This post is by TheNotMom team writer Laura LaVoie:
We promise, we don’t hate your kids. And we don’t hate you.
Recently I heard a story about a couple planning a wedding who chose to make the ceremony and reception “Adults Only.”
I have always understood this to be a valid choice, and one that only the couple can make.
More than a few parents were upset by this move. They perceived it as a rejection of themselves and their children. Many people sent their regrets and at least one set of parents had a very terse conversation with the couple and threatened to bring their kids around the wedding to skirt the couple’s request but gain what they saw as a moral victory.
Years ago, when Matt and I lived in Atlanta, we frequently hosted parties at our house. These parties would always be adults only. It wasn’t because I hated everyone’s children. In fact, it was quite the contrary.
My home was not equipped for children and neither was I. There were no safety plans in place. With just two adults and a cat ,we just never bothered to child-proof our home. As the host of a party, I didn’t want to have to feel uncomfortable in my own house because I was worried about the children there. Hosting a party is often stressful enough.
We also have a No Kids under 10 policy at our tiny house, because there are 15 acres of mountain woods which include potential dangers like rattlesnakes and poison ivy. At nearly 40, even I could easily bumble into a sticky situation.
I promise, I don’t hate your kids. I am simply not skilled in having them around.
The recent wedding conversation made me think about the “adults only” decision. The couple is not anti-child, but they are budget-conscious. For each person coming to the wedding, they have to pay the venue more money. They have to arbitrarily cut it off somewhere, and people under drinking age seemed like a logical choice.
But what I don’t understand, admittedly as a childfree woman, is, why there is such outrage over the exclusion of children from adult-based activities? Why is there such anger over this behavior?
I’ll let you in on a personal secret. I don’t hate parents and I don’t hate children, but I do feel uncomfortable in social situations where I am forced to interact with small kids. I do not possess the seemingly natural feelings that I should enjoy the company of children and laugh over their silly antics as all the adults in the room gather around to watch them do things every little kid does.
It is not a rejection of parents when I don’t invite them to my parties. It is also not a rejection of children. I am equally uncomfortable at children’s birthday parties. Children in social situations make me feel awkward and I would prefer to distance myself as much as possible.
I agree that the conversation needs to go both ways. I believe that we should put ourselves in each other’s shoes to understand why we feel this way. How do you feel in these situations? How can we make it easier for everyone?