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Your Baby Was Not Invited to This BBQ

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Or, Why You Should Keep Your Babies Away from My Parties -- Unless They Were Specifically Invited

woman carrying a baby

Childless Bitch: As I sat around at a friend's barbecue this past weekend, drinking beer and passing around a naked toddler like a hot potato, hoping I wouldn't be the one who got stuck holding him when he decided to make a wee wee, the thought occurred to me -- where did you little people come from? When did you get here? I know you've been popping out at random intervals from various friends for the last few years, but when exactly did you start showing up at my social gatherings? And don't get me wrong, adorable naked toddler -- but were you even invited?

Midway through the afternoon, I looked around the backyard and noticed all my non-parent friends engaged in different acts of entertainment with children who didn't belong to them. One was spinning. Over and over again. Another was guarding a pet while trying to teach a small rug rat to "be gentle." One more had volunteered her perfectly made-up hair to a toddler with a box of barrettes and now looked like a hot mess. The same thought seemed to hit their exhausted-looking faces all at once -- this is not the barbecue I thought I would be attending when I replied "Yes" to your Evite (which made no mention of children being invited). A spontaneous underground relief railroad was set up, and ten minutes later the "ladies without babies brigade" escaped to the front yard where, like high school delinquents doing something we weren't supposed to be, we nervously looked around the corner for a little one to come running at us.

Just like 3-year-olds need their playdates to interact and be goofy and flex their newly acquired socialization skills, we adult types need that stuff too. I would so much rather give you my full attention than divide it between you and making Play Doh sandwiches with little Haley. Look, I love your kid. She's precious. She's smart. I can do repetitive things with her for hours on end because she says funny things and warms my cold black heart. But what I really want is some kid-free face time with you.

So ladies, for the love of Dora the Explorer, if the invite doesn't say "kids welcome," please call the babysitter. And in reverse, if I know ahead of time that little ones will be at the party, I'll wear a slicker and not my new, overpriced summer dress.

Kindest regards, CB.


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48 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous June 25, 2009, 8:13 PM

Abbi, if you don’t have kids then I don’t understand why you are even on this site?! I have never been invited to an “adult only” bbq. BBQ’s are meant for families to get together and eat good food and have fun. I’m glad I don’t know anyone who feels the way you do about kids.

Sara June 25, 2009, 9:56 PM

Wow, I’m glad we live in such a family friendly neighborhood and have such family friendly friends! If we were to show up at a BBQ WITHOUT our kids we’d be questioned on why on earth the kids didn’t come. If you can’t stand kids go find some friends without kids, but if you want to be friends with people who DO have kids, then you are going to just have to accept that their child is a HUGE part of their life!

The Voice of Reason June 25, 2009, 11:59 PM

I don’t get majority of commenters’ logic. Your kids can have hang outs without you but you can’t go anywhere without your kid glued to your hip? You’re probably the same parents who take their kids to R rated films(in which the kid doesn’t shut up and is scared because the parent’s a paranoid deadbeat) and if you honestly are going to tell me you won’t see a movie higher than G to PG until your kid is 17 then you’re all lying through your teeth. No wonder so many people go through divorce and are just outright miserable after they have children. Family time doesn’t have to be ALL the time or you have a LONG way to go.

And for the one who mentioned uninvited dogs. If anyone ever brought a pet over to a party I was holding, you’d see how fast they’d be tossed out the door with the owner.

As for bringing kids to a child-free host’s party…why? Just why? If you feel the need to never leave your kids home, then you can stay home too and stop ruining parties for other people. When in doubt, you pick up the phone…you know the one people glue themselves to, even when driving like they’re that important? and call the host to ASK.

Nichole June 26, 2009, 1:59 AM

I agree with this article 1 million times percent. DO NOT assume that your children are welcome to adult parties. NOTHING is more annoying than having children at adult parties. It’s called a babysitter, people, get a life for god’s sake. U can go out one night without your diseased rats, you really can do it, it’ll be allllll right. Time for some adulty time people. U remember how to be an adulty dulty don’t u, boo boo???

Anonymous June 26, 2009, 8:29 AM

To Voice of Reason and Nichole, the CB did not say that it was an “Adult Only” BBQ - she just wished it was. She wasn’t even the host of the BBQ so it wasn’t her place to say keep the kids home. I agree that if an invite says no kids then no kids but that not at all what this article says…it was just her opinion. I can’t believe that Nichole (just like Abbi) has kids and if you don’t then you don’t understand how parents feel about spending their free time with their kids. Most “Adult Only” or “Girls night out” usually happens on Friday or Saturday night but not during the middle of a weekend day.

Jen June 26, 2009, 9:38 AM

I think part of the issue too is that parents often bring their children to parties then don’t supervise them. Everyone else ends up dealing with the children. If you are not going to watch your own children, stay at home!

