Why are coed birthday slumber parties for teens now "OK"?

Me, the "uncool" mom

I admit, I'm the uncool mom. And it's not because I shop for jeans at the wrong stores. According to my middle school daughter, recently I officially earned the title of the "World's Worst Mom" because I put my foot down and said NO to a party invite. 

I almost avoided the issue altogether and that part kind of scares me. When the party invite came for my daughter, it appeared to be your average slumber party at a local gymnastic center. And everything was fine, until one of the other kids told my daughter that boys were going to attend too. After making a few phone calls, I found out the party was for 60-plus kids--boys and girls--and would be chaperoned by two parents. I immediately began wondering about the sanity of the moms who would agree to this task. 

So I told my daughter, "No." 

My daughter then told me I ruined her life. We decided to compromise, she could stay at the party until 10:30. Now she thinks I am only the second worst mom in the world.

Fortunately, I'm not alone in this party curfew decision. In the hours before the party, a few of us moms were busy texting each other about what to do. We decided to pick up our kids early. The fact the girls of the "uncool moms" could leave together as a group made it easier for them to save face. 

My decision may not be the popular one, but I'm guessing a few parents put the kabosh on going to the party altogether. Besides, this mom is not concerned with winning popularity contests among teens. I've got other things like safety and good, old common sense on my mind.

Call me old-fashioned, but two adult chaperones in charge of a gang of hormonal teens sleeping on trampolines together in one large gymnasium sounds like trouble to me.

I went to coed summer camps and looking back I see the value of separate girls and boys cabins as well as good counselors who will keep track of the campers. It's their job and they aren't interested in winning a teen popularity contest either.

Will the adult chaperones at this rec center birthday party manage to stay awake all night with flashlights ready if they hear kids moving around in the darkened room? And is anyone checking backpacks for beer, or worse?

Yep, I'm going to make a large plaque that proudly declares my new title. I'll hang it in the kitchen above the dishwasher. And maybe I'll get a matching magnet for the fridge. Next time anyone has a complaint about my rules, I'll point to the sign.

A few days have passed since the party and now my daughter has decided it was ok to leave the party early. In teen-speak I guess that means I haven't entirely ruined her life.

~ Chris Olson
Freelance writer and illustrator
Momathon Blog: The 24/7 mommy marathon--on two feet or four wheels

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