Missing RSVPs because I said book a sitter

ilovepinkDecember 2, 2008

I requested everyone to rsvp to our party that is coming up this weekend by Friday of last week. I was thinking that perhaps the delay in quite a few responses was due to Thanksgiving.

Now I am starting to find out that some of the couples are not coming or not sure if they are coming becuase they are trying to see if they are going to book a babysitter.

I am surprised. But, not surprised. I've always had issues with this party and people wanting to bring kids. For the third year in a row I've had to say please book a babysitter on the invite.

There are 40 people total on the guest list and I think at least 20 of them are not coming because of the child issue. I am fine with them not coming. I just can't believe people have such an issue with going to an adult only function.

Not to mention that they don't bring anythign to our parties. We provide all the alcohol. Food. A sitter for three or four hours can't be that expensive.

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Well, it can be expensive to hire a good sitter.. but that's not really the point. They should make a decision and get a babysitter or not, and rsvp and let you know if they are coming or not.

My husband and I attend many adult only parties especially around Christmas time. I could see maybe a newer breastfeeding mom may not want to come or someone with a smaller infant, but I really don't understand why most of your friends wouldn't prefer an adult night out from time to time. Maybe there's something else going on... or the "queen" of the group wants to bring her kids so is talking others into not going. I don't know the financial background of your friends... could they all be that 'poor' that they really can't afford it? (It could run $10 an hour if not more)

I wonder if maybe there's not more to it.... Although I have noticed a trend that people just don't want to leave their younger kids (like under 3) with just anyone. If they don't have family to help watch, they just don't go out... still they need to rsvp in a timely fashion.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2008 at 2:19PM
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I think sometimes it is hard to FIND a sitter, and I don't think it's unusual not to book one weeks in advance. I certainly sympathize with your frustration in not knowing how many to expect with only 4 days to go, though.

It seems that this group of friends you have just don't like to come to your adults-only parties. Whatever their reasons, that's how they are. Don't assume they NEVER go to adult only functions; they may just have been invited to several, especially this time of year, and do not want to leave their kids with a sitter too often.

So by now you know: you either need to have kid-friendly parties if you want to include them, or have adult parties that they will not attend, or one of each. But stop setting yourself up for disappointment by expecting them to be different. Just do what pleases you!

    Bookmark   December 2, 2008 at 2:33PM
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As a mother of two kids (6 & 8) I will have to say I really don't like to go out very often without my kids. I too would feel little uncomfortable if I received an invitation to "adult only" party. I know there are situations in your life, when you have to go out alone, but in our family we really try to include kids in everything we do, and we do it together. We are just lucky to have friends with kids and we all feel the same way.
While I agree that people should respond to your invitation in a timely manner, I know how they feel. They probably don't want to dissapoint you by saying "no, we won't come" and they don't want to hurt your feelings. Maybe they would love to come and they're just hoping that that you'll allow them to bring their little ones to your party. I remember only one party we were invited (without kids), and I felt really hurt because of that (we didn't go).
Christmas time is often filled with more formal parties (work, etc) when you have no choice but to leave your kids with sitters. Some people really don't feel good about going out every weekend without their kids... not to mention the costs of babysitting.
Hopefully, you will find out who's coming soon. Have a great time :)

    Bookmark   December 3, 2008 at 12:10AM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Frankly, if you have to spend forty dollars on a babysitter- well, that is enough money for lots of people to think twice about it. Just to go to a party. I would hope the party is really worth it, but then I tend to think hard about money spent on non tangible things and don't adore parties.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2008 at 8:54AM
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I think my parents' generation had a lot easier time leaving the kids behind for adult events than this generation does. Maybe it's the cost of babysitters. Maybe it's because of the fact that in most families both parents work and they don't want to add more time to that away from the kids.

My kids are 18 & 21, and when my kids were young, in my group of friends, there just weren't all that many events that didn't include the kids. However, my friends all pretty much had kids, generally in the same ages.

