Father must try a little harder to be in the loop
Dear Abby: “Modern Dad in Roswell, Ga.” (Feb. 26) was put off that invitations to his young daughters are sent to his ex-wife’s home rather than to both his and the ex-wife’s. He assumes the sender is “sexist” and suggests the solution for children with two households is to be sent two invitations.
As a parent who invites children to my home or to a party, I don’t feel I should be responsible for their parents’ communication difficulty. Often I am not even aware that a child has two households. The invitation simply goes home with the child to wherever he or she is that day.
Personally, I think “Modern Dad” is overly sensitive. He needs to realize that no one is deliberately snubbing him or making assumptions about parental roles. They are just inviting his kids to things, for which he should be grateful. Did he share his address with the inviter? Does he make his preference clear to parents when meeting them?
I believe it’s presumptuous to expect someone to send two invitations to the same child. And I agree with you, Abby, that “Dad” needs to improve communication with his ex-wife so he no longer feels he is being prevented from being an “active parent.”
– Regular Mom
Dear Regular Mom: A majority of readers agreed that more sharing of information between the girls’ mother and “Dad” will solve his problem. Other parents’ comments:
Dear Abby: Friends, acquaintances and professionals should not have to go out of their way to cover all the bases. Given the number of divorced, remarried and otherwise situated families, more than a single contact point becomes burdensome for those trying to complete business or issue simple invitations.
My guess is, even though the girls stay with Dad, he doesn’t have relationships with most of their friends’ parents. Unless he cultivates these connections (with the mothers, most likely), it is improbable that he will be added to the contact list.
– Challenged, Too, in Severna Park, Md.
Dear Abby: Our solution to this problem was to use an online computer calendar for the kids’ events. That way, regardless of which parent gets the invite, it can be posted on the calendar with the appropriate details. (Privacy settings can be set so the calendar is not viewable to the general public.)
– Florida Father
Dear Abby: I know from organizing school activities that often only one parent supplies an email address to the school, and it’s usually the mom. If “Modern Dad’s” ex-wife would cooperate by sending him a list of email addresses of those most likely to issue invites, he could send out a polite message sharing his contact information with those other parents. Also, if he reaches out to help arrange carpools or organize social outings – which is usually a “mom” job – he’ll become an added member of “the group.”
– Non-Sexist Mom
Dear Abby: My son’s school sends out a parent directory that includes both my and my ex-husband’s email addresses. I receive a lot of information, including invitations by email, and always see my ex’s address included on everything as well. Not having to remind him about parties and school events has taken a huge load off my shoulders. Maybe “Dad” can suggest his daughters’ school start a parental email list and make sure his information stays updated.
– Involved Texas Mama
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.