Should I invite my daughter's father to her first birthday party?

Arin - posted on 07/10/2012 ( 6 moms have responded )




My daughter will be 1 year old soon and I'm a on the fence about whether or not I should invite her father. It is probably just going to be a small family dinner most likely consisting of only my family. He has not visited our daughter in over 7 months and I haven't had any contact from him in about 3 months. I have repeatedly sent emails and messages asking him if he would like to set up some kind of visitation without any response and he has not given me one cent to help support her. Oh and did I mention that my entire family despises him? Aside from making my family uncomfortable, I really don't want to see him either. I'm afraid that my anger towards him will spew forth from me like a volcano and I will be powerless to control hateful words that I would inevitably regret saying. I guess I'm just looking for some perspective... I know that even if I invite him that he will most likely not show up given his track record. But then I think of my little girl and all that she is going to miss out on by not having a father that is active in her life, and I think that if I can do anything to perhaps change that then I should at least give it a shot. But then again, she doesn't even reminder him at this point and doesn't know that she is missing out on anything and I'm not sure that she actually is. Her grandpa (my father) is very active in her life as well as my two brothers so she does have three great male role models. Her father on the other hand is undependable and I fear that bringing him into her life will only cause her heartache. He has a son from a previous marriage that he has only seen once in 3 years and rarely even calls. I'm just really confused as to what would be the best thing to do for my daughter. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.


Dove - posted on 07/10/2012




I probably would not invite him to the party. He knows when her birthday is, right? You've tried to contact him several times with no response already, so I would probably just let it be. If he DOES contact you prior to the party you could choose to mention it at that time.

Krista - posted on 07/10/2012




At this stage of the game, I don't know if I'd bother. She's not going to remember that her father was at her first birthday party. It'll only start mattering to her when she's old enough to actually notice these things.

You might drop him a note and just let him know when the party is, and just say, "If you wanted to drop by and wish her a happy birthday, that would be really nice." And then leave it in his court. That way, he can't accuse you of not telling him about it.

Honestly, though, from the sounds of things, he's going to be missing all of her birthdays. And there's really nothing you can do to change his behaviour. All you can control is how you handle it. And I think that treating him as more of a distant uncle (it'd be nice to have him there, but you're really not getting your hopes up), is probably the healthiest option for you and for her. My mom made herself really angry and bitter always trying to get my dad to step up to the plate more. He was present for some stuff, but absent for a lot. And I was okay with it -- it was what it was. But what bothered me MORE was the constant fighting between them when Mom would try to get him to be more involved. If she grows up with an absent dad as her "norm", but with other strong male figures, she'll be just fine.

Alisha - posted on 07/10/2012




Hmmm that's tough. Only you know if you want to invite him there or not. If you don't, then you won't have to worry if he's going to show up or not. If you do, then at least you will have let him know his daughter is turning 1 year old and to remind him he has a daughter. I honestly wouldn't expect much the way it sounds. You know, I think you should at some point, not necessicarily for her 1st birthday, but at some point give him a short and sweet heartfelt message of how he is losing with his actions. Tell him that you would like to allow time for him to see her but that you are no longer going to ask him if he wants to see her. He will have to set up visitation with you because he needs to make that conscious effort to be a dad. If he is not interested, then you will know. Just be emotionally prepared for what his response will be. I think as moms, of course we want the best dad ever for our children, even if he has proven to be less than adequate. My daughter's dad sees her every other weekend and barely calls aside from that. But there's only so much you can do and he is going to have to make the choice to be involved. Don't force it, because there's nothing worse than a child going to visit a father that doesn't want to see them. My last thing I wanted to tell you is allow yourself time to grieve over the loss of your daughter's family you wanted for her. I know this is something people usually don't talk about, but it takes time for you to heal from that loss. It can be like a death in the family and you don't even realize it. I think a lot of it can turn into anger and resentment quickly because he is choosing this. But it's ok to be sad about it and to talk to people about how you feel. Sounds like your daughter has plenty of loving people to care for her!!


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Arin - posted on 07/12/2012




Thank you all for your advice and kind words. This has really helped me to get a better idea of what I want to do. Krista, I wanted to thank you in particular for your comment. It really helped to hear from someone who has had a similar situation with your own father. I am working on letting go of my anger toward my daughter's father because I know that hate only hurts the person that harbors it. I don't want to be bitter or resentful and I think that I have to realize that there is nothing I can do to make him have a relationship with her. Alisha, I think you hit the nail on the head when you talked about grieving the loss of the family that I wanted for my daughter. I still cry most weeks about how she will never have a relationship with her father like I have with mine. I'm still debating on whether or not to go out of my way to get in touch with him or to wait it out and see if he makes any attempt to contact/see her on her birthday.

Louise - posted on 07/11/2012




I think he has a right to be invited but I doubt if he would come. He knows how your family feels about him and he is not going to want to be the one who starts a fight. If you have invited him then you have done nothing wrong have you.

Alexis - posted on 07/11/2012




Its up to him to be active in his little girls life. If he decides to not be a part of it, its better he decides that early before your little girl notices that daddy isn't around anymore. I would say have him approach you on the subject of her birthday. If he wants to be there, then let him, but I wouldn't go out of my way to have him there.

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