But, let me state clearly, I'm with ilovepink on the idea that sometimes, an adults only party is the way to go. And notwithstanding what I said above, I was always willing to go to adults only things and leave my kids at home.

So it's like what gellchom said, you should do the party the way you want, just be aware that saying no kids will mean that a lot of these folks won't come. But time will pass and the kids will grow and there will come a time when these parents DO want to go out without kids OR when the kids get old enough not to want to go with their parents.

Personally, if I don't want kids at the party, I'd rather have a smaller party with adults only. So I say, have the party your way and don't sweat about it too much.

As for the lack of RSVPs, well, that seems to be a problem that haunts a great deal of parties. That topic comes up fairly often, people just don't get the whole RSVP deal for some reason. In my case, I assume people who don't RSVP aren't coming and I usually will scratch people who don't RSVP off my list for future parties. I figure that if they can't even be bothered to at least let me know they got the invitation, that they didn't care all that much about being invited in the first place. That's just me!

    Bookmark   December 3, 2008 at 10:28AM
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I am waaaay past the age of needing a sitter..
But, back when I did, I hired one...or found a family member to watch my kids.
I can't imagine sending 20 or more invitations to people and having them show up with kids in tow! and furthermore I can't imagine accepting an invitation to a party and hiring a sitter for my kids and and finding that 4 or 5 other couples brought their kids to what I thought was going to be an adult party.
But I see nothing wrong with inviting 5 or 6 couples and saying on the invitation " bring the kids".
But I see no more effective "party spoiler" than 2 couples who have brought their kids who are complaining, running around, picking at food from the table, spilling and generally acting like kids.....and I am sure it's not much fun for the kids either.
Linda C

    Bookmark   December 3, 2008 at 1:00PM
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I don't know why those with children EXPECT the kids to be invited to all parties. An adult party is just that and if the invitee doesn't respect your wishes not to bring the kids, they can stay home.

I'd think after being with the kids day in and out, an adult party would be something to look forward to.

This is always a touchy subject but since DH & I don't and won't have kids, I prefer people don't bring them when invited here unless I say otherwise. I'm not a kid person, can't you tell.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2008 at 5:13PM
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When there are kids at a party, it becomes all about them, which is understandable; they need supervision and attention, safety is also an issue.

It's hard to get a babysitter sometimes so I assume your guests won't rsvp until they have someone confirmed. I babysit my grandchild once in a while so the parents can go out and enjoy themselves.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2008 at 7:29AM
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I just do not understand all the hostility, in both directions. Why is there only one "right" point of view?

Some people like to socialize with their (and other people's) children. Some prefer adults only. Some like both.

goldeneyedaisy: "As a mother of two kids (6 & 8) I will have to say I really don't like to go out very often without my kids."
debi_2006: "DH & I don't and won't have kids, I prefer people don't bring them when invited here unless I say otherwise. I'm not a kid person, can't you tell."
lowspark: "when my kids were young, in my group of friends, there just weren't all that many events that didn't include the kids. However, my friends all pretty much had kids, generally in the same ages.
But ... sometimes, an adults only party is the way to go. And notwithstanding what I said above, I was always willing to go to adults only things and leave my kids at home."

Nobody is WRONG here. They just have different preferences. And I'll add my own: when our kids were little, we did attend adult events. But we did turn some down, too, when it was getting to be too many nights away, when the kids were going through a period when they needed more attention, etc. Also remember that many parents do indeed agree that they need adult time; but they may prefer to spend it alone with each other. Leaving the kids with a sitter (and paying for it) for a party may mean skipping their weekly "date" with each other.

So why take it personally if your "we-only-socialize-with-our-kids" friends don't attend your adult party? That's just the choice they make. The same would be true in reverse. It is not fair or productive to argue that "they really should prefer an adult evening once in awhile" or "you should appreciate that we try to include our children in everything" -- it is NEVER a good idea to declare how other people should feel.

