Party Time…Or Not

I have two toddlers, under 5, and I also have a very large family on my husband’s side to include brothers and sisters, their spouses, their parents, our parents, his grandparents, their grandparents, and COUNTLESS cousins!  Those are so many!  The problem is that every month there is some kind of party, birthdays mostly, and celebrations (graduations), milestones (she’s 100!), and every single holiday to include the ones from Mexico because our family hails from Chihuahua and different parts of Mexico.  A lot of these parties are for the cousins and the cousins are different ages, my two being the youngest, all the way to 50 years old.  We get invited to every single one of them.  In one month, there could be as many as 10 or 12 invitations.  I don’t think that my two children should be exposed to most of them because, for example, the teenage parties are exactly that, teen parties, not for the smaller cousins, or for the older ones sometimes for that matter (although they might find it amusing to be there).  Teens hang out with teens and use their language, their music, their friends, etc. even if it is family.  The core of this problem is not really that we get invited, but that my husband thinks we should attend every single one of them no matter what because “it’s family” and we got invited and we shouldn’t snub them.  When I decline, it causes a rift between us.  I have tried to make him understand that a lot of the parties are not appropriate for our children and if the party was just the immediate family, then I wouldn’t have such a problem with it.  He forgets that they are only 2 and 4 and they get tired easily, and what’s worse, he goes off and joins the party while I am left to care for them on my own, watch that they don’t get a hold of alcohol or wander off with someone, or anything else that might occur.  I’m tired of these events and I hate the backlash when I politely decline, even with the honest explanation (which I don’t see why I have to give really).  There is this party tonight actually that I grudgingly relented to go to for only two hours because first, it is raining hard and they live on the other side of town.  Second, it still gets dark at 5:30 pm.  Third, this party for the 11-year old cousin, starts at 8 pm.  My children go to sleep at that hour.  Finally, they are going to be cranky because they are going to be sleepy and I will be the one insisting to go home, making me look like the bad guy.  I have already talked to my husband about this particular night for the past three days and he grudgingly agreed to stay for two hours, starting at six (I mean, why wait until 8?  They must understand that the babies are so young, right?), and leave just after we greet everyone else arrives (I do like the in-laws…sometimes) so that our children can go to bed.  I have to pick and choose my battles and it takes a toll on me every month.  I find myself looking for reasons not to go just because a lot of these parties are simply not appropriate.  A relative of this 11-year old is nearly my age and she likes to party hard and sometimes hard liquor magically appears at the birthday table.  Hmmmm…….

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