Post-Kiddo Social Life: A Breakdown of the 4 Different Kinds of Events You Get Invited to as a Parent

I don’t think it is a shock to anyone that your social life changes when you have a kid. More specifically, your social life together changes a lot. For example, in the BC (Before Child) era if my friends were going out,my wife and I would join them at the restaurant, bar, party, etc. that they were going to. We didn’t really even think about what the event was. If friends were there, then we would be there.

Like everything else under the sun, this changes once you have a kid. So I thought I would breakdown the 4 major types of events you get invited to, and how parents respond to each one. This may help non-parents understand why you don’t see us quite as much as you used to.

A Breakdown of the 4 Different Kinds of Events You Get Invited To As A Parent

1) Events Where We Can Bring the Kid and They Realistically Will Not Cause Absolute Chaos:

     Examples of These Events Include…
       – Children’s parties
       – Random “fun day” activities
       – Friend’s houses that also have kids, or at least no visible drug paraphernalia

These are the bread and butter of the parental social life. We use these events to interact with friends, talk to people that don’t end sentences with thrown peas, and generally try to remember that we are still adults. At these events there will generally be an activity to entertain the kiddos while the adults pay just enough attention to avoid any ER trips due to a random toddler deciding that they were a champion knife juggler.

Sometimes these events also have non-parents. To the non-parents, let me offer an open letter of apology. I know that sitting in a circle of parents talking about their kids latest adventure in potty training, or how they can’t pronounce the the word “chicken” and it comes out “chucklin”isn’t high level conversation. I’m sorry, it’s really all we have. Our brains are fried, and we are basically one more midnight toddler “I need water” visit away from reverting to mere grunts and yells.

2) Events We Cannot Bring The Kid To, But We Want/Need to Go to and Will Get Child Care

     Examples of These Events Include…
       – Wedding’s of close friends
       – Concerts put on by musicians from an era my kid will soon think is “retro” 
       – A random overnight once or twice a year that probably includes dinner at a
              restaurant without “Chicken Fingers” on the menu

Getting child care is tough for two reasons. First of all, it’s not always that easy to find, especially if it is overnight childcare. Finding people who can and want to take a toddler overnight is a delicate balance between “Oh, how nice, this person will watch my daughter overnight!” and “What kind of maniac would accept this proposal!?! Nobody wants to put a toddler to bed!”. Due to the difficulties of meeting this criteria, the responsibility usually falls on relatives… specifically grandparents.

The second issue is I generally don’t want to leave my kid overnight. I only get to see her really after work, and on weekends. Taking more of that time away means that the thing I am going to really needs to be worth it. A night out with my wife is great, but we have to choose carefully what we go to since it does mean one less evening with our daughter.

All that being said, if we do come to your event, we must really care about it. Also, if we leave around 10, cut us some slack…. 10 PM is about an hour and a half past my bedtime.

3) Event’s One Of Us is Going To

     Examples of These Events Include…
       – Non-round number birthdays for friends… Nobody cares about their 34th birthday
       – Any social gathering at a bar
       – A gathering at a friend’s place starting anytime after about 5:17

There are a lot of events out there that we both used to go to. Most of these events take place at night, and a lot of the time are at adult venues like a bar. Since most of these events frown upon anyone who throws up before 11:30, your kiddo is probably not welcome. So you end up dividing and conquering these events. Some are easy, if a close friend of mine is having a party, or it’s a guys night out then obviously I would go.

On the flip-side if my wife’s friends are doing something then she tends to go. However, it gets complicated when you both want to go (or both don’t want to go, but one of you really needs to make it to this stupid thing and “show your face”). So next time one of us shows up to your event, just understand there were serious negotiations and political moves made at home to figure out who would be joining you.

4) Event’s That We Are Absolutely Not Going To Because The Logistics Are Not Worth It

     Examples of These Events Include…
       – Weddings for people that live far away and are not really close friends
       – Local music Facebook Invites… Ok, maybe one a year. It’s late, it’s loud, and I’m old.
       – Basically any weeknight event… Tipsy Tuesday is for a previous life.

Look, I may want to come to your thing. I probably would have come to your thing before I had a kid, but I’m not coming to your thing. The logistics and trade offs necessary to make it to your thing are either impossible or not worth the effort. I don’t mean this as an insult, I’m sure it’s a great thing, and everyone who goes will have a good time. That being said, there is just no way I can make it to your thing. No… I probably won’t be at the next thing either.

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