Ruma Ali, a single mom from Leicester County, UK, wanted to throw a birthday party for her twin boys, who were turning five years old. So she planned an event at the Fun Valley Indoor Play Centre and, not wanting to leave anyone out, invited both of the boys' classes to come—a whopping 60 kids in total. Fun Valley charges £11 ($19) per head, so Ali asked parents to contribute £6 ($10.50) each for their child to attend.
Most of them had no problem with this request. But one did, and she decided to anonymously air her grievances on Facebook, on a public page for their local Leicester-based community. "My 4yr old has been invited to a classmates 5th bday party," she wrote. "The said parent has hired fun valley and stipulated a payment of £6 per child on the birthday invitations. My older kids are in secondary school and in all my years of hosting and being invited to kids parties, I have never been asked to pay for attending a party."
Ali, who is a university student, told the Leicester Mercury the she still expected to pay more than £500 ($875) for the day. And many Facebook commenters were on her side. "Not all parents can afford to pay for parties but also they want to make their child happy by having a party for them. Instead of buying a gift you could pay the £6 and buy a birthday card," suggested Gemma Simms. "It’s only fair !!!! Nothing wrong in paying £6," said Sheikh Razin.
The debate actually went viral, with national newspapers in Britain, including the Daily Mail and The Sun, picking it up.
In the end, Ali threw her boys the party as planned and said it was a success—her twins and the other kids had a good time. And isn't that the point, after all? Birthday parties are difficult and expensive enough, with parents feeling pressured to invite everyone and make them as big as possible. At the end of the day, we could all use a reminder that kids' parties should be less about politics and more about having a little fun.
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