There’s been a couple of incidents in my life recently that highlighted just how different peoples expectations are when it comes to the way your friendships are handled when you have children. I was designated driver at a party quite some distance away. That was my choice for one reason and one reason only. I CAN NOT have a hangover when I know I’m looking after my Little Miss the next day. I’d rather saw my own arm off with a spoon than persevere through that. SO… I heard two things from many different people that night and it’s not just that night. It’s every night where I say “No drinks for me, thanks” or “yeah I know it’s only 10pm, but I have to head off to bed.”
“What? You’re driving? You’re not drinking AT ALL?! You have something on/get your kid back tomorrow? It’s only one day, though… Go on, why don’t you just have one? Just have one more, It’s only one more drink. You’ll be right. Train her better. Give her to your mum. Can’t you get a babysitter?” Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally down for almost everything I’m invited to and I certainly do appreciate the invite. I know and understand it really makes people feel uncomfortable when it’s a drinking occasion or a “big night” and you’re on the waters but this is what flies through my mind when I hear “hey Suzi, fancy coming to (insert social event here)?”
Suzi’s inner monologue: “Oh sweet, I’d LOVE to come! Is it during the day? After 6:30pm can’t do as she’s in bed. Does she require to be babysat? Can I do the FOUR hour drop off/collection from my Mums? Is mum even free? Did she spend last weekend with her Dad and I’m effectively loosing my precious weekend with her since it’s the only quality time we get? Are there going to be other kid there or just adults for her to yell DON’T TOUCH ME at as they come into her personal space without realizing she fucking hates it…If there’s kids, how old? Am I going to have to be right on her all the time to make sure she’s sharing? Will it be when she’s tired and will need a nap because if she’s tired she’ll be yelly and trantrumy… Will it be during lunch? I need to pack snacks so she’s not hangry… Oh god… if she’s hangry she will also be punchy, keep her away from pets… Is it a nice indoor place where she can break expensive shit, which means I spent all my time following her around… Do I need to bring anything else on top of the spare supply of nappies, snacks, spare change of clothes, asthma puffer, a hat, sunscreen ETC (MORE depending on the occasion). Is it near a road because she’s going through this phase where she runs away from me… is it near water? I’ll have to get in the water to make sure she doesn’t drown… Fuck I hate swimming. Does she need floaties, togs? How physically active do I need to be tomorrow when I’m getting her back? The minimum level, if I have no plans, is a 4/10 when we’re chilling at home because everything right now is “MUMMY, COME HERE!” and “MUMMY, LOOK AT THIS!!!?” If I’m going to someones house it means I won’t be able to sit down and relax at all…”
For my friends with no children or even those who do but don’t know my child all that well, I love you a lot, but there’s nothing I can say that would make you truly understand, so I won’t. For me, it doesn’t matter if I have a child free night but am on mum duty the next day or whether I’m bringing my chicklet to one of your events, it requires planning and a shit load of energy. Energy that zaps quickly because taking her to a non child friendly environment fills me with anxiety. If I’m not drinking or I bail midway through your event because my kid is rolling around on the floor screaming because she can’t have her third ice cream or I have to collect her the next day, it’s honestly nothing personal. Yep, you’re right… I’m super lame. I have changed. Yeah, I remember when I used to be cool too. Yeah, I know this is my life now… But if that’s the call I made, I don’t need judgement, parenting advice or looks of pity. All I’m after is that you respect my decision and don’t make me feel like an arsehole about it because toddlers are fucking hard work.
Got me on a day where I’m free that night and free ALL of the next day? Party on. Please book at least 3 months in advance.