Should I Have Separate Birthday Parties?

Updated on April 09, 2010
A.M. asks from San Jose, CA
24 answers

I have twin boys who will be 1 yr in July. I am trying to plan a birthday party, and I am very stressed out.
My step mom; who raised me does not want me to invite my birth mom. There was many years of a bitter divorce (which was tramatizing for my sister and I) My step mom wants me to have 2 separate parties. My birth mom lives 8 hours away so this would not be an easy task.
My birth mother was not a attentive mom, more like an aunt. She was very cruel to my stepmom while I grew up, but now she is different. She wants to get along with my step mom and put all the negative feelings in the past and have one party. My stepmom saids she refuses to come to the party if I invite my birth mom.
I don't want to disrespect my step mom who raised me, but I also don't want my boys to feel the tension and feeling stressed like I have for 32 years.
Should I have a separate party or have one and everyone who wants to come can/not come?

PS: Thank you ladies for all the wise comments. I haven't decided on anything yet. IThe ideal situation would be that everyone would come and be ADULTS. Unfortunately that has never happened. My wedding, graduation, and even the birth of the boys was stressful because of this situaltion.
I am worried that I will be more concerend if they are getting along then enjoying the day with my own children. It pisses me off that I am a grown woman with my own family and I am STILL made to feel in the middle.
My BIO mom knows the situation and is willing to have a party in her hometown. Which might be fun so that her side of the family would be able to attend. (distance being the issue) My hope is that my boys are to be completely in the dark about the past. They need to remain innocent and love whom ever they chose. I did not have this option.

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from Sacramento on

I say have one party and let her decide if she wants to go or not. You can't cater to everyone. You're all adults, she needs to act like it. This is about the boys, not her.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Anchorage on

I experienced this not with my child, but as a child during my graduation and wedding. Fact is, they are adults and need to grow up and act like it. Only have one party, invite everyone, and explain to your step Mom that you love her, that she raised you and is your mother, but that your birth mom is also a part of your life and is also a grandmother to your children, and you want everyone who loves those twins all together on THEIR special day. It is their day, make sure both moms understand that. It is time for them to put the past behind them so they can both do what is best for those babies. If you step mom can not come around this year, tell her how sad you are she is not coming, and you hope she will change her mind, and leave it at that, but I would not have 2 parties to cater to an old feud.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I agree with some of the girls here.
It's your son's birthday and they're only 1 once, so it's their day therefore it should be their party, not your mom's or stepmom. If either of them doesn't want to come, then its their problem. However, since your mom lives far away and SHE'S THE ONE THAT GAVE BIRTH TO YOU, she should definetely be invited. I undestand that your step mom has some kind of resentment, but GET IT OVER IT LADY, she's not a kid anymore. My point is, your family is you, your kids and your husband, make a joy out of the party planning and don't stress out. The poor babies don't need to deal with the human's problems.
Good luck
I really hope you decide to do just 1 party for both of them and think of your kids instead of your moms.

please let us know what happens

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I would have one birthday party and let the "adults" know ahead of time who will be there and that you have an expectation that everyone will be civil and focus on celebrating a birthday. They don't have to speak or interact if they do not want to, but I would not start doing two separate "events" or you will be doing it for the rest of your life! Would you plan two weddings? Nope-

Seriously, my father's parents were divorced when he was very young. His father remarried his mother's best friend- bitterness to say the least. However, when it came to the children and the grandchildren they all put a bit 'ole smile on their faces and attended every event and celebrated every milestone.

If they can't agree to respect YOU, then neither attends. They'll both be there b/c YOU are important to both of them and your children are the focus of the celebration- not their squabbles!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

Here's a compromise:

Why not tell your stepmum that you want to "Try it this way this year while the boys will be too young to remember, and if your bio-mum is cruel/ causes a scene/ or in any other way causes drama then next year she won't be invited, but you want to give everyone a chance to be an adult."?

That gets you out of multiple parties, and gives everyone notice that anyone who "misbehaves will not be on the list" next year.


