An Open Letter to Adam Rd Primary School Parents

Dear Parents,

Do you hate kids’ birthday parties? The reason I ask is because I know I do. I’m not good with lots of kids running around yelling, spilt drinks, tears, arguments, tantrums, balloons (I really hate balloons), but I wasn’t allowed to have, or go to, birthday parties when I was a kid, so maybe I just need more practice.

My child turns 8 today, and this year she wanted a party. We don’t do a party every year, but when we do I try really hard to make it great. We don’t have a lot of money in our family. We’re happy and never go to bed hungry, but there’s rarely anything left for frivolity, so to make it a great party took a lot of sacrifices and planning.

We moved to Bunbury almost two years ago, to rebuild our shattered selves and our family life after a harrowing three years seeing our older son through leukaemia treatment. We love it here, we really consider ourselves locals, and slowly the pieces of us are gradually moving back into place and healing the scars.

The baby of our family, our little girl, was only 3 when her big brother was diagnosed. She didn’t understand of course, but she was still profoundly damaged emotionally by the trauma that impacted our household. She got physically sick, also requiring a long stay in hospital. She suffered emotionally because Mummy was always at the hospital, and when she was at home she was falling apart. It has taken Herculean strength, persistence and determination for all of us to recover, and for our baby to develop her personality and learn all the social skills that would normally just have come naturally through regular family interaction. We still have a ways to go, the scars will last forever, but we are very proud of ourselves for getting this far, still together, still laughing, still loving.

Yesterday was her birthday party. Everything was ready. Pinata was stuffed full of tooth rotting candy, nut riddled chocolates and cheap but brightly coloured novelties. The games were ready to go and the perfect, ultimate take home party bag had been assembled to give each guest. Unhealthy food was ready to go, artificial food colours, over processed ex food and not a single carrot stick anywhere. Balloons and decorations were hung, house was clean, party clothes on. We were ready, we were excited.



Grandma came down from Perth the day before, her cousins arrived from Mandurah only a few minutes late, and her best friend was the first to arrive with her Mum and Sister who stayed to enjoy the fun. We waited to begin greeting the other guests, children I didn’t know and their parents who were also strangers. We wanted this to be a chance for our girl to bloom a little more, forge some bonds with a larger circle of friends. I wondered how many, if any of the parents would stay or if most would drop and run, either choice was fine.

We invited seven little girls.


In fact only two parents had bothered to RSVP, one saying they were coming, one decline. A third parent messaged the morning of the party to say her daughter wasn’t “feeling well”. The only confirmed guest also messaged to let us know that their family had been “struck by gastro”.

Still, I thought, it’s ok surely out of the four other children a couple of them will come, it’s a frigging birthday party, kids love that shit.


My beautiful princess didn’t complain, she had a fun party, even if it did look ridiculously over catered and under populated. The kids all got lots of prizes from the pass the parcel, after all I had wrapped enough layers for twelve children, not five.



We’re not the most regular family, hell were probably just downright weird to most people. But we’re people just the same, people with feelings, people with struggles, people with dreams, imperfect and broken just like everyone else. We reached out, we tried to grow and become more than we were yesterday.

I’m usually a very open person, prepared to share you with you my deepest personal feelings, often whether you asked or not. I’m not going to share with you my feelings from yesterday because I don’t want to completely alienate every single reader, but let’s just say my emotions were volatile.

While we are all responsible for our own feelings and hopes and dreams, we do not live in isolation bubbles. When our lives intersect, even briefly our actions can have profound repercussions.

I know our girl was hurt and disappointed, so deeply, because she doesn’t even want to talk about how the children she calls her friends (she’s still learning what that word really means) just didn’t come. Have you ever had a party where no one came? Imagine your child’s fragile, tenuous, sticky taped together world had just been hit repeatedly with a pinata stick, and they bravely tried to pretend it hadn’t, and you might be able to begin to imagine some of the emotions that erupted in me yesterday. Good thing we have laws.

The only parent who had any communication with me, even though ultimately unable to attend, had asked me what our girl wanted for a present. I let her know that she didn’t have a wish list, she doesn’t really want a lot of ‘things’. She just really really really wanted a party with her friends.

If you were one of the parents for whom my daughter’s party was irrelevant, not worth the effort, I hope you feel ashamed of yourself, and I hope you might think on this and not hurt someone else in the future. You won’t be given an opportunity to hurt my daughter again.

