The Kid Party That Made Me Feel Like An Outsider

My girlfriend looks at me as I’m getting ready for a birthday party.

Friend: Are you wearing those pants?

Me: What’s wrong with my pants?

Friend: They have holes in them.

Me: Yes, and . . .

Friend: They’re not dressy enough for the party.

Me: We’re just going to an indoor bounce house. I don’t need to wear anything fancy.

I didn’t think my fashion sense was that unusual. I live in my holey jeans, t-shirts, and flip flops. If I’m feeling really daring, I’ll throw on some leggings and my fifteen year old cowboy boots. I switch things up to see if I can still catch my husband’s eye. But mostly I do it because my jeans are being washed.

As for the 5th birthday bash, my friend was spot on. I was way under dressed for the party. When we arrived, I realized just how ‘off’ my outfit was. In a room filled with dozens of grown ups, I was the only mom wearing flip flops and ripped jeans. Every other mom was dressed to the nines. Strappy wedges, silk-blended shorts, halter tops, and cleavage. Lots of cleavage.

Feeling like a misfit at parties is nothing new. I often feel anxious at social gatherings and would rather have the earth swallow me whole than engage in superficial conversation. To escape my emotional paralysis, I wandered over to a group of children.

They saved me.

Little kids have that effect on me. Little kids don’t care what you’re wearing, what you believe, or where you come from. There’s a special kind of grace in their hearts. The only thing they were interested in was my favorite ice cream flavor. Next party, I’ll be heading straight for the kids’ table.

The kids didn't even notice my ragged jeans.
The kids didn’t even notice my ragged jeans.

Have you ever felt like an outsider at a social gathering?

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46 thoughts on “The Kid Party That Made Me Feel Like An Outsider

    1. Anita, my girl, I’ve missed you and your beautiful face!! I think about you often. If you and I were sitting at the same table, we wouldn’t get up for hours. We’d also probably go through several bottles of wine.

      BIG HUGS to you!!

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    1. Ha! I never linked my own discomfort to other people’s “issues.” Thanks for that, Colleen. Suddenly I don’t feel so awkward. Hope your Monday is off to a good start!

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      1. It was a good Monday Anka. Glad you let go of some of that awkwardness that they imposed. Criminy, can you imagine how uncomfortable you would have been trying to play with the kids wearing some of those outfits? And wasn’t kid play the point of it. ๐Ÿ™‚

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      2. The women sporting heels definitely missed out on fun. They were nowhere near their kids. The husbands were the ones jumping with their children.

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  1. YES all the time….normally I’m the one who finds the owners pets and starts loving on them because they don’t judge. They don’t care if your handbag is designer or from Target, they could careless if you gained a pound or two or TEN!!

    My husband is the social chatterbox and at times will prep me before hand “go make some friends, talk to people” he’ll say. I’m more of an observer than a chatter plus I have nothing in common with most of the woman at the parties we attend. Many of whom are talking diapers, daycare and school functions, I was done with that a long time ago; my kids are 18-23.

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    1. Jolene, I’m more of an observer, too. My husband is the face and the voice when we go out as a couple. He’s charming, witty, the list goes on and on. Then, there’s me–the QUIET wife that prefers not to have a visible presence.
      So yeah, for women like us, little kids and pets are the best distraction from superficial nonsense.

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  2. I’m with ya!! Kids are honest but accepting!!
    There’s a part of me, now that I’m such a mature 30-something ;-)… that dressed down on purpose just to let other mamas (especially the younger ones) know it’s okay to be comfy… cute can be done in a comfy, low key manner!!
    Plus, aren’t we here to celebrate a child’s birthday??

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    1. I like how you lead by example for the young moms! I have the same philosophy as I approach forty–LESS IS MORE. There’s sexiness in trying not to be so sexy, right?
      On a side note: super creative illustration on your gravatar!

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  3. Whilst Iโ€™m not going to knock cleavage… sigh… I imagine a bounce house to be an energetic run-around sort of place and not a party to dress up for. So you look fine to me. Although saying that I have been (dropping off) to a couple of my similarly-aged goddaughterโ€™s friendโ€™s birthday parties in posh Cheshire and there does seem to be a lot of competition and one-upmanship. That doesnโ€™t mean you have to join in though.

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    1. No reason to knock cleavage. It was just too much exposed flesh for a kid’s party. Then again, I’m pretty conservative when it comes to clothing selection.
      And yes, the one-upping thing seems to be trending in my part of the world, too. It feels like high school all over again!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. LOL! Story of my life! I was just telling my husband how I felt like I stood out at my first Parent Teacher group meeting at the kids’ new school. I spend most of my time in sneakers or flip flops, and it’s been my oldest pair of sneakers since the doctor gave me permission to wear a shoe on my fractured foot. Oh well, the older I get the more I feel that if people are going to judge me based on my outfit then they’re not the kind of people I want to spend much time with…lol.

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    1. Oh Leah, let’s just add it to the list! One more thing we have in common. By the way, I hope your foot heals quickly.
      As for aging and judging, I couldn’t agree more. The older I get the less I care about what others think. It’s a process, but I’m learning to let go.
      And for the record, I would never want to go back to my twenties. That’s when my insecurities were at their peak!

