Inquiring About Inclusive Invitations

By Wendy Belzberg

Published December 19, 2003, issue of December 19, 2003.
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One of my oldest and dearest friends has an 18-month-old baby. She has decided to put her daughter in day care for eight hours a day, even though she does not work. There are 17 children and three child-care providers in the center. Every aspect of her decision appalls me, and I have been avoiding her ever since she blithely told me of her plans. Is this any of my business?

— Shocked, shocked, shocked!

One can argue the pros and cons of day care on any number of bases. What you cannot address — and what I suspect is what you are truly responding to — is the fact that your friend has only one child, does not work and does not want to spend more time with her daughter. She may truly believe in the advantages of day care and a social environment for her child, or she may be covering for a lack of maternal instinct. Either way, she has presumably made the decision that works for her. If you want to discuss with her what you think is right for a child, feel free to do so. But be careful not to fall into the trap of attacking your friend for the decision she has made. And I, for one, would have trouble entering into the first conversation without veering into the latter. Maybe you should visit the day-care center before you step on this land mine?

* * *

I am a high school principal, and I get invited to a lot of bar mitzvahs. Although I am not married, I do have a significant other in my life. Most of the invitations I receive are addressed to “Ms. Principal and Guest.” I was recently invited solo to the bar mitzvah of one of my students. Would it be wrong to RSVP with a guest? It’s a pretty fancy affair at a country club, and it would be a lot more fun with my intended.

— Principal’s principles

The appropriate response to an RSVP card is either yes or no. Responding that you will attend with a guest when none was invited is not an option. If you know the student well enough to want to attend the event, then call the parents and ask your question gently. If not, just pass graciously. I like to think that you and your intended know other ways to amuse yourselves on a Saturday.

* * *

I have been recruited by a headhunter for a full-time job. The problem is that I want to work part time so that I can be home when my children get off the school bus. Is there anything wrong with going to the interview in the hope that this company falls in love with me and offers me a part-time position?

— Juggling act meets job interview

A job interview is not unlike a blind date: Both parties are on an expedition. Is there chemistry, or not? Job offers don’t tend to come after one meeting, just as marriage proposals aren’t offered on the first date. What is to say that this is the company and the people with whom you want to work — even if they were to offer you a part-time position? There is nothing wrong with going to the interview. Maybe you’ll fall in love; maybe they will. Maybe it will be apparent from the first handshake that this was not a match made in heaven. To quote my son: Chill. And start planning your wardrobe.

Write to “Ask Wendy” at 954 Lexington Avenue #189, New York, N.Y. 10021 or at

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