Toddlers at an Evening Adult Graduation Party

Updated on June 09, 2010
T.K. asks from Moorestown, NJ
18 answers

Hi Moms!

Here is my dilemma; my inlaws live two hours away and my sister in law is having a party for her son who is graduating from High school. It is at a fancy place (where she got married in fact) and is from 6-10 at night. There will be approx 100 people there. I have two daughters, 2 1/2 and 4 who usually go to bed at 8. My husband is considering going by himself and I have no problem with that. Our shared view is that someone may as well have fun because if we both go neither one of us will. We will be chasing the kids all over, trying to keep them from touching the Hors d'œuvre tables, and making sure no one (esp those drinking) steps or trips on them! His other sister who has 4 kids, 1, 6,8,and 10 is either leaving her 1 year old with her inlaws for the night, or bringing her inlaws (they are local and were invited) along with their babysitter. As far as I know there will be no other children there. My thinking is that this is not a party for kids. If it was a family party at a house or something or during the day of course I wouldn't miss it. She is making us feel bad for not bringing the kids but she won't be able to help (understandable, she is the host) and he has a small family so there isn't anyone else to help us. We also aren't able to leave the kids with anyone in my family overnight here and the two of us just attend. My sister offered, but than realized she had another commitment. What would you do?

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answers from Fort Wayne on

I totally agree with Suz T. I would bet that the sitter has a friend that would want to make a little extra money.

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answers from Chicago on

If it was me I would get a hotel room close to where the party is. bring along a teenage sitter. have the kids at the party for a bit then take them to the hotel and settle them in with a movie and the sitter. then go back and enjoy yourselves. keep in mind also. that just becuase the party is set up from 6-10 doesn't mean you have to stay that long. most grad parties are set up sort of like open houses. people pop in and out. not many people stay for the whole time. I doubt if anyone would be offended if you brought the kids and stayed an hour or 2 and then left. also you can always bring a bag full of stuff to keep them busy. we keep a bag in the car for the grandkids that has crayons, markers, puzzles and a video with a portable dvd player they will sit for hours watching that tiny 9 inch screen whenever we allow it. (usually only in restaurants)

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answers from Seattle on

Here is what we would do: get a hotel room for the night. Attend the party with your children and let the host know that you will be leaving early, when the girls need to rest. When they get cranky and tired, retire to your room (while hubby stays) - but in the meanwhile you have honored your niece by attending her party.

One the other hand, if that is not in your budget or otherwise not possible I also don't think there is anything wrong with just hubby going. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Since your sister-in-law is bringing a sitter to help watch her 4, I would ask her sitter if she had a friend that could also come that you'd pay to help with your 2. Then the 6 cousins could have a little party in the corner away from the food.

If that won't work. I agree with your idea of staying home and sending just hubby since its his side of the family.


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answers from Atlanta on

Just tell her that one of you can come, but your kids are too small to bring to that type of event. Make it clear to her that she probably wouldn't be very happy with your kids about 2 hours into it when they were exhausted, whining and whipped into a frenzy like they get right before a huge meltdown ;-) I have a 19m old and a 4 year old -and no way would I go and be miserable with them! She can only make you feel bad if you let her! Just brush it off.

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answers from Jacksonville on

I don't see anything wrong with your decision (if you do decide that way) to have one of you stay home with the kids. 2.5 and 4 is very young for a 4 hour roundtrip, only to be made to "behave" past their bedtime. Just be sure that your sister-in-law knows that you would have loved to have been there to congratulate her son along with your husband, but felt that this was the best scenario given you didn't have someone to keep the kids for you at home. No hard feelings. If it were local, I would agree with making a brief appearance, and then one of you leaving with the kids, but given that it is 4 hours roundtrip... that doesn't seem very practical. And I have had 2 little ones in a hotel... and it is not fun. They don't always go right to sleep and YOU can't do anything... It's a LOT of work. And since you'll miss the majority of the party anyway.. I don't see why you wouldn't just stay at home.

just my opinion.

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answers from Washington DC on

i love the idea of a nearby hotel. the kids will think it's fun, and that way they can have the 'treat' of a grown-up party, but one of you can take them to the hotel when they start to get tired or cranky. it'll be a nice break for everyone!
otherwise, your husband going alone is perfectly acceptable. your sister-in-law is probably not trying to make you feel bad, but simply trying to emphasize how much she'd like to have you all there. but she will be too busy running the party to worry about it, so you shouldn't either.
:) khairete

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answers from Albany on

I really like the hotel room idea if you can afford it, then you can bail with the kids and your husband can stay as long as he likes, or the other way around. Be like a little mini vacation, little kids LOVE the hotel room!

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answers from Harrisburg on

Tell your SIL that she has a choice. It'll be living hell chasing the children around and YOU NOR YOUR HUSBAND will be able to enjoy yourselves (pass the guilt right back!) or your husband goes alone. Put it back in her lap and let her decide, and guilt her good! If she still says you should all go, then go. And make no apologies when the kids are all over. Just remind her throuh out the night that she made a WONDERFUL choice having the children come, lol.

