Author Topic: Like for Like reciprocation of hosting  (Read 2014 times)

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Hmmmmm

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Like for Like reciprocation of hosting
« on: August 12, 2013, 01:12:51 PM »
This is a question for a friend. Ellen, her DH (Paul), and their 1 yr old moved to a new location about 8 months ago. Ellen found a mother's group that had been in existence for 3 years for working moms. It includes about 8 women and about 12 kids between 1 and 4. She really enjoys the group: no drama queens, no one upmanship, no my way is so much better, no hurt feelings if a few decide to do something and not include everyone. They each rotate hosting a weekly get together in their homes every other weekend.

After about 2 months with the group, her family received an invitation to one of the 2 yr olds bday party. In Ellen's and Paul's social background, little kid bday parties are small family affairs and a few close friends. But they accepted as they thought it would be a good way for Paul to meet some of the DH's of the other women. They went with an appropriate present, had an ok time, was a little supirsed about the large party was for a 2 yr old. The next month, they were invited to another 2 yr olds bday party which again they accepted and was suprised again about the party. The next month, another invite arrives, this time for a 4 yr old. Ellen and Paul realize they aren't interested in attending these parties, and she mentions to one of the other mom's they plan to decline the invite. This mom counsel's against declining as it will appear as a snub to this host. So they've now attended about 6 bday parties over the last 6 months. For each one, they've taken an appriate gift and they have also had the hosting couple and child over for dinner a few months later, sometimes alone,sometimes with another family or two.

Her DD's 2 year bday is coming up. They planned to have a small family bday party. She mentioned this to another in the group who told her that she might want to reconsider since the group norm is to host these big elaborate parties and it will look like they are not reciprocating their hosting obligation. That the group sees these parties as a great Saturday get together for everyone and a good way for the kids to be entertained.

Ellen and Paul will not be changing their plans for their child's bday party.

Ellen feels that they have sufficiently reciprocated by having the hosts to dinner.
Paul thinks they should host a large bbq with some kid activites (face painter, blow up slide like the other parties) for the members of the group, so they don't make waves.

I told Ellen I agreed with her, that reciprocal hosting doesn't have to be like for like. But since this group sees these parties as an extension of their Mom's group, that maybe Paul is right.

Opinions?

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Like for Like reciprocation of hosting
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2013, 01:34:32 PM »
I think Ellen is correct; they have reciprocally hosted.  But I see Paul's point.  With this group, it seems that elaborate parties are the norm and if Ellen and Paul don't host one, it might be seen as they aren't pulling their own weight, even though they've been inviting people over.

So if they have the inclination and the budget, throwing the party Paul suggested would do the trick.  But then, I'd stop inviting everyone over for dinner after they host a birthday party.  The BBQ party would become the reciprocal hosting.
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lowspark

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Re: Like for Like reciprocation of hosting
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2013, 01:35:36 PM »
I see this as a sort of "When in Rome..." kind of thing. I agree that you don't have to reciprocate in kind, and that they really already have reciprocated. However, I'm not sure that reciprocating is the issue here. Because presumably they'd be inviting the entire group, not just the parents of those kids whose birthday parties they've already attended.

It seems to me that this group has a way of doing things that seems to work for them. Ellen and Paul are not obligated to follow that pattern but it looks like it won't go over well if they don't. So Ellen can just chalk it up to experience and go with the flow, maybe having a backyard BBQ as Paul suggested and doing a separate family only event as well. Or Ellen can buck the tradition and not do the party, but she has to figure that there may be consequences in how well she continues to fit in with the rest of the group.

If I were Ellen, I'd probably do the BBQ but keep it simple. Face painting & blow up slides are not in my repertoire. But I do enjoy hosting social events so having a party and inviting the whole group & families would be fine for me.

Ellen has to weigh the cost/trouble of the party against how she will be received by the group in the future if she doesn't uphold the standard.

Kaypeep

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Re: Like for Like reciprocation of hosting
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2013, 01:45:37 PM »
I think Ellen is right, and should keep the birthday party small and not cave to peer pressure.    In a few years the kids will be in school and have a new circle of friends.  Don't start playing "keep up with the Jones'" so early.    If DH is eager to socialize then let him plan a separate BBQ, maybe a Sunday for a big game or something like that.  This way you're being social but not tying it to presents and the obligation of throwing big bday parties.  This mommy group may  not have drama but it seems there's still a subtle form of one-upmanship going on, especially if OP is saying that the other mommies will think poorly of Ellen and her DH if they don't have an equally large party.  That's just insane, IMO.  Especially in this economy.  I'd decline more of the bdays too, for those kids/families you aren't that close with.  I wouldn't want to be friends with a group who forces me to spend money or alter my values just to maintain my social ranking.

siamesecat2965

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Re: Like for Like reciprocation of hosting
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2013, 01:58:20 PM »
I think Ellen is right, and should keep the birthday party small and not cave to peer pressure.    In a few years the kids will be in school and have a new circle of friends.  Don't start playing "keep up with the Jones'" so early.    If DH is eager to socialize then let him plan a separate BBQ, maybe a Sunday for a big game or something like that.  This way you're being social but not tying it to presents and the obligation of throwing big bday parties.  This mommy group may  not have drama but it seems there's still a subtle form of one-upmanship going on, especially if OP is saying that the other mommies will think poorly of Ellen and her DH if they don't have an equally large party.  That's just insane, IMO.  Especially in this economy.  I'd decline more of the bdays too, for those kids/families you aren't that close with.  I wouldn't want to be friends with a group who forces me to spend money or alter my values just to maintain my social ranking.