If this was just about me, I couldn’t care less. I don’t need friends, I don’t need people, especially not the type of shut down superficial people I observe picking their children up at school. They look at you and barely acknowledge your greeting before turning back to their social clique. But this is my baby, she’s had a rough trot, and she just got slapped down. It makes it really hard to put your hand out again, when it’s been lopped off.

If you read all the way to the end, thank you. If you recognise yourself here…….(you finish that sentence with whatever feels right to you).

Hand Drawn by Daddy

Hand Drawn by Daddy


34 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Adam Rd Primary School Parents

  1. First of all, I’d like to give your little girl a huge shout out –


    My heart goes out to her, and to you too. As a mother, I feel every emotional slight towards my child. On reading this, I hope the guilty parties will rethink their lack of manners, but mostly, that they feel ashamed of themselves for their complete lack of empathy for a little girl who was looking forward to sharing her birthday fun with her class mates. Maybe they should think about THEY would feel if it happened to THEIR child.

  2. To hurt a child is unthinkable. To simply ignore one is cruelty. I’m sorry your daughter had to experience both. She will rise above this and become an even more amazing person. Those parents and their children are stuck being their own sorry-ass selves. No consolation to you or your daughter now, I know. Please tell your daughter “Happy Birthday!!” from me and that “There ARE more good, kind, decent people in the world than is evident by your thoughtless ‘friends.’ YOU are wonderful!”

  3. Oh my heart breaks for your little girl. I have 2 little girls and 1 is at school. It’s a small school but there still has been a few parties. We RSVP and turn up to every party…not always because I want to but because there is a little excited child waiting for all his or her friends to come. Yes sometimes it’s uncomfortable for a parent who knows nobody but as an adult surely we can put up with uncomfortable…and who knows who you could meet.
    I’m sorry this happened to her x

  4. “Happy Birthday Princess”.
    Well done Mum! I’m a ex Bunbury girl and this was heartbreaking to read. How those adults could be so caught up, that common courtesy eluded them, to the point a child had to feel that way at her party. 😦
    There are a lot of decent down to earth folk in ol’ Bunno and I am sure they too would find that behaviour distasteful. You just haven’t met the right crew yet..
    I would like to know if you have received explaination from any of these adults. That will be a true show character!! As far as being different/weird, that’s what Bunbury charm was built on. It has always had its cliques, like everywhere else, but I commend you for staying true to yourself.
    I hope things turn in a positive way for you & your children in the near future.
    Don’t give up faith in the good of people, over a few clowns

  5. Awww I am so sorry for your little girl but am glad she had a good time anyway. It was probably worse for you than for her. Were the invites given to parents or kids? I wonder if some were left in school bags and not seen. There are a few bugs going around with the change in weather too. I would give people the benefit of the doubt (even if they don’t deserve it). I can understand how horrible it must’ve felt though. Good luck x

    • Thanks Kez. I am a big fan of not imputing bad motives, and certainly I have raised my children that way too. Likely there were some genuine absences, but not every single person. If I had experienced openness and inclusiveness to this point, it would be easier to believe that invites went missing etc, but that has not been my experience at this school.

  6. I’m very sorry this happen to your daughter, I couldn’t imagine doing that to anyone! I had a similar experience when I was a child, I was the only one to turn up to a friends birthday party and even though we had a lot of fun together I know it hurt her. I know it doesn’t help but I promise to take my son to every birthday party he is invited too when he starts school. We would have come to your daughters party!

    • Good on you Michelle. Funny how experiences from our childhood stay with us, and shape the way approach adult life. Good luck with your boy in the school system, it’s not easy. xoxo

  7. Hi I don’t know your name, u now know mine. You have now offended many parents from this school I have been from qld to wa through 3 schools with 3 children admittedly I have not had the sad life u have had and I am sorry to hear about your son. If u had sorted invitations to parents in your childs class I would assume u had spoken to these parents u would also be aware that in the last month many kids have fallen sick and the parent who notified u of this was the one that would have arrived oresent in hand and the child would have enjoyed the party tge parents of the other children I would think that if it fell on a weekend of sport or during the week when parents may be at work this could have caused problems some parents may have not received the invite so a “hello I am such an such’s daughter I was wondering if u received her birthday invitation would love to see u there”. Sometimes parents who are finding their own lives are not doing so well may try to not talk to other parents unless known outside of school. I am a person who would talk to anyone even at a shop, bus stop anyone anywhere we are few and inbetween so if my child was i. Your year group then yes we would have met. So placing Adam Road parents as a general is not always a good thing yes thus is a small town and I had found clicky groups but tgey will have to talk back eventually. I understand how upsetting it is for a child not to have a birthday party. A friend I only met at Kindy last year had a birthday party for her daughter when we arrived at the park it was a horrendous day of rain and wind when I realised many calls were coming to her mum saying they couldn’t come i saw her little girls face even though my house was not ready for visitors I put my hand up and we had it at my home some parents I knew some I didn ‘t but they all turned up knowing the kids would be dry. So be careful when pointing out all parents at this school U haven’t met me or my friends. If it has been 2yrs is it at this school for this whole time if so can u say hello to someone first maybe u don’t look approachable maybe busy looking if u try someone else might too.
    Next time for a spat facebook like we do and state “some parents are rude and how dare they upset my girl”. Then u will have more people on your side

    • Thank you for your helpful suggestions. I didn’t fully understand everything you were saying, but most of your suggestions I have already tried. In fact, my usual way to approach any difficulty is to analyse myself and my own approach, not only in this situation but in others similar to it. I have two older children and have been involved in the state school system in this country, Western Australia and Victoria, 6 different schools, over the past twenty years. I have never had a problem fitting in, my children have been well socialised. This school is the first one I have experienced like this.

      The reason my blog does not identify me, is because my blog is mine, about me. I can’t share my experiences without including other people in my tales, however those people have a right to their privacy. However, this letter has received astounding widespread support and has been shared many times all over Facebook, and I have thanked everyone for their kind words and similar experiences.

      As for getting people on my side or offending people, neither was my intent. However, it appears from the volumes of replies all over social media that, with the exception of yourself, everyone is not only ‘on my side’ but have actually experienced similar things. Certainly, Adam Road is described by many others to be precisely as I have characterised it. The reason I specifically named Adam Road, is because that is the context in which this experience occurred. My hope was that it would reach back into the school, and the parents who behave like this would see it and perhaps rethink their approach.

      I did not set out to offend people, but I won’t lose sleep over it either. I believe that if anyone is offended by my experience, then it’s most likely because their conscience pricked them. I hope it spurs change, in which case I am open to everyone.

    • To be honest Bunbury is a Shit hole . sorry for the expletives but it is .. I have been here for 13 years and I still do not feel like I fit in .. I am no Soccer mum nor am I a FIFO wife. I am a 34 year old married woman ( married to a Bunbury Born ) struggling to fit in. It is so clicky it is not funny . I have only just come from a holiday in Tasmania and the people there are so genuine. They don’t act and they don’t pretend to pay attention. I am so sorry that your daughter didn’t have the party that you envisioned. I too had the lovely experience of the
      “gastro excuse” it’s getting old .. use your balls and ring and tell the parent the real reason why your child is not going .. Absolutely hate seeing children so broken 😦

      • KtD… Like you Ive struggled to make friends in Bunbury, Im nearly 44 and have lived here since I was in year 7….I had a group of friends but time has brought about the usual changes and many moved away a few friendships ended and now I find making new friends very difficult… for myself I am hoping that my new PT business will bring about the opportunity to meet some new people. I have often thought it would be nice to create a ‘make new friends’ group… and give ppl new to the area, or simply ppl like us who are not getting the opportunity to meet ppl a chance to meet others… I know Bunbury does have many lovely genuine ppl… its meeting them thats the issue…

  8. I am horrified for your daughter, that hurt will be deep, and will be a lasting one. Those parents who have no manners, no consideration and no care are beyond my understanding. You, as a Mum have every good reason to respond, to speak and to hold these people long enough in front of an uncomfortable mirror to squirm. Well done. Happy Birthday precious young one. Know that not all people are this self involved, this ill mannered, this lacking in thought – it is they who are undeserving, not you and your family. It is they who are unworthy of your sweet time, not the other way around.

    • Thank you for your support. I believe an inalienable human right should be the right to speak openly about our personal experiences. I don’t like gossip, I never believe third hand information, but if I have a personal experience then I’m gonna talk about it.

      Thanks also for your concern for my baby, but she’s ok. It is a testament to the guileless heart she has that she actually tried to find valid excuses for the absence of her ‘friends’. She is so sweet that she doesn’t impute bad motives. She is fine, she will be fine. When she looks back on the pictures we took, she will have happy memories.

  9. The pain I feel reading your words is unbelievable. As you say its not your pain, its the pain of watching you daughter suffer. People can be absolutely horrible and its a terrible lesson for a precious soul who has already been through so much. I have 4 kids and I had the same sort of thing happen to my daughter for her birthday last year. Her birthday falls in the christmas holidays and despite handing out invitations before school ended not one person sent a RSVP. At least we hadn’t gone to all the trouble of preparing for a party the way you had 😦 I would love for you to contact me on Facebook so I can send her something from my daughter, just a little something to show her there are nice people in the world that care 🙂

    • Hi Kristy, thanks for your kind offer, but she is doing fine and things she has plenty of. I’m so grateful for the overwhelming positive support I have received, I hope it makes a difference and we all learn something from this, me included. xoxo

  10. So rude. And being a bunbury girl myself, born and raised, I know this rudeness is widespread. RSVP seems to be an optional extra these days not a common courtesy. My heart breaks for your little girl and for you. Fitting in in a new school is hard enough without having to deal with in your face rejection. Screw the haters, you said what needed to be said and maybe now no other child from that school will face the same humiliation. And Helen yes people are busy, yes we work, play sport but a simple text to say Mary will or won’t be attending is a minute of your time. Chin up, some of us Bunno bumpkins are nice and I’m sure you’ll find the ones worth knowing soon enough.

    • Vikki, we love Bunbury. By and large the country atmosphere is fantastic and we have the friends we want and need. We call ourselves Ma & Pa and have embraced flannelette as our primary wardrobe staple. We love it here, we love Bunbury people. I guess because our experience has been largely so incredibly positive, that the atmosphere at school stands in stark contrast. But I am not a quitter, I will keep on trying, for the sake of my girl. xoxo

  11. I feel your anger. Been there, felt that. Not quite to the same degree. Lived there 15 years. Took several to develop a network, then moved away and found who were real and who were just there. Life is hard, but as I keep telling myself, it’s not ment to be this hard. Give it time, and don’t expect.Then you cannot be disappointed. But always be prepared, and always be there for the ones you love. Because nothing else matters. Big hugs 🙂

    • One of my foremost life mottos is “Expectation is the surest path to disappointment”. Most of the time I roll through life, accepting what I create, good or bad. This time I forgot my own rule, I had high expectations for a noisy, princess filled day and a whole lot of tired but happy children, and you’re right, I got disappointed. I’ll try to not let that happen next time.

  12. I feel for you and especially your little girl, I grew up in Bunbury and I can empathise. My advice is to forgive and rise above…literally-speak to the teachers, take those party treats to school and give all her classmates an opportunity to wish your little girl a Happy Birthday. I’m aware public schools have food restrictions but if the cake and sweets are handed out at the end of the day and sent home with the child at pick up it’s usually ok with the parents. Keep those lovely loot bags as party gifts for the birthdays your little girl will go to.

  13. I’d like to apologize to your dear daughter and to your family on behalf of these parents – because I think you deserve an apology and they would be unlikely to give it themselves. I live in Bunbury and my kids also went to Adam Rd for their whole primary school lives. One of them is in university now and the other in their final year of high school. I found the parents at this school to be very clicky and competitive. Unfortunately kids model the behaviour their parents exhibit and I don’t feel this is a reflection on you but of them.
    I love this town and the slower pace of life here compared to the city but it can be very hard for our kids to meet friends that fit in with your children’s life experiences depending on the school they attend. It’s easy to raise selfish, thoughtless and uncaring children and it is unfortunate that those kind of people get to rub shoulder’s with people who have been taught better than that.
    I hope your daughter finds friends who are worthy of her friendship. I am very hurt for her too and the only solace I can give is my understanding and empathy. Sending you and your daughter a virtual hug xx

  14. HAPPY BIRTHDAY SWEET HEART…….. If I still lived in Bunbury and it was one of my children invited we surely would of been there… 🙂
    A childs Party is so huge for them and its a shame others didn’t think so….
    Way to go to the mum for writing this, my heart goes out to you…
    Your such a lovely MUM xxxxx

  15. I’m so sorry this has happened to your family, and your lovely girl, it’s not fair patenting is a hard job, and even though I haven’t met you, you are doing a great job, you have managed to hold up under awful circumstances recognised your daughters needs on top of looking after a seriously ill child and I know first hand how hard a serious illness is to maintain normal family life around this.
    We have had the reverse no invites issued to my son, he isn’t a nasty kid, he isn’t mean, he has Autisim is well adjusted and has a great sense of humour. We changed schools so he now has a good group of mates and has been at his new school for three years. He has had 2 party invitations in 7 years of mainstream schooling. He has been invited to his mates parties now that we changed schools-and the tally has moved up to 4 in the last few years but it was hard when other kids got invites, including his siblings and he didn’t. Best wishes to you and your family….Happy Birthday 💝
    PS I’m not an Adam Road parent …I live elsewhere in Bunbury area.

  16. Wow, I honestly never thought of it like this. Ill be honest and say my children have been invited to a lot of birthdays but due to sports or other commitments have been unable to attend most if them. I do TRY and RSVP as soon as possible but must admit I may have missed 1 or 2. Thanks for sharing this perspective and if you ever need any children for the next party. If we aren’t busy my kids would live to come. 🙂

  17. To be honest Bunbury is a Shit hole . sorry for the expletives but it is .. I have been here for 13 years and I still do not feel like I fit in .. I am no Soccer mum nor am I a FIFO wife. I am a 34 year old married woman ( married to a Bunbury Born ) struggling to fit in. It is so clicky it is not funny . I have only just come from a holiday in Tasmania and the people there are so genuine. They don’t act and they don’t pretend to pay attention. I am so sorry that your daughter didn’t have the party that you envisioned. I too had the lovely experience of the
    “gastro excuse” it’s getting old .. use your balls and ring and tell the parent the real reason why your child is not going .. Absolutely hate seeing children so broken 😦

  18. Hi So sorry for you daughters birthday party. My son is new at Adam Road this year and I have had no problem with the school or his social circle but I am a working mum so really dont notice a lot of anything. I seem to be so flat out doing whatever I have to do to get through I dont have time to get involved in much at all. Maybe the parents you are referring to are just really busy but that is still no excuse to not reply to a birthday invitation. Some people are as unsure of new people as you are of them. When I moved here I made a plan that I was going to introduce myself to who ever was around…. I knew no one….. and I did… had trouble remembering names but it works. Put your hand out and shake hands, leave an imprint on their day. once you have connected to the parent of your daughters friends life becomes so much easier. Bunbury is a fantastic community with many great people. sometimes people dont like to invest in new friendships cos so many people end up moving on like you have said you have been to other schools. Give it time. Wish you all the best.

  19. Hi
    I too have moved to bunbury recently and would like to meet some like minded parents and their kiddies. Feel free to contact me.

  20. This made me cry I know the pain you felt for your child because I saw both my son and daughter go through exactly the same thing… I was also one of those parents who attended other children’s parties with my kids to end up being the only attendees…… children are now grown and have children of their own and yes they both still remember that horrible day they each felt the pain of ppl not caring, and they also remember being the only kids present at others parties…….. After these incidents we didnt have ‘kids parties’ anymore we had friends and family parties instead.

    Id like to wish your daughter a very happy birthday, and to you Id like to say… there are a lot of us ‘not regular’ families out here… those of us who actually care about our families, our children and the community, and we all stand with you right now, feeling your pain and anger….

    I hope this experience allows you to meet some of the REAL, nice and caring people who live in Bunbury, there are a lot of us, and hopefully her next party will be the most awesome experience she could have xoxox

  21. Being an ex Bunbury Mum I firstly wish your baby girl a Big Happy Birthday!!
    Secondly good on you Mum! I cried reading this as I pictured your babies little face!
    Much love to you & your family xxx
    Good on you for speaking out.

  22. As mother of 4, I can only imagine how upset and angry this situation must have made you feel. Good on you for posting. Best wishes to your beautiful daughter. Thankfully I have never had to experience this, but I cried for you and your daughter. Good luck and blessings to you and your family xx

  23. Dear Heartbroken Mum. Primary school days are horrible. It gets better when the kids go to high school and all kids are embarrased to have parents around. Thats when it becomes an even playing field when all oarents are in the same boat. Take care it will be ok in the big scheme of things. Take care xxxx

  24. Can you change schools? Obviously these kids are going to grow up just like thier selfish bitchy parents?’!
    All a child wants is friends and your precious little girl deserves a million hugs. X

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