Judy Beaudoin June 30, 2009, 8:53 AM

When did children start to be worshipped? Living rooms with huge play toys all over - bed times ignored and parents carrying a collapsed child to their rooms at midnight? Children are PART of the family, not the whole show - those who treat them as annointed royalty are giving them a false impression of how they will be treated as adults - as Bill Gates has said, “We have a whole generation of kids running around with a sense of entitlement they didn’t earn” So parents can’t go to an adult event without dragging the kid along? Why in the world? It is not an everyday event, it is a special occasion for adults to be with their own kind - it is inappropriate to bring a child along - and if you have a doubt if the kid is welcome - call the hostess and ask her. A child is a member of the family - not a demigod - I just roll my eyes at those young parents that say that they don’t have any time together, so WHAT HAPPENED TO BEDTIME? My brother raised his two kids like they were the whole show - now they are young adults and are completely lost - he will be supporting them forever cause they can’t function in a world that doesn’t cater to them. If you have got to worship something - how about your spouse - he/she will be with you long after the kids are grown.

LJ June 30, 2009, 9:46 AM

A formal evening dinner is something that I doubt people would bring small kids to. But a bar-b-que is very different, its a casual gathering unless otherwise specified. I think it is up to the host to make people aware of the limitations of social gatherings…be prepared for some refusals among those who are too cheap to pay for a sitter or think EVERYONE loves their child as much as they do.

Gail June 30, 2009, 10:50 AM

It’s funny how I knew all the mommies would be just so offended and up in arms over this story….so predictable. Even though I agree that invites should state “adults only”, if that’s what you want, I see no reason to blast someone for that preference. Not everyone is going to think your kids stunts are cute, precious, or endearing. Get over it. and frankly, it sort of annoys me when people bring their kids to party’s and then proceed to drink enough to be virtually unrecognizable to their own children. I’ve seen that happen more than once. There’s something to be said for “adult time”.

Becki June 30, 2009, 10:55 AM

There is a book out there about this called “I hate other people’s children.” I love that book! Read it!! So funny but TRUE!!

Terry June 30, 2009, 11:41 AM

Personally I’m with the author. If you’re invited to anything then don’t automatically ASSUME that your brats are invited. Why would any normal considerate adult think that? Kids add an extra dimension to a gathering, one that a non-parent has to deal with, like making sure the gathering is kid safe. It’s rude to think it’s just okay to bring them along. And if you think you’d rather not attend if your kids aren’t invited, then fine, be a jerk and stay home, that will be the last time your invited to anything.

Fireman113 June 30, 2009, 1:00 PM

Ok,I don’t care who has kids and who don’t,If a friend says im having a BBQ come over.I’m taking my kids.If a “friend” asks you to come over they usually want to enjoy the whole family…If they don’t want your kids they need to learn how to say something,or write adult only party…Also depends if its just a work friend or close friend…Close friends NEVER turn your kids away.

Jade June 30, 2009, 1:06 PM

While I found your post entertaining, I think that writing “adults only” on the invitation is a sure way to make sure children don’t come. I certainly understand your frustrations, but they could have been avoided. Do yourself a favor and write, “adults only” on your invites. If they bring their children anyway, then say something to them. As for the verbal insults being hurled here, why not say your piece without attacking? Comments are here to respond to the post only. Take care.

Danielle June 30, 2009, 2:09 PM

its considered bad etiquette to bring a kid to a wedding if the invitation specifies adults only, if you don’t wants kids at your party—specify that, don’t expect parents to read your mind.

and BTW I’m not a parent i just think if you don’t want kids around to make sure that’s known ahead of time

ame i. June 30, 2009, 2:20 PM

It is easy to call the host/hostess & ask if it is a child-friendly get together or adults only.
I was married for 10 years & had over a dozen nephews before having my 2 daughters. Most of our friends had children.
I understand how annoying it is to be stuck entertaining other people’s kids.
It can be awkward to extract yourself from the little sweeties. Some parents are oblivious to the fact that not everyone wants amuse kids belonging to others.
I’ve been to adults-only cook-outs. There was more drinking than eating ;)

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Juli June 30, 2009, 8:49 PM

Wow this was is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. When u invite me to a BBQ (which isn’t a formal event) I will bring my kids unless you tell me not to. If you don’t like children don’t hang out with people that have kids. Now don’t get me wrong people should control there kids but don’t judge other kids because there idot parents. People love there kids and aren’t gonna give up there kids for there friends

ame i. June 30, 2009, 10:58 PM

I like kids, which is convenient considering I have 2 of them. Ithink the point CB is trying to make is she doesn’t like being put in the position of feeling obligated to cuddle & amuse other people’s kids.
Most of us have been in the same spot haven’t we, having a little kid hanging on us & following us around after we paid attention to them? It’s like making the mistake of playing peek-a-boo with the toddler in the plane seat in front of you. They just don’t get that the game gets old for us before it gets old for them.
I was once “held hostage” by my sis-in-law’s 7 year old nephew at a cook-out. Precious little guy, amusing & fun as heck, but after listening to him chatter for 30 minutes, being unable to engage in the adult conversations going on around me, I was DONE. I fail to believe his mother actually thought I wanted to spend so much time hearing about his favorite Transformers. At least she got to enjoy adult company, I guess.

Lynn July 7, 2009, 9:18 PM

Those of you who can’t enjoy a few hours of recreation and relaxation time without your kids are just sad.

Your Kidding Right? July 9, 2009, 11:18 AM

You would not bring a cousin along uninvited would you? Or a neighbor? Then why is it ok to assume that your kid is invited to everything you are? At least a grown cousin or someone else uninvited would not stick their fingers up their nose then into the potato salad.


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