2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

No, you should not have two parties. Do it this year and be prepared to be manipulated for your entire life. Your step mom can come or not. Her choice. Time to grow up.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Its time for everyone involved to grow up and leave the past in the past when it comes to the kids. These ladies don't have to talk to each other or become pals, but they need to put a smile on their face and at least be civil when it comes to your twins, imho. I know its hard--my parents are divorced (and it wasn't pretty) and each have new significant others. The first meeting was uncomfortable (my daughter's christening--they hadn't seen or spoken in 5 years) but they learned to deal and now have run into each other at my daughter's functions a few her 1st bday party. They don't strike up a conversation, but they behave like adults. I let it be very clear that I would not tolerate any other behavior--my daughter does not need to carry around the burden of their past. I also made it clear I would not allow bad mouthing of the other party in the presence of myself or my daughter. Kids are smart and in tune to adults and I don't want my daughter feeling all the negativity or feeling like she needs to choose a favorite or side to be on. My daughter has every right to love my mom and my dad and both of their spouses equally--she doesn't have to choose. We did give each set of grandparents different titles so my daughter had something special to call them---one is Nana and Papa and the other is Grandma and Grandpa. You need to be firm about this, trust me. Talk to both your mom and step-mom--acknowledge their feelings and that it may be somewhat uncomfortable at first, but that you trust they can put it aside for one day for the sake of your kids. Then the ball is in their court. If your step-mom decides to not come, it will be hard, but it is her decision and her loss and hopefully she will see that. Please just put your foot down in this situation gently and don't stress yourself out about it---I made myself sick in the beginning worrying. They will see each other eventually--it is inevitable and it might as well be gotten over with. I really think your mom may deserve a second chance with being a part of your children's life. My dad wasn't the greatest in the past, but he loves my daughter and it has sort of made up for some of the things he did. It won't erase the past or make you value what your step-mom did for you growing up and reassure her of that. But there is nothing good to come from holding onto grudges and anger, especially when you have children. You are in a wonderful new phase of your life and it may be very healing for you personally to be able to put some of the baggage behind you and build a new relationship with your birth mom. Your step-mom is just feeling a little threatened right now, which is natural, but I'm sure she truly cares for you and the kids and will be able to see that this is good for you. I wish you the best!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I would agree with Jen C., and also chime in that if you do separate parties this year, you have made it that much more difficult to to a together party in the future. However, it is a hard situation, and if you just can't bear to go down this road right now, how about a party and a family dinner. The party for everyone who is coming, and if step mom won't come, have a family dinner with just her, her presents, and that side of the family either a day or two before or after the big event. It's possible that some folks may end up coming to two events, but that is one possibly solution that might take the edge off without having two complete parties.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

Time to sit your StepMom down and just tell her that you will NOT be having 2 separate parties for the boys. You understand quite well her feelings but when it comes to YOUR CHILDREN/HER GRANDCHILDREN (yes remind her of that) You will NOT cause additional stress to yourself or them. Just remind her that this event (and ALL FUTURE EVENTS for these boys) is NOT ABOUT HER OR YOUR BIOMOM, it is ABOUT THE BOYS!!! Remind her to that you LOVE her and the boys LOVE her but this day is about them not her!!! Tell her she is more than welcome BUT if she CHOOSES not to come then she will be missed!!!

My parents divorced (not a nice one) when I was a bit older but when I had my 1st child (the 1st grandchild) I told them and ALL members of the families (all sides) that this was about my daughter and they will all act like adults and behave or else!!! The or else was they would be asked to leave!!! It worked and the rules are the same...I will NOT have separate events for my children and if the adults can't act like adults for a few hours then that is THEIR CHOICE to NOT ATTEND.

Remember now YOU are the MOM and YOU are INCHARGE. Sorry but your Stepmom is trying to manipulate you and control this situation and unless you nip it in the bud now it will always be a problem.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Huntsville on

you birth mom lives 8 hours away, How about you surprize her and take the party to her.The party will be a little easier for the boys and you and step mom. and your birth mom gets the special treatment of having you all to herself.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

No. It's not fair for you to have to plan two events because two grown adults can't resolve their differences. The focus should be on your sons, not them. Offer both warm invitations to attend and leave it up to them whether to attend. It's your stepmom's loss if she doesn't.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tulsa on

Just taking a moment to answer this and haven't read any responses so sorry if it's repetative. It's an 8 hour drive? I would go to visit your biological mom and have a small party there. You are setting the mood for every birthday party (insert the name of anything partyish here) in the future.



answers from Nashville on

I agree with everyone that said you should absolutely not have two parties. It is not about the grandmothers, it's about the children. Why should there be 2 parties when they won't even remember one? And looking back at pictures, what do you say- "we had 2 parties because the grownups couldn't act like grownups?"

This year when your sons are too little to remember anything or even be aware of drama is the perfect opportunity for the moms to practice their good behavior. Are you going to try to keep them separate for everything, for your sons' whole life? You can't have 2 kindergarten graduations, or state championship games, or high school graduations. At some point they are going to need to learn to get along. Better now than later when your sons will know what is going on.