K. B
mom to 5 including triplets
events and chat within 2 hour radius

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answers from Austin on

I would just send him alone. It sounds like a big old P.I.T.A. otherwise. Send a nice gift and ask to be sent pictures. Then stay home, order pizza and have a glass of wine.

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answers from Dallas on

I attended a wedding when my daughter was 3. My girl was one of several youngsters invited and there was a play area set up for them with a playdough table and other entertainment. I thought it was a great idea. The kids basically played there or ran over to the Hord'oevuvre tables which they were welcomed to do. Do you know a preteen who could tag-along as your sitter or chip-in on the other family's sitter? Maybe you could arrange a similiar set-up with your SIL so the children are provided with entertainment of their own.

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answers from Boston on

It sounds like you've thought of everything you can to make it work. It doesn't seem worth it to bring the kids, its a long car ride, a fancy party, and a late night, all of which make for some cranky kids. Just send your husband and don't think twice about it. If your SIL really wants them there she should have it earlier in the day or something. If you don't have a babysitter then you don't have a babysitter, not much you can do. I have the same problem with my 2 small kids, I have to skip a lot of things like BBQ's that start in the evening or things far away. Sometimes its just not worth it.

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answers from Philadelphia on

If you are close with your in-laws I have an idea not yet suggested. Ask her if she would mind you coming to her house early. Leave during your 2 1/2 year old's nap time (if still taking one) and stay at her house during the afternoon. If you're lucky it will be nice and the kids can play outside. Then get them ready and take them to the party at 6. Get them in their pjs at 7:45 and leave at 8. That way they can fall asleep in the car and you can transfer them to bed (hopefully they transfer without difficulty). This way you still attend the party but will only be "running after them" for 2 hours, yet you will still get a good visit in with your in-laws. And other than aggravation, it will only cost you gas money. If you're not close with your in-laws than avoid all aggravation and send your husband alone. Doing what's best for your family as a whole is more important than making your SIL temporarily happy.



answers from Philadelphia on

We have been invited to weddings, graduation parties, birthday parties, etc., over the years that were basically adult only. We always went and we always paid for a babysitter, either to come with us, or to stay at our home, or to meet us at the destination (such as a sitter that the people having the wedding secured for us). There were many extended family functions where we did this, having a sitter not known to us, but known to the people having the party. Sometimes the sitter would be at someone's home (such as the family having the party, or another relative's home) and sometimes they would come to the hotel. (I would assume your husband, with or without you, is not planning to drive there and back, 4 hours round trip, the same night as the party.)

Good luck!



answers from Philadelphia on

Hi there,
I read most of the responses and couldn't help adding my 2 cents. I can't stand when people try to make others feel guilty for decisions involving what's best for their families/kids in situations like this. I have a 2 1/2 year old and can guarantee that this would not be somewhere I'd enjoy taking him either. And this is a graduation party. I mean it's imnportant and all,'s just a graduation party. I honestly think they should be happy that your husband is planning to make the trek 2 hours to attend even though you have to stay alone with the kids. And if there will be 100 people there, will you and the kids really be missed that much by the host or especially the kid who the party is for? I mean, why is it this big fancy adult drinking party anyway when it's for a high school kid? That's just my opinion. If the situation were reversed, would you be upset if for some reason your sister-in-law and their kids couldn't attend a function for one of your kids? If not, do what you feel most comfortable doing, and she'll get over it. I mean, really, unless you really wanted to and were going to get enjoyment out of it, I don't see why you should feel obligated to pay for a hotel room, babysitter, or anything else when at least one of you already has to travel 2 hours and take a gift. I don't mean to sound mean-spirited or ungenerous, but I think sometimes too much of a fuss is made about such parties and celebrations, and as I said, I hate when people try to guilt others into things. Just my opinion...


answers from Allentown on

Hi, T.:

Did you say that your husband's other sister is having a babysitter at the

Ask her if the babysitter could help look after your 2. Offer to pay something for the work.

Good luck. D.


answers from Williamsport on

If she REALLY wants you to bring the kids, bring the kids. You can survive one night of having your hands full and getting exhausted if it's important to her an you want to be supportive. I recently had to bring 3 kids under four with me ALONE to a wedding, a reception, two parties in homes all back to back including a drive with hotel stay to and from. Luckily the kids are well disciplined, but yes, I was exhausted. But you have to do it sometimes. You'll have hubby there and your own fun isn't the entire point. However, if you think she really secretly doesn't mind and won't be affected if you don't show, then stay home. Gage truthfully how important it is to her.



answers from Philadelphia on

Why don't you bring a babysitter with you? When my son was only 6 months old, I was still breastfeeding and I had a wedding of a very good friend and it was about 2 hours away. I brought my younger babysitter, paid for a room for her and she watched the baby while we went to the wedding. It worked better than leaving her at home with him, b/c I had to feed her and we stayed in the hotel where the wedding was so it was very convenient. Plus alot of my friends then got to see the baby. It may be a way for you to go to the party and also the next day or earlier, have your family get to see your kids.

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