If you have friends whose feelings about this are different from yours, know that in advance, and if they decline an invitation because children won't (or will) be included, don't take it to heart, any more than you would if your vegetarian friend declined an invitation to an ox roast.

Either plan something that all your friends will want to attend, or entertain different groups separately. But don't be surprised and irritated year after year just because people don't see things the same way you do, and definitely don't try to declare that only one way is RIGHT.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2008 at 4:19PM
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I don't think anyone is quibbling over the differences of opinion, but just that the invitees should abide by the terms of the invitation, and not bring kids when they were not plainly invited and not get bent out of shape when an invitation comes to which the kids are NOT invited.
And conversly to realize that if you are having a party that doesn't include kids, some of the invitees may choose not to come.
My kids party easily every weekend. For the informal "lets get together" parties the kids may or may not be toted along. Most of the parents have houses where there is an out of the way play room ( and we are not talking toddlers, we are speaking of grade school and a few Jr high kids).
But for "invitation" parties, unless the invitation says "Family cookout" or "family pizza party" it is understood that kids are not invited.
There was one couple who showed up with their infant in the rocker seat, and that was fine while he was an infant, but when he learned to walk, things got a bit tense, but he would soon fall asleep in a corner....but when the child was 2 and another was on the way, they gradually stopped being included.
As for the cost of a sitter...I can't think that a young teen wouldn't be delighted to put a couple of kids to bed and sit and watch TV (while being on alert of course) for the government minimum wage.
Perhaps I am out of the loop, but I have a grand daughter who used to babysit, but she is now a very mature 18 and has outgrown (???) that job and lifeguards instead (baby sitting at the pool, but with the potential for death by drowning and a job requirement of having a WSI certificate and being up to date on CPR) and she sure doesn't make even $10 an hour!
$20 for a sitter? Highway robbery!
Linda C

    Bookmark   December 5, 2008 at 8:26PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I don't have kids but from what I understand and there is a thread on the cooking conversations side about babysitting prices but ten an hour is typical. That would make me stay home!
I have some friends who pay 15 an hour.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2008 at 10:44PM
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There is no other job that a teenager could get that would pay that amount of money. Why would any 16 yearold ever get a job flipping burgers or clerking in a store? The only better paying job I can think of would be waiting tables, where they tip well.
And that's hard work compared to watching a toddler or 2.
Linda C

    Bookmark   December 6, 2008 at 1:04AM
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My God, where do you all live? 10-15 an hour for babysitting? Even I would do it. I know girl, she gets paid 25 for evening till midnight for two kids.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2008 at 2:15AM
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I live in the Midwest. Although prices can vary and you may be able to find a young girl to babysit for $5, generally an older experienced one is closer to $10 or they may charge $5 per child or an additional fee for more kids. I agree it is high and even if you factor in inflation, the rates still seem off the charts.

Here's an old link about rates. Keep in mind it was started in 2001 so I would think prices have risen somewhat.

You may know a person or two that charges less, but if you were in the habit of having to hire babysitters on a regular basis, I think you'd probably believe the higher rates exist and are the norm. I know I would think them ludicrious too if I wasn't actually shopping around and paying the rate myself.

Here is a link that might be useful: Post on Rates

    Bookmark   December 8, 2008 at 12:45AM
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Thanks carla, I think when I retire, if I ever retire,I will babysit or might become a nanny. Could be lots of fun too.
I know a woman, she used to be a FT nanny for 2 young children. After two years she let it go, one of the girls were quite nasty,she would spit,kick, bite or hit her on regular basis and the parents wouldn't do much about it. The girl had lite mental problem so I guess that didn't help.My friend didn't want to use any harsh punishments, never mind spanking, so she quit. She got paid 65,000 dollars a year, paid medical and vaccation too !!!!She worked 5 days a week all day. She is certified in special education too.
The agency called her not long ago again, so she might have job offer.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2008 at 4:23AM
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ilovepink - how was the party? I hope you had fun and that no one showed up with uninvited kids.