I totally understand hating being stuck in the middle of family drama. But I don't think allowing them to continue with the family drama is a good way to get yourself out of it. As long as you cater to it, it will continue. I wonder if your stepmom would actually not come? I bet she would show up but wants to have her way if possible and is issuing you ultimatums. I personally don't appreciate ultimatums. I hope you would be able to enjoy the party without worrying about them. My son's first bday was a small party, and I still wouldn't have had a chance to worry about little tiffs going on. Now if they are openly arguing and making a scene, everyone will know. And that is when I would put my foot down for next year- any fights and the instigator is not invited next time. Ultimately it is not about disrespecting your stepmom or even your mom, but about THEM (or her) disrespecting YOU. That is great that your mom is willing to try to get along, or have a party at her house, whatever it takes to make it easy for you. Hopefully your stepmom will be willing to move past the nastiness from before and do the same. Maybe you should just tell her "You are ruining this special day for me, please don't hurt me like that." Make her realize how you feel about it, and appeal to the mommy in her. Good luck, let us know what you decide. Don't let them ruin your happy day, whichever way you go.



answers from Yuba City on

I haven't read the other responses, please forgive if it has been said. I and my husband are products of bitterly divorced/remarried parents. That being said, for our wedding, babies' births/parties, whatever, we told each of them that if they could not put aside their feelings for 2 hours and get along amiably with the other side, then by all means, miss the event. We were not going to be upset, it was not our fault they had their issues, and we are entitled to love the other parent, regardless of their feelings.

To our amazement, they all understood our feelings, they all showed up and we had agreed to let them be responsible for their own happiness or poutiness, whatever they chose, we would not be made to feel guilty on our event day. We also demanded of them that they not speak ill of the other or continue to bring up the past. ALL of them respected our wishes. Now, they can all be at the same event and there has not been any issues. But we had to set the boundaries. Now, it doesn't mean one of them didn't pout occasionally, but we refused to give in, and it worked. We were very loving about it by the way, and the attitude was "whatever you decide it is fine with us, but those have to be the rules for us to have our day".

We've worked out different holiday events, but if we are the host house, they all know now that they are all welcome, it is their decision to come. It has worked for us, I really wish you the same blessing we've had in this situation.

On a side note, having this past with our parents, makes us work on our marriage all the more, as we want to avoid this all for our children. And it is not easy, but worth it.

Take care,



answers from Phoenix on

Just skimmed a few of the answers and most seem to be of the mind that one party is all you need to do. Well, they're right, it's all you need to do, but I dont see having 2 parties, esp since your mom & other family is 8 hrs away. Why don't you suggest that she, if she wants to make a party, go ahead and do a party when you come up on X day/weekend (before or after, not the same week as "your" party for your kids). Then if she is set on having a party, she can have one, make one, and you can go and enjoy that side of the family without worrying about conflict (or hosting 2 parties yourself).

Best of luck.



answers from San Francisco on

How about a party with friends and neither grandparent? You are a mother of twin one year old boys, you don't need any more stress in your life! This should be a fun day for your boys and for you.

Then, if your stepmom wants "two separate parties" she can plan another party at her house and if your birth mom wants a party she can do the same, plan it herself and host.

You want to please everyone but it is not going to happen so why not put all your energy into your boys and yourself? After 32 years you earned it!



answers from Redding on

I know exactly how you feel. My two moms don't get along either. Sometimes it feels like having an affair where it is best if one side of the family can't know what the other side is doing. With moms living away from each it may be best to have two parties, one at your house and one when visiting the out of town grandma.



answers from Sacramento on

We have adults here who don't want to act like adults. Your stepmom needs to grow up and try to act like an adult while your birth mom is here. I just don't understand all this... my kids' stepmom and I are friends and we are because of the kids.

I would say have one party... anyone who wants to come, come... if your stepmom doesn't want to be there because your birth mom is, then that is her problem. I would not go out of my way to have two parties. You have enough to do with twins as it is.

Announce that you are having one party, invite everyone and just relax and have a good time.



answers from Kansas City on

Have one party and those who are adults can act like adults and if someone is there whom they don't like, they should learn to turn the other cheek, not throw a hissy fit that you invited them. Sounds to me like like your step mom is still trying to mother you.



answers from San Francisco on

I am late in responding but I would like to put in my two cents.
Dear, if THEY can't be adults and attend for the sake of you and their grandchildren then it is THEIR loss. Make several things clear, BOTH will be invited, BOTH need to mind their manners and if they don't attend it is their issue, NOT yours. Maybe after they have missed one or two functions (be sure and send them pictures) they will grow up and act civil. And if they can't agree to that then they don't have to be invited in the future, period.

