General Etiquette > Family and Children

Big Momma and the Birthday Battle

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Autumn Rose:
I am trying to decide if I am being selfish or if my family is being unreasonable.

My birthday is at the end of August.    Several weeks ago, my DH said that he would like to throw me a party.    I haven't had a "birthday party" since I was kid.    I was really excited!    We also just moved into a new it was a great time to show off our new pad, catch up with friends, etc.    Hubby sent out the evite on Tuesday.

Perfect, right?

Once a year, my mother travels to northern state to visit family and stay with her sister for about 6 weeks.   She departs August 15th.
Yesterday, my aunt calls me and tells me that since my mom is turning 80 this year  (November), she is going to throw her a party.

Guess the date?    Yep....the exact same day as *my* birthday party.

I told my aunt that I already had a party scheduled that day, invites had been sent out....and that I was sorry that I wouldnt be able to make it.    Right before hanging up the phone she says  "well, see what you can do".    :-\

When I called my mother last night...she chirped  "so did you talk to aunt today"?     Uhhh....yes.
"Well" she says  "I am so excited about this!    Everyone is going to be there, blah, blah, blah".

"I know", I said.   "I am sorry that I am not going to be able to make it".

"WHAT??" she says.     Well, that wont work!    I cant have everyone come to my *80th* birthday party and not have my daughter there!
Just have your DH send out an email saying that you are changing the party to the following weekend!"    >:(

I will admit that at this point I am furious.    So I snap "So you want me to cancel my birthday party so I can come to yours?"
....and then the guilt trip begins  "Well, its a major milestone turning 80",  "I dont know how many more birthdays I will have", etc. etc.


Here is how I feel about this.

    1.    I think it was inconsiderate of my aunt to speak with all of the relatives *except me*, and then set a date for the party.
    2.    All the party goers live in northern state.    I live in southern state and will have to fly up there.
    3.    This trip would cost around $2000 with airline tix for the 3 of us, car rental, etc.     
    4.    I have been given 3 weeks notice!!!!
    5.    My mothers ACTUAL birthday isnt until November.

In addition to these items, (If I am being honest) I think I have some residual bitterness towards her birthdays.

I have thrown my mother some lavish birthday parties.    One for her 60th.    One on her 70th and another one of her 75th.
Each event has cost me thousands of dollars.    It was my pleasure to do that for her.
For my major birthday (40) .... I got a dollar store birthday card and dinner at a greasy diner.    After seeing all the "effort" she put into my birthday, I decided that I was done with the elaborate events. question:
What is the etiquette approved way to handle this situation?    Because right now I am feeling selfish and annoyed! 

**additional notes:
    I cant really blame my mother for the date of the party.    My aunt is the one that set all of this up...and then called to inform me (and my mom) of the plans.   
And they are having the party 3 months early because that is when my  mother will be in town.

It's kind of simple really, it's not your party.....your husband is the host, and you are the guest of honor. It is a party for you, but you aren't technically the host.

That being said, if you are invited to a party, and have a previous commitment, you RSVP no.

It's a shame that your mom and aunt feel that it is so important for you to be there, but you were not consulted when the planning was in the works. You haven't received an invitation, just word of mouth. I wouldn't change your plans that are solid for something that hasn't been firmed up.

It makes no kind of sense for your mom to insist on a party now, instead of when her birthday actually occurs in a few months. I say to go ahead with your own party as planned. If asked, say that you have already made so many plans for your event, it just isn't possible to cancel and do the other party at this late date. Ask her to reschedule, instead.

If it were my mother, and I had a conflict for a major milestone birthday of hers, I would do all I could to be there. However, my mother has done so much for me over the years, and has always celebrate my milestones and accomplishments fully and grandly, so I would jump at the chance to do so. However, the background you have with your mother changes the equation mightily, and it sounds like it makes sense for you to hold fast to your plans and celebrate your birthday and your new home in a way that surrounds you with people you care about and who care about you, whether or not they are "family". I highly doubt your aunt or mother will ever come around to seeing your point of view, so if you just stick to "I'm sorry that won't be possible." "I wish you'd consulted with me before you set the date, but now plans have been made." "I hope you enjoy your birthday party!" you'll be fine.


--- Quote --- "Well, its a major milestone turning 80",  "I dont know how many more birthdays I will have",....
--- End quote ---

Well Mom, technically you haven't had that birthday yet. It's 3 months away! Aren't you counting your chickens before they're hatched?


I'll celebrate your birthday when it's your birthday, and not my birthday. Kthxbye.


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