I have only 1 child (18 yrs old now), but DH and have always attended adult events/parties when she was younger. It was never been a problem to get a sitter with some notice. That said, we also had a group of friends with kids similar in age to DD so we did host and attend to "kid friendly" parties as well. The kid friendly parties were usually spontaneous dinner parties on short notice or nights when our town celebrated fall festival or some similar occasion.

Formal parties never included the little ones.

I really enjoyed an adults only night out. Being a stay at home mom for many years, it was a real treat to get out for an evening with DH alone. I didn't feel guilty in the least.

Each year I contacted our district high school childcare program director. Our high school childcare program provides daycare for working moms, and has an entire curriculum teaching students how to care for small children. They are certified in CPR, etc. The director would give me 3 or 4 names (prescreened by the school). I would interview them and then have them interact with DD for awhile while I was making dinner. I would keep an ear for what was going on and it was a great way to find a sitter for the year. I usually chose a senior that drove, so I paid a bit more. I would always pick a girl who actually played with my daughter. I liked the idea that in the event of an emergency in my absence, there was a licensed driver caring for my child.

I will also tell you that when we would vacation with friends with the kids, we took the babysitter as well. It was money very well spent. Everyone would contribute toward the week/weekend fee, and even though we really didn't need a "sitter" every night, it was great having an extra set of hands with an early dinner and bath time for several kids. It also would free up a couple of moms who were starting to prep our late dinner as well. Being at the beach was also nicer if the adults wanted to stay a bit longer, the sitter would take the little ones back to the house and start the process of getting the kids going in the outside shower. The kids loved it, the parents loved it, win win for everyone. We even took the sitter on weekend trips to the beach. The friends who hosted at their beach house had high school age kids and the sitter always got a night out to hit the boards or whatever our hosts' kids were doing she was included.

In our part of the country, people usually have 1 or 2 "regular" sitters whom they pay well and count on to entertain their kids until it is time for bed. They don't just put the kids in front of the tv and talk on the phone.

My DD never really did much babysitting, but the friends of hers that did, made at least $50-75 for a Saturday nite. IMHO money well spent for parents in need of a reliable sitter. I always overpaid our sitters, but in return I never had a worry when I went out for an evening. The next morning my DD would be going on and on about how much fun she had the night before:).

    Bookmark   December 8, 2008 at 2:26PM
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It is hard to believe that they did not at least RSVP to let you know they were not coming.

It is also hard to believe that grown adults would not enjoy an evening out to be among other adults for a few hours!

Parents should understand when they are invited to an adult party and not take offense when the "lil darlings" are not invited.

Also, why would you want to bring your children into an adult, evening environment where adults are talking about "adult" topics, and are also drinking? Kids cry, get into things, bother others, and frankly they should be at home with a family member or a sitter.

I often hear parents say that their children will not be a bother (yeah right), but again I have to wonder whay any parent would want to bring their children to an adult event?

Hope your party turned out great even without those who could would not get a relative/sitter for the evening.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2008 at 5:17PM
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I wonder if people just are not good planners these days? DD13 babysits and often gets calls to babysit the day of sometimes even an hour before. People citing they weren't sure they were going to attend??

I have four kids and we entertain often. We have adult only parties, whole family parties many of which the kids all end up in the game room in the basement hardly to be seen. I love to attend both types myself. Sometimes we just can't make adult only parties because of family obligations but I would let the host know either way.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2008 at 2:45PM
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I see two different issues here, both of which seem to be related to today's culture and the fact that some people are still wading around in the past. Firstly, manners, general civility and formality (the horror!) have been relegated to the category "stuffy, classist, boorish behavior of the priggish, pompous and and elitist 'older' generation"; thereby making such formal courtesies as RSVP's (OK, frankly, actual invitations even) insignificant and done only if entirely convenient of the recipient of the invitation.

