She asked me what I thought about it, so I answered honestly. It is always the right thing to be honest, no?
The first birthday for a little girl is a very special day. A defining moment. A baby have managed to survive being born, manage herself through those first twelve months of being alive. It calls for celebrations.
However, in this family (not mine, the other side of the family) things are sometimes done in the best intentions but creates confusion and arguing. But, hey, maybe I am wrong about all of this? What do you guys think;
A few weeks ago I was told by my girlfriend that her stepmother had offered to host our girls first birthday party. It would take place in their house, and my mom and dad plus my brother and sister would also be invited. Only if we wanted to, the stepmother said. My girlfriend said yes, She did ask me about it, but I felt I had no choice but to say yes to it as well.
Now, is this within the cultural norms? It is my daughters first birthday. I wanted to bake a cake, and host a celebration here at home. Here at home where both parts of her family could come on equal terms so to speak. I mentioned the stepmothers plans to my mom, and she wasn’t super thrilled. I guess she felt the same as me, that the center of power so to speak is not equal but lies with my girlfriends side of the family.
It is my opinion that stepmothers and/or grandmothers should know, based on their social skills and cultural upbringing, that a first birthday celebration should be hosted by the parents of the child, in their home. In that way things won’t get awkward for anyone. Not for me, not for my girlfriend, not for my part of the family.
But in this case, I find no way of saying no right out of the bat as my girlfriend thinks this is a good idea. I would be looked upon badly from many sides as the grumpy guy who says no to someone hosting practically a “free” party. I would also, I suspect, hurt the stepmothers feelings badly in refusing.
And so I told my girlfriend all of this, and I also included that if it had been my mother asking to host my daughters first birthday party at her house, I would decline the invitation. It wouldn’t be right, socially, culturally and so on. There’s something to this idea that makes me feel awkward and unruly. There’s also a matter of inviting like the stepmothers brother which I find a bit strange in a setting like this.
But yeah, I voiced this opinion to my girlfriend. I was asked. I was being honest about it, trying to explain my hesitant feeling towards this in detail. It didn’t go as planned. I wasn’t angry, I wasn’t rude. I was trying my absolute best at explaining why I felt awkward about this birthday party, and also the reasons why I wasn’t refusing it. There are several reasons, a few already mentioned in this text.
It turned out to be a two hour discussion where my girlfriend, at her absolute finest moment, said that short people was more angry than tall people – and therefore I was more angry than most people. She also accused me of not liking her family in general because of me feeling awkward about it which is not true at all. However, everyone on her side are “a bit too much” at times as there’s almost a revolving door of grandparents visiting this house. That’s another story.
I tried to explain to her that it is not healthy that my girlfriend goes on the attack on matter like this as she should be supportive and act like a team member. We’re supposed to be a team, and it is completely unecessary accusing me of all weird ideas and feelings when I simply voiced my opinion that I found her stepmother arranging this to be rather awkward for me and for my family.
Later on, I checked with a friend of mine if I was wrong in judging this like I did, and she said I was completely right. A birthday party like this, which happens only once, should be up to the parents to decide and host – and grandparents, mother in laws and stepmothers should politely stay away from it. It doesn’t matter how politely this stepmother asks. I am confident she thinks that we can give her an honest answer back, but I don’t think either of us can do. We don’t want to hurt anyone, and besides, my girlfriend thought it was a good idea anyway. It is borderline rude towards my parents in taking the center of power around my daughter and put that on her side of the family when it should be focused in the center – here, at our home. This is where people around my daughter should meet up.
And you know what, I wanted to bake a cake. It wouldn’t have been the most fancy cake ever, but I wanted to bake a cake for my daughter first birthday party. I can still do it of course, but I feel like it’s been taken way from me. That first time, that first birthday, snatched away from me by do-gooders with no social knowledge. Stolen from me by a way too eager stepmother and a girlfriend who doesn’t seem to understand the social implications of this. She accuses me of being rude, but she doesn’t seem to see the bigger picture.
But I am right, or am I wrong? This is one discussion I would gladly welcome in a comment field on this blog.