I don't have kids, but I also agree with this. Its their party, and if they choose to have a small, family only, party, so be it. I'm not one to cave into "peer pressure" and do something just because someone else is doing it.

i like the idea of a separate bbq for all, but not birthday related.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Like for Like reciprocation of hosting
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2013, 06:04:08 PM »
I forgot to mention in my earlier post that they should definitely keep their plans for their daughter's birthday party; the BBQ party would be an 'extra'.
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Roe

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Re: Like for Like reciprocation of hosting
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2013, 06:11:18 PM »
They are under no obligation to host an elaborate bday party.

In my family, we often host big bday parties so I wouldn't have batted an eye at a big celebration but if that's not what others want to do, so be it! I've never looked down at anyone for hosting something much smaller or not hosting a celebration at all!

Thing is, I don't judge and neither should these moms.  It reads to me as if the moms are trying to "one up" one another or at the very least keep expectations the same and in life, that's just ridiculous to try to do.

I agree with PP's...in a few years your kiddo will have a different group of friends so why bother trying to keep up with the Joneses?  Just do as you wish.  How does that saying go..."begin as you wish to continue"?  (something like that) 

shhh its me

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Re: Like for Like reciprocation of hosting
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2013, 07:37:22 PM »
  I agree with the husband this time. (not that it has to be a birthday party but a party for the whole group with kids).  Its a group taking turns hosting a family party in addition to the original group.   IT would be like a book club that also took turns hosting a monthly cocktail party it's an unwritten rule of the group.  I don't think the bounce house or face painting are required. BBQ and pin the tail on the donkey games type games would be fine, I think your friend can tone it way down. Take the birthday part out of the equation , they're taking turns hosting a group activity.     Normally I don't think like for like is required but I will say If I invite you , spouse and your children , you need to invite me , my spouse and child. 

NyaChan

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Re: Like for Like reciprocation of hosting
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2013, 07:49:16 PM »
This is one of those situations where it is good to weigh between the feeling of being right and the results of not giving in.  Sure, they have no obligation to throw the big party.  However, if they want to socialize successfully in this group, it would probably be the smart thing to do.  Have the small family party, then add on something later to appease the party animals, and skip the individual dinners from then onwards.

blarg314

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Re: Like for Like reciprocation of hosting
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2013, 08:05:46 PM »

I don't think they have to change from a small family birthday to a giant party with tons of guests solely because that's what someone told them they should do. If everyone in their social circle had a huge wedding, they could have a small family wedding without being rude.

Birthday parties (and showers, and weddings, and anniversary parties) are not events that need to be reciprocated because they are events where the guests are expected to bring presents, thereby benefitting the hosts.

They could hold a backyard BBQ at another time if they want.

If they need a good excuse, they could say "Oh, DD will be much happier with a small party". After all, a birthday party is supposed to be for the person who is having the birthday, and two year olds can get cranky and scared when they're on display at a birthday party. I've seen more than one toddler burst out in tears during the cake/singing.


baglady

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Re: Like for Like reciprocation of hosting
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2013, 08:48:06 PM »
Just because other families have done it doesn't obligate Ellen to do the same. If she has to, she can play the "kid's issues" card: "Oh, DD would hate having a big crowd of people in her house/yard fussing over her -- she's going through a shy phase." Or the relative card: "Oh, my mom would be terribly uncomfortable with a houseful of strangers. She prefers small gatherings where she can have lots of one-on-one time with her granddaughter."

I don't have kids, but I'm sensitive to this issue because my circle of friends includes everything from millionaires to starving students. Those who have the space, time and money throw big, splashy parties. Those who don't have more modest gatherings, or none at all -- they reciprocate hospitality in different ways.

If the members of this moms' group decide to snub Ellen because she didn't throw a big party for DD's birthday, then she's well rid of them. I'm guessing it's only a handful of people who are putting the pressure on her to have a big party, and the rest are fine with whatever she decides. It's her child, after all.
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JenJay

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Re: Like for Like reciprocation of hosting
« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2013, 09:14:53 PM »
They're taking a gift for the child and hosting the family for dinner a few weeks later? I think their reciprocation is covered.

Personally my time and budget would be stretched enough with twice monthly get togethers, at least one birthday a month and having the birthday family over for dinner. I wouldn't want to throw yet another party and if the group looked down on me for it I'd probably be looking for another group.  :-\

peaches

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Re: Like for Like reciprocation of hosting
« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2013, 09:17:50 PM »
Dictating a style of birthday parties is way beyond the scope of any mothers' play group (or should be).

Some families have elaborate birthday parties, some have modest ones, some have them rarely or not at all. Should you or your kids only be friends with people who entertain in exactly the same way? I think that would be a very narrow way to live.

When we gave birthday parties, we were happy to have people attend and contribute to the fun (not to mention, most people bring a gift). We weren't keeping score about who gave parties and who didn't.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2013, 09:20:27 PM by peaches »

TootsNYC

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Re: Like for Like reciprocation of hosting
« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2013, 12:03:29 PM »
I think that Ellen would have been OK to not attend every birthday party the mother's group throws.

(it wouldn't surprise me if some of those people are relieved to not be invited)

bonyk

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Re: Like for Like reciprocation of hosting
« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2013, 12:17:28 PM »
She really enjoys the group: no drama queens, no one upmanship, no my way is so much better, no hurt feelings if a few decide to do something and not include everyone.

If this is all true, then the birthday party should be a non-issue.

If her husband wants to host the other families, have a BBQ get together on a different weekend.