Secondly, since children have now become optional in a marriage, one notices that they are significantly fewer in number. Along with fewer children comes two parent incomes; hence, the thought that since one only has a couple of children, one should spend time with them, but one has a job, so one tries to spend all available time with these children. (I believe that this is called "quality time".) My observation is that family life now revolves around the children entirely so that if a relative visits and wishes to take the family out to lunch we have to go to a place that pleases the children. In such a world I do believe that it is probably anathema to go anywhere, anytime without said children. That is, if the children wish to go.

Amazingly, I've also noticed that in recent years American children often rate the highest in the world in the category "self esteem" but perform the poorest in knowledge and general competencies. (And just try to get one of them to actually greet you at the check out in the grocery store. Or bag your groceries at a pace greater than an item a minute. Or drag themselves away from the urgent conversation/text messaging regarding their newest piercing.) But I digress. Your comment addressed RSVP's. I think it boils down to the fact that if it's not convenient, no one's going to do it. If they have to be separated from their kids, no dice. Vive la culture l'Americaine! (My pathetic attempts at french!)

    Bookmark   January 21, 2009 at 3:54PM
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AMyJean, I think you hit nail on the head. MY grandkids get what they want now!!!! Way too much of everything from clothes to toys. They did send "thank you" notes for several years but even that has stopped. They have fancy cameras & miss school to go to Catalina-they are smart kids so doesn't hurt their grades. They are in private school. The 12 yr old has cell phone, they don't talk much to humans unless they are on other end of the phone. My bro. is in management for major phone co. He hires & fires. He gets new people in that seem to be qualified & they don't show up for work on 3-4 day. When asked the reason they say they were tired or had other things to do. Bro. gives them a talk & informs them if they don't change & abide by company policy they will be without a job. Some do some don't!! Young lady I know got a job after graduating from top college in LA. It was 4 person office,it was someone she knew from church, she quit after 3 weeks as "she couldn't move up!" She was lucky & got position at college she graduated from. Most of her friends got a job through their parents informing all their networking associates. None got a job on their own. A lot of spoiled brats are being raised & it's really sad. No, we didn't give our kids everything or even half!!Maybe it is guilt since both parents have to work! But life does revolve around the kids & their activities in all the families I know!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2009 at 1:30PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance

Just glad those days are over! The kids are gone! Raising more kids! OMG!! It doesn't end! BUT, invite us! We'll come and we will even bring wine!!

    Bookmark   February 17, 2009 at 10:06PM
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First of all, let me say I have 2 children so this is not someone sounding off about something I know nothing of. I think it is a great idea to host an adults only party. I wish I knew people who were willing to do so or come to one I would host.
Since when is it a crime to do something without the kids? It's a crime to trade away a few hours of alone time with my husband and our friends. My entire week is devoted to being the most awesome mom possible and I think it's important to teach my kids that time with other adults is not only healthy for me, but for them too! What are we talking - a once a year thing?
I was amazed at the number of people that were miffed because I requested that younger children not come to our wedding reception. They were invited to the church, but since the party didn't start until 8:00 pm I thought it was too late for whiney kids to hang out in an area where their parents wouldn't be watching them anyway.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2009 at 11:47AM
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There's nothing new about people not RSVPing. My old rule of thumb for parties other than tiny ones or sit-down dinners, developed almost 40 years ago, is that one third of the invitees didn't reply at all, and one third of those who accept didn't show. (And very rarely did any non-repliers show up.)

I suspect that the OP's problem is not so much about booking a sitter as it is bucking a norm. If the people in her circle expect to bring kids -- and based on her previous experiences it seems they do -- it really doesn't matter the merits of that norm, just that it is expected. While she is certainly free to entertain as she prefers, why be surprised when some of the intended guests don't care for the change? If she's lucky, she may be able to establish a different circle where adult-only parties are its norm.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 4:56PM
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