is not like the other). I like to believe that my life is just like a Disney movie with an Alan Menken soundtrack except the stepmom's not so evil. When I married my husband, David, in October of 2012, I fell madly, deeply in love with my two stepchildren, Chloe and Trey. It's incredibly hard to balance being a stepmom every other weekend with the rest of my life, but it is 100% worth it. You can find more stories about my family at my personal blog, fairytangles!
When it comes to planning my stepkids’ birthday parties, everything is usually straight-forward and simple. I ask the kids for their theme ideas, I take care of the cake and then I let our families know when it’s happening.
My husband? He just wants to help pick out a gift and then tell him where to show up with it.
But this year, for my stepdaughter’s seventh birthday, he got a little more involved and gave me a total surprise. After I made the invitations, he asked me if I thought we should invite my stepdaughter’s mom and stepdad to her party.
“Like a double party?” I asked him.
“No,” he said. “Just invite them. They don’t have to do anything, but… I don’t know. I thought it might make Chloe happy if all of her parents and siblings were there together to celebrate.”
You guys. I didn’t know it was possible to love my husband any more, but BAM. There it is.
The past couple of birthdays, David and I have talked about asking the kids’ mom and stepdad if they’d like to throw a joint party. I’ve always thought our kids would love the idea and it would simplify the whole planning process for all four of us parents.
At one point last year, I actually sat down and planned a party as if we were doing a double get-together and, you guys, I’m not even exaggerating when I say it was a logistical nightmare.But I totally thought wrong.
Between the two of us, my husband and I have managed to give Chloe and Trey a total of one great-grandparent, five grandparents, five aunts, five uncles and three cousins. Add to that a handful of friends and great-aunts and great-uncles that will want to celebrate and we can pretty much host our own baseball field.
Now add another fifteen or so people from the kids’ mom and stepdad’s sides and we could possibly fill a baseball stadium.
That alone gives me a bit of hives because Where would we put all these people?! Seriously, we could not host a party that big at either one of our houses and if we took it to a party venue, we’re just adding more costs to our budget.
While I love the thought of a double party for the kids’ sake, I also worry about the present situation. In our family, the kids have toys at their mom’s and toys here at our house. Every now and then, they’ll swap a favorite stuffed animal or something small, but for the most part, toys stay where they’re supposed to. So when I think about a double birthday party, my heart aches a little because the kids, depending on which parent’s house they go to after the party, are going to have to leave half of their brand new toys. This is something that always makes me panic a bit about Christmas morning and I just can’t stomach the idea of it happening on their birthday as well.
…I sound totally dramatic, don’t I? It sounds silly, I know, but all of the people plus the gift situation makes a double party seem like too much. And even though I think the kids would love their parents together, I also wonder if too many people would overwhelm the day. I worry that Chloe, our sensitive girl, would be concerned that she was spending too much time with one set of family members instead of the other. And I know that feeling because I was totally that kid, too.
I didn’t think there would ever be a solution, but David’s suggestion to still have separate parties, but just invite their mom and stepdad to come was perfect. It is the best of both worlds; The kids get the party they want and get to celebrate with each individual family, but they also get to share in their joy and happiness with all four of their parents.
It may not sound like a lot, but when we asked Chloe if she wanted to invite her mom and stepdad to her party? Oh you guys. Her face broke out into an enormous smile and she silently nodded her head before flinging forward and hugging David and me.
“That was totally worth it,” David whispered.
I have to agree.
Do you and your stepkids’ mom host double parties? Would you ever invite your stepkids’ mom to the party you’re throwing?
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