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Missing Birthday Invitation Party

Dear Mothering Heights,

Our neighbors didn’t invite my kids to their little girl’s birthday party. My two-year-old daughter and six-year old son saw the balloons and asked me about it. We invited them to my daughter’s party last month and they came. What should I do? Say something or forget it?

Los Angeles, CA

Dear Bummed,

I feel your pain like a punch in the stomach. Since my gut reaction is to order a bunch unwanted magazine subscriptions for the family, I decided it was best to contact etiquette expert Lisa Gaché at Beverly Hills Manners. “To give your neighbor the benefit of the doubt, perhaps she was having a smaller party limited to friends from her daughter’s school. However, since her daughter had just been invited to your daughter’s birthday, it is common courtesy to let you know that she was limiting the party this year and might have suggested a separate play date for the girls to celebrate. If possible, you want to avoid confronting your neighbor as that would be awkward and put her on the spot. The best thing you can do is to rise above it and act normal.” Yeah, yeah Lisa is right. Choose the higher road and let it go. I would suspend all future invitations to that household though unless your kids become the best of friends. At that point, you may need to have a ho-down throw-down with the mom and ask for reciprocal invitations.


To be or not to be the Friendly Mom

Dear Mothering Heights,

Do I have to be friends with the moms of my kid's friends?

Newport Beach, CA

Dear Kerry,
No, you don’t have to but it can make life easier. You can always be the busy mom who doesn’t have time to hang out at play dates or the park. However, I know a couple that raised two teenagers without a ton of problems. From the time their kids were little, they invited their friends and families over for dinner once a week. As they got to know the families, they decided whether or not they shared their values. If not, they regulated the friendships. Not a bad strategy for setting your children up for success.

While working in Hollywood, I learned there are two types of friends: friends you want to have and friends you need to have. If the two merge, you have truly experienced serendipity in the crazy world of mommydom.


Breast Implants & Playdates

Dear Mothering Heights,

My neighbor just got insanely large implants. My daughters play at her house often and I am wondering if I should use this as a teachable opportunity to explain to them about plastic surgery and self-esteem. Or just ignore it; hope they never notice; and make sure my husband doesn't start offering to pick them up from play dates?

N.K., Rhode Island

Dear Donna,

My daughters used to ask me why my breasts followed the laws of gravity and other women’s didn’t. I blathered on about breastfeeding, but after awhile they didn’t buy it. I explained that some women have plastic surgically placed inside their breasts. While it probably wasn’t the best choice of words, I tried not to express any judgment on the woman’s choice. Close relatives of mine have had breast cancer and necessary breast implants. As for your neighbor and her endowment, I would ignore it until your kids ask. One of the most important influences on your daughters’ self-esteem is the way you feel about yourself. I put my best foot forward every day to let my kids know that I love my body and who I am as a woman. Some days, I have to fake it so hard I deserve an Academy Award. Nothing like feeling my jelly-belly-muffin-top swishing around and smiling like nothing’s wrong. As for your husband, if he wants to do pick-up it’s better for you. Nothing builds Mommy-steem like some good old-fashioned time alone.


Truth in T-shirt?

Dear Mothering Heights,

What do you think about a t-shirt I saw that said, “If A Man Speaks In The Forest, But There Is No Woman To Hear Him, Is He Still Wrong?”

Angela a.k.a. CPA Mom
Planet Earth

Dear Angela,

Considering the fact that I just spent a week in a forest in Utah with my husband, and he was wrong several times, my answer is an affirmative ‘yes.’ (I was, as most moms are, always right.) The wisdom to take away from this t-shirt is that if your husband feels the need to be right, send him away for a day in the forest. Perhaps Mother Nature will give him that much needed sense of righteousness.

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