As a childless woman, there’s a lot I don’t know about kids. However, I do know that at birth, the child is connected to the mother via the umbilical cord. This cord is then cut, allowing mother and baby to function as wholly independent beings.
It’s that last part that I think some parents don’t get.
What is it with parents who refuse to go anywhere without their children? And get very offended at the suggestion that perhaps it is inappropriate to bring said children to a special event, like a wedding or dinner party or—and of course I’m speaking purely hypothetically here—a girls’ night out with friends you haven’t seen in a long time?
For example (purely hypothetical, remember), say four of us get together for drinks, eager to let loose with some hardcore “girl talk” about our significant others, menstrual cycles, sex lives, and so on. We’re just getting rolling when “Jane” shows up with her two daughters. Her two very young daughters. The girl chat, R-rated language and unedited subject matter come to a screeching halt. The girls become the center of mom’s attention and, by default, everyone else’s as well. When one friend asked if Jane had trouble getting a sitter, Jane said no—she just thought it would be fun for the girls to come along.
Um, fun for whom? The other women who had arranged childcare for their kids in eager anticipation of some unrestricted girl time?
One couple declined a black-tie New Year’s Eve adult-only house party invitation because the baby wasn’t invited. Their exact response? “I’m sorry, but we’re a family now, and if our child isn’t included then we can’t make it either.” Sheesh–the hosts arranged for their own kid to spend the night with a friend! Check your belly–the cord is no longer attached!
I understand that sometimes parents have to bring the kids to an adults-only event. Sitters fall through or unexpected conflicts arise, and we’d rather see you with your kids than not see you at all–provided they’re not inextricably attached to you all night. When “Sue” and “Bob” had to bring “Josh” to a friend’s small dinner party, Josh and Mom were inseparable. Before dinner, she carried him around while she mingled, including him in conversation (he’s four). During dinner, Josh sat on her lap while she ate, at one point taking a break from sucking on his ratty stuffed dinosaur to hurl the soggy mess across the dinner table in a one-sided game of catch. After dinner, he insisted that daddy play “dump truck” with him. If you’re not familiar with this game, picture a trash collection vehicle (Josh’s dad) picking up the dumpster (Josh), inverting it and shaking its contents into the bin. Josh screamed with laughter, and then vomited all over the coffee table.
Oh, look at the time. We really must be going.