Should an Out-of-the-Picture Parent Split the Birthday Party Fee?Christine Coppa
JD’s karate kid birthday party is this weekend. I paid for the last parties alone, so this time I emailed his father who pays child support that covers basic needs and asked him to chip in. He’s never sent a birthday or holiday gift (no one in his fam has either, tsk!). He doesn’t contribute to JD’s 529 college plan. So in addition to my contribution of basic need support, I handle all of the fun stuff on my own and it’s expensive, but worth it. I thought since 5 is a milestone birthday, the father would help out a tad.
I told him I’d cover the favors, balloons, pizza, cupcake cake, snacks, extras and wanted him to split the location fee with me. Basically I was asking for $150. He said no. Said the entire thing was excess and inappropriate. This pissed me off. I think it was inappropriate to leave me in the snow when I was pregnant with his child. I think his lavish proposal to his wife that included a surprise trip out of Indiana to an exclusive city and diamond ring was … NOT excess. It was special and beautiful. It was what you do for people you love and care about.
I read the proposal story online and it was truly magical. He probably saved up for it. He planned for it. He made it work. And I’ll make JD’s party work. Whatever, it’s already paid for and since I’m a blogger, Lego kindly donated Ninjago spinners for the goody bags in addition to the stuff I bought.
My problem here is more about what child support should cover—and food, day care, clothes, health insurance— you know the basics that keep us alive are crap and I’ve decided to write a letter to my congressman expressing this. In short, there needs to be a fun fee. Being a parent isn’t just about making a balanced meal and bringing your child to work-related day care. It’s about…Mini golf, the beach, the zoo, the museum, the carnival (see above photo), sports, karate class, movies. It’s about fun stuff that costs money. And trust me, we do plenty of free fun things too: Park, PetCo, hiking, volunteer work, freeloading at Uncle Carlo’s beach condo, but still a parent should financially contribute to the magic of childhood and sometimes that includes a karate birthday party—or a freaking birthday gift!! My son is NOT spoiled, but my son is blessed. We lead a very active, healthy, busy lifestyle. It’s not excess or extreme, it’s normal. A birthday party is normal. Zoo admission is normal. Ice cream after dinner is normal. I didn’t ask the father to split a trip to Paris with me so JD could tour the city and eat steak frites.
What burns the most is that I know JD’s half-brother is having his fun and God bless him, he should. But his father should help pay for his first son’s fun too. Regardless, fun we will have. I’ll work more. I’ll make it happen. Mom’s got this, kiddo. Always have, always will. Let’s kick it at the karate party!
Do you think both parents should pay for the fun part of parenting?