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  5. Some kid parties stress me out…especially Halloween. Urgh! I want my kids to see their friends but it’s sure a stressful situation sometimes. Dress up/dress down…meh…go with what you want to feel good in I say. I’m sure those wedges hurt their feet and they just wanted to be in comfortable clothing like you.

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    1. Parties are super stressful, Anna. Halloween is big source of contention for me. Every year my kids beg me to dress up and I have yet to indulge them. This year I’m going to take the plunge and let them pick a costume for me. As long as it includes wearing a pair of flip flops!!

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  6. Your post made me realize how easy I have it ๐Ÿ™‚ You should come to Colorado, or Maine for that matter…. you’d fit right in in your casual clothes. But the whole social thing is still an issue no matter where you go, I think. Kids are great because they don’t judge or gossip, and they’ll say exactly what they think to your face rather than behind your back.

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    1. I did select Maine for my 5th grade state report. And I do like plaid flannels so I think I’d fit right in. But the cold weather would do me in. I’m a wimp when it drops below 60 degrees!

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  7. Dressing for attention at a child’s birthday party? Sounds like some insecure women need validation. Kids and dogs are the best judges of people, and if you’re in the club, you’re the best kind of people, mama. Rock those awesome jeans and tees. It’s better to feel good in your own skin than to feel like you have to keep up with the Jones (at a child’s birthday of all places! Shame on them). I’m standing tall in the same momiform right next to you (in spirit). We can’t play with our kids in silk and heels, right?

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  8. Your comment gave me such a HUGE high!!
    It’s refreshing to hear that I’m not the only mom taking risks to be comfortable in her skin. I’m happy that we’re on the same team!!
    And I love what you said, “standing TALL in the momiform.”
    We have no reason to shy away from feeling confident in our jeans and milk stained t-shirts, right?
    Hope you and your beautiful family of four are doing well. Wishing you long stretches of uninterrupted sleep!!

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  9. I’m with Chatter Master here, let go of their issues! And yes, I’ve felt out of place in some parties organized in other countries/cultures but the people always made me feel accepted.

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    1. That’s encouraging to hear, Tiny. This hasn’t always been my experience either. I really think it’s about the community we live in and the tremendous effort people put into appearances. The pressure to keep up is overwhelming at times.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. You kill me. Every. Single. Time.
      And I love when your gravatar shows up in my inbox. The cat’s expression says it all . . . he’s a force to be reckoned with.

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  10. I suppose we all have times we feel left out at a period of time or a particular social setting. I am feel like an outsider when I attend a new social event but I suppose walking out of my shell and talking to people really helps ๐Ÿ™‚ – Lena

    Felinecreatures.com

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    1. I agree about stepping out of your comfort zone. You never know what connections can be made unless you try. For me, on that particular day, the kiddos were a breath of fresh air. Thanks for stopping by, Lena!!

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  11. Ha I’m the exact same – it’s probably why I was geared towards working with children ๐Ÿ™‚
    I’m glad to know I’m not the only one and frankly it sounds like the kids were having a far better time than the adults! ๐Ÿ˜€

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    1. Yep, then you know just how entertaining kids can be! The best thing was watching them smile through their sweat. They would’ve bounced until the early a.m. if the venue stay opened that late.
      Thanks for contributing to the conversation!

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  12. I think it’s the outsider feelings and experiences that makes for writers, artists, etc. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’d have breathed a sigh of relief when I saw your jeans, and made a beeline right to you.

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    1. I love when you stop by! You always sprinkle my day with great insight. Like the connection between “outsider feelings” and writers.
      Maybe it’s these nagging insecurities that drive us to satisfy our creative needs. That, or we just have a low threshold for superficiality.
      Hope all is going well with your move!!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. My God, I’ve been to this party. Sometimes, I think a kid’s party is a parent’s only chance to dress up. Or, maybe they are trying to one-up their co-moms. It’s all silly. I’m with you. I have more real conversation with the kiddos. I see a lot of silicone as well.

    P.S. Anka, I LIKE this post. My computer isn’t loading the likes right now. Sorry about that!

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    1. Yeah, the one-upping phenomenon is trending like crazy. I stopped trying to keep up with these ladies. A bag, a pair of shoes, a lavish party–these things do not define a person.
      Hope you worked out the kinks in your computer my dear!

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  14. Oh I’m so with you. I would rather poke my own eyes out than go to a social event sometimes. (And sometimes that includes attending holidays with my in-laws!)

    As for this ‘need to dress up when you are going to a kids event.’ I just don’t get it. But then I also don’t get drinking alcohol at a kids party either. I think you were dressed very appropriately for a kids party. Halter tops and silicon….ridiculous!

    P.S. Can I get a pair of those jeans????

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    1. Ouch! I forgot about holidays with the in-laws. Well, I don’t condone drinking alcohol at a kid’s party either, but when it’s Thanksgiving with the entire family, the vino is a flowing.

      As for the jeans, I found them at an outlet store. Nothing discounted about the price, though. I bet you’ve got something similar in your own closet.

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  15. Pity the little girl though who dresses you up and down with her eyes………..yea, they are rare, but just look to mom for all the ‘inspiration.’ Apple and tree kind of thing

    Two cents and you get some change ๐Ÿ˜‰

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    1. I get to keep the change? THANK YOU, Colorstorm! I love when bits of wisdom are thrown my way. I’ll be sure to tuck away your eloquent and encouraging words.

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