I attended a fancy wine release party over the weekend and was surprised to see so many kids and babies in attendance. I was surprised, but not offended.
Their cute antics and occasional rowdiness didn't get in the way of me having a fun time. Now in this instance, I had a better time without my own children. It was delightful to sip several wines without worrying about my kids taking a dip in the nearby creek. But if I didn’t have childcare, I would have rather gone with littles in tow than miss it all together.
I’ve noticed a strange segregation in our culture. There's all the fun adult stuff, and then there are the places you’re allowed to bring your kids. The "family-friendly" designation tends to mean the kids can run wild, but the adults will get the shaft. And as an adult who has children, I don’t want to be stuck eating at restaurants with laminated menus. Kids are people too, they deserve the chance to learn how to behave within normal society, not just in kid designated zones. And let's be real, it’s nearly impossible to learn proper restaurant dining decorum at Chuck E. Cheese’s.
Parenthood is stressful and isolating enough without worrying about being judged for going out in public with your little one.
This isn’t to say that you should bring your child to an upscale restaurant and then let them run around and climb under the table. Or that you shouldn’t do your best to take a crying baby out of a theater as quickly as possible. And of course there really are some instances where children would be inappropriate. But I also think that adults need to loosen up.
No one asked you to supervise the children at the table next to yours, so try to focus on the company you did bring. And you know that loud and annoying adult at the gathering? Maybe he’s just what happens when a kid is raised without the chance to mingle with adults.
Parenthood is stressful and isolating enough without worrying about being judged for going out in public with your little one. Children need to be exposed to the adult-oriented world and parents shouldn’t be relegated to the kid table equivalent of our culture.
I say it’s time for a new approach. One in which all members of our society are met with smiles instead of sideways glances.
Let’s teach our kids that there's a big wide world out there, one in which they're welcome even though it doesn’t revolve around them. And let’s remind parents that they can enjoy the adult world all the time, not just when they have a sitter.