Divorce is a horrible thing and usually the people that suffer the most are the children. It is hard sometimes for the adults to see things other than through their own eyes. You know, you should make a copy of your post and send it to both of them....maybe it would give them food for thought about how rotten they have made things for you in the past. And don't have two parties. Good luck. =)



answers from San Francisco on

First, two parties is very expensive and very tiring. I think you should have one party, invite them all and let them decide whether to come or not. Also, let them know that at the first sign that someone is causing a problem, that person will be asked to leave. period. There are members of my grandson's family that I absolutely detest, but when there's a party or celebration for one of the boys, I am still invited and I attend. when it's at their house and the weather is nice, I just stay outside and enjoy the outdoor activities. We manage to put aside our personal feelings and to this day neither of my grandsons have a clue as to how much I detest "those people" as I like to refer to them. So, either they will come and act like adults, or they won't come, or they will come and be asked to leave. It's really up to them.



answers from Miami on

Difficult situation to be in.
Your stepmum should really be thinking of YOU and your boys, not thinking of her own anger towards your birthmum, but obviously your stepmum cannot get away from the anger she feels.
It is not fair for you to still be in the middle of their bitterness, albeit your birthmum wishes to leave the past and make a nicer future, be friends.
Does your stepmum know that your birthmum wants to be friends?
Perhaps (if you haven't already) talk to your stepmum and stress to her that it would make YOUR life easier if she would step down off her anger.
As for the will be horrid if some people came and some didn't but if these issues can't be resolved you are still stuck with this problem.
You could:
1/ do the party and don't invite your birthmum.. would she mind not attending the party and just make do with coming another day for a special day with you and the boys?
2/ do the party, invite your birthmum and if your stepmum doesn't come that's her problem.
3/ do the party and insist everyone comes and behaves themselves like adults for your sake and the're fed up of being 'in the middle'.
4/ just do 2 parties and hope things improve by the time their 2nd birthday arrives!
I don't know if this has helped, I'm sure you've thought about all the angles.
Good luck.. let us know how it all goes and what you did.
Sometimes 'other people' ruin things for you.. you have to be blunt and tell them the score.. you don't need bad feeling and animosity in your life, surely you've had enuf of that over the years, bout time these people came down to earth and did what's right for YOU ;-)


answers from Sacramento on

Hi A., I see that you already have many responses and this might have been said as well. Because there is distance in my family as well, all of our extended family is out of state I can relate to this question a bit differently. 8 hours is a long drive to come for a birthday party, anyway. Maybe one weekend you can take your boys to the city that your mom lives in. Any family in that area can come and celebrate with a simple get together. Pizza, a picnic or something similar or even just a cake after dinner one night. It would allow a few people who wouldn't otherwise be able to come to the party, to celebrate with your boys. Families can be a real pain in the neck, and it's not fair when you're always stuck in the middle.
My siblings birthdays are both in the summer months and if we happened to be visiting our out of state relatives during the summer, we had a birthday parties so that the aunts and uncles and cousins could come (it was a real treat to have 2 birthday parties). We also had our normal party with friends once we got home.



answers from San Francisco on

Hi, I am a fellow twin mom so congratulations are due! The second year is much easier than the first. ;o)

I was listening to a radio call-in show the other day and the caller had a similar problem. The advice was that this was a problem that the birth mom had to fix, not you. Here is the gist of the recommended solution:

Your birth mom would now like to have a healthy relationship with you and your children. I assume that you believe that this would now be a good thing for your children according to you, right? You trust her to behave well and be a nurturing grandmother. If so, then you should tell her you are very supportive of that. However, before you can include her in your family's life, she needs to call or sit down with your stepmother and apologize for how she behaved in the past -- sincerely apologize because she caused a lot of hurt and damage. Once she does this (sincerely, not a "I'm sorry if you feel bad but you were rude too" kind of apology), your stepmother should accept the apology and everyone should move forward because having loving nurturing grandparents (step or birth) is in the best interests of your children.

I would not do two parties because that caters to the bad behavior of the adults. Just tell them one party and the apology solution has to happen. If birth mom doesn't apologize, she doesn't come. If stepmom doesn't accept a real apology then maybe she shouldn't come.

Good luck!

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions