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Sleepover etiquette


taxi4ballet
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Hi all, I have somehow managed to offend dd's best friend's mum totally unintentionally, and I'm at a complete loss...

 

The other night dd had a sleepover at BFF's house, and texted me when she was ready to come home, so I drove round to collect her. The friend opened the door and let me in, dd came down the stairs dressed and ready to leave - her friend was still in her pyjamas (fairly usual for teenagers at 11 in the morning during the school holidays). The mum was nowhere to be seen.

 

DD said she was all packed and ready to go, except for her inflatable bed, so I went up to undo the valve, which is pretty tricky and hard to get off.

 

Suddenly, one of the bedroom doors opened a crack, and the friends's mum stuck her head out and began berating her daughter, shouting that SHE SHOULD NEVER EVER LET JUST ANYBODY IN THE HOUSE WITHOUT HER PERMISSION AND HOW DARE SHE LET ME GO UPSTAIRS WITHOUT BEING INVITED?!!! AND WHO DID I THINK I WAS, GOING UPSTAIRS IN HER HOUSE WITHOUT PERMISSION???

 

Well, I said sorry, but I had only gone up there to undo the valve on the airbed, and she then began shouting at me, saying that SHE WOULD NEVER DO ANYTHING LIKE THAT EVER, AND HOW DARE I, AND IT WAS REALLY PRESUMPTIVE OF ME TO THINK I COULD JUST DO THAT, etc etc. AND COULDN'T THEY UNDO THE VALVE THEMSELVES?

 

Both the girls were standing there open-mouthed in astonishment, so I quickly undid the valve and removed myself back downstairs to wait for dd to bring her stuff down.

 

The thing I can't understand is that dd has been the best of friends with this girl since toddlerhood, and they have had many sleepovers at each other's houses before. I've been in their house loads of times, and also been upstairs too! I thought that the mum and I were good friends, and I'm totally nonplussed by her reaction, and simply can't understand it at all, and I'm really quite upset that I've managed to get into this situation. 

 

Help! What do I do now?

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Oh goodness I suspect this has nothing really to do with you but just the other Mum was caught out and maybe embarrassed not to have been around. Because of that she lost it. Certainly does not sound a reasonable or normal reaction esp if you have been friends so long. Maybe she was upset about something else. Can you speak to her and say you're shocked and also I would think embarrassed for the girls. Say you in no way meant to upset but were just trying to be helpful. A tricky situation.

Try not to worry.

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Sleepovers! I hate them, both as host and as mother of invitee. The children can take days to recover, especially if they've been to one of those mass sleepovers where there's inevitably been at least one child who's been determined to stay up all night. I'm obviously Mean Mummy but I've hosted very few and only for one other child. I'd pay any amount of money or travel miles rather than host a mass sleepover. What I really can't understand is why parents make sleepovers such prolonged affairs. You don't just ask the parents to drop their kids off at 6pm and pick up at 10am the next day. Increasingly, the event kicks off at 2pm or even earlier with a trip somewhere, followed by tea at Pizza Express then an hour or two in the park (if it's not raining) by which time it's still only 7pm and there are still hours to be filled with film watching, snacking, arguing, hyperactive behaviour, crying, cajoling (parents) and finally losing one's temper (parents and sometimes children) finishing up with a sleepness night for all or most of the people there. I've known of parents taking sleeping pills or really losing it, which is presumably social suicide for their child. My daughter has just been invited to a birthday party which starts with a sleepover beginning at 6pm on the Saturday and goes on to 6pm the following day with a whole outing taking up most of the Sunday - and 12 girls are invited!

 

Anyway, back to the original point. I think that the Mother was embarassed because she wasn't up and dressed to greet you. She may have been having a nice lie-in with her husband/partner and was a bit shocked to find you walking about upstairs. I would leave things for a day or two and then have a word if she seems to be avoiding you. If you leave it longer it may be more difficult to raise the matter.

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Thanks for that, I was beginning to think I had committed some horrible unwritten faux-pas!

 

I just want to make sure that it doesn't affect the girls' friendship, they're really close and get on so well together.

 

Aileen, she's a lone mum and there wasn't anyone she was hiding in her bedroom :wacko: (I checked with dd on the way home!) Still, you're probably right about her being embarrassed about not being up, but then I was rather taken aback that she wasn't, since it was past 11 in the morning, and she must have known I was coming round to collect dd. As well as her overnight bag, she had the airbed, pump, and her duvet and pillowcase to carry, so she wasn't going to manage to walk home with that lot!

 

They live on the other side of town, so I don't see the mum very often, when kids are small you meet the other mums all the time, but by the time they get to 14, you don't really bump into each other at the school gates any more!!

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Perhaps the mother didn't get much sleep last night! If you aren't likely to run into her then you will probably need to brace yourself and pick up the phone. I wouldn't try to resolve the matter by text or e-mail.

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Maybe she wasn't dressed, or had had some bad news, wasn't feeling well - could have been anything really!

 

I must admit I never go upstairs in other people's houses - unless I've expressly been invited up. That said, I don't think you deserved to be bellowed at! How rude!

 

I would just have a quick chat with her and apologise for going upstairs as it obviously upset her - hopefully that will prompt her to apologise to you for losing the plot!

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Yes, I apologised to her then and there, as we were leaving.

 

I don't know her all that well, except, as I said, her dd and mine have been really close friends for more than ten years, and you think you know somebody well enough after all that time... obviously I was wrong!

 

It's not as if she caught me rummaging through the contents of her bathroom cupboard :D

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I tend to agree with everyone else - I think she was probably really embarrassed at not being up and about at that time and maybe she didn't get very much sleep.  Still no reason to shout at you, but perhaps now she is equally embarrassed by that.  

Aileen, I too hate sleepovers.  My daughter was invited to one this weekend which started at lunch time yesterday and didn't finish until eight o'clock tonight after a party.  I gave her a choice, she could either go to the sleepover and come home by lunchtime today, or go to the party this evening.  She went to the sleepover and I know through facebook that she was up until at least 2am!  One tired, grumpy girl. 

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After one nightmare sleepover (not at my house) where the children were allowed to stay up all night and watch cert 15 films (they were 9!), dd slept all day and then her sleep cycle was off kilter for days. I banned her from sleeping at that friend's house for about 4 years!

 

Now she only ever has one - or two at most - friend sleeping over at a time. It is heaps easier when they are teenagers - partly because they entertain themselves, and they go to sleep when they're tired!

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That reminds me, my dd watched an 18-rated film once, when she was about 11 - no prizes for guessing whose house she was sleeping-over at!

 

Not only that, but dd said that it was a bootleg copy given to her friend by her mum's boyfriend!

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Unpleasant situation....may have been better to call out first just to let the mum know it was you! Perhaps she was expecting somebody else to arrive but still seems a bit odd especially this "how dare you" business to another adult.....more reminiscent of a teachers reprimand to a VERY naughty child!! (She isn't a teacher is she? ......sometimes they forget they're not in teacher mode!

 

Anyway ten to one on reflexion she may(hopefully) be a bit embarrassed too and may ring you before you get chance to ring her. I'm sure it will all blow over but for your own peace of mind perhaps give her the weekend and then ring and see how the land lies...she may be surprised even that you have been so upset by it all if she hasn't realised how she came across. Good luck!

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Hi taxi4ballet.  I would just leave it for the moment and let this other Mum get in touch.  If you do see her, apologise again and then let her reflect on her behaviour.  We all have off days.  For the sake of your daughter I would try to keep the friendship going.  Time can make you see things differently and put things into perspective x

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....more reminiscent of a teachers reprimand to a VERY naughty child!! (She isn't a teacher is she? ......sometimes they forget they're not in teacher mode!

 

 

I think you may have hit the nail on the head there! She isn't a teacher, but she does work at a school.

 

DD says that she lets her dd get away with murder with some things (eating a tub of Ben & Jerry's for breakfast) and unreasonably strict in others (grounding her for two months), and by all accounts she files off the handle at really odd things.

 

Can't say I'm all that fussed whether we make it up or not - I just hope that it doesn't affect the girls.

 

Edited to add: we've never been close friends - just people who know each other because their kids are friends. She's never shown much inclination to be more friendly than that.

Edited by taxi4ballet
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.more reminiscent of a teachers reprimand to a VERY naughty child!! (She isn't a teacher is she? ......sometimes they forget they're not in teacher mode!

 

 

Once, when one of my daughter's was about 10, I heard her say to her sister about me "For goodness sake! I wish she'd leave her teacher's voice at school"  LOL! I didn't even realise I was using a 'teacher voice'. 

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Well I'm a teacher too(not ballet) and Ive had a few warnings mainly from my parents!! "You're not at school now" or "look Im not one of your students you know if you dont mind!" my dad would say....if I came over a bit too bossy. In later years I was a bit more mellow and reverse could happen.....more likely to be told to "act your age...you're not one of your students!!" Can't win.

 

A funny story though. Once when I was round the back of the Festival Hall there was a stretch where for few mins no people were around. Suddenly I heard this running behind me and someone was tugging at my shoulder bag. I turned round to see a boy of no more than 14 and instinctively said" WHAT ON EARTH DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING?" anyway the old teachers voice worked then as he thought better of it and ran off!!

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Taxi,If I were you I would leave it and let her make the first move. If you see her,just smile and give a friendly wave or something. On reflection she probably feels terrible. But I wouldn`t go making the first move. You were hardly snooping,and seeing as it was time for your daughter to go home she should have been half expecting you anyway.

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I was just thinking last night that maybe as thequays says above, actually leave it and next time you see her just act as if nothing has happened especially as you say you have never really been close friends etc. The main thing is for the girls to feel they can still be friends if they want to and you can explain(if needed) that unfortunately adults can have "off" days too sometimes and not behave as they normally would.

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