Jeena Wilder, who goes by the username @heytherewilders on TikTok, discussed how her family handles birthday party invites in a video posted last month, in which she explained that she brings all of her children because her husband “works a lot” and “most days it’s just me and the kids”.
“POV [point of view]: When you invite one of my children to a birthday party,” Wilder wrote on the first caption of the video, with the clip showing her holding up a fake birthday invite. “You invite one child, you get all of us.”
The mother-of-five then filmed herself dancing away from the camera as she was followed by her children, who range in age from nine years to four months, before her husband, holding the couple’s youngest child, completed the dance.
“Don’t worry, we bring awesome gifts,” Wilder concluded the clip. In the caption, she wrote: “Are you team just the invited child goes or team the whole family? My husband works a lot and most days it’s just me and the kids!”
Wilder then acknowledged that she doesn’t bring her entire family without notice, as she added: “I always RSVP or ask the parents first.”
The clip, which has been viewed more than 735,000 times, has sparked a debate in the comments, where some viewers have been understanding and supportive of Wilder’s choice, while the majority of others have accused her of being disrespectful and inconsiderate of those hosting the parties.
“I would never do this. If someone only wants one of your kids at the party, you have to respect their decision,” one person commented, while another described the scenario as “bad party etiquette”.
Others criticised Wilder’s behaviour on the basis that it may put a financial burden on the families hosting the party, with someone else writing: “Imagine being a single parent on a budget and this happens, I’d be so embarrassed and upset.”
“I’d be so mad if I was the host to be honest,” another person said. “Like I’m sorry, but I can’t afford to feed your whole family and I don’t care if you ask first.”
Wilder’s video also sparked backlash from viewers who felt that the way the family responds to birthday party invites is unfair to their individual children, as one person claimed that “each child deserves their own individual experiences without siblings”.
“As the girl whose parents always made me bring my brother along, the siblings deserve to have their own unique experiences,” someone else wrote.
However, there were some who defended Wilder, with one viewer revealing that she doesn’t “see a problem,” as she noted that the mother-of-five asks the party hosts before bringing her entire family and has “stated she’d financially cover costs”.
Another viewer agreed, adding: “The more the merrier at our parties!”
According to Parenting.com, birthday party etiquette for children typically dictates that an invitation does not mean an invite for all, with the outlet noting that “that’s why you RSVP - to clear up ambiguities”.
“In some communities, there’s an unspoken understanding that moms of young kids (under dropoff age) may have to bring the infant sister. But the toddler twin brothers? That’s pushing it. Find out what the host has in mind and then respect those limitations,” the outlet adds.
However, Parenting.com also notes that hosts should be specific as possible on invitations to avoid this situation if they are unable to handle more guests. “If you’re giving the party, be as specific as possible on your invitations. If space is an issue, it’s absolutely fine to write ‘invitee and one parent only.’ Clear instructions like this are never rude,” the website states.
The Independent has contacted Wilder for comment.
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