“Just Bring the Kids” is an Option. But it is One That Sucks.

Maybe this will help you understand. Christine Skoutelas at A Morning Grouch enlightens those without children as to why she and other people with kids seem to socially disappear. (Now, I’m inclined to socially disappear anyway, but having kids only turns it from a predeliction to a kind of existential necessity.)

Here’s two parts to her post that really stood out to me, first, on why we don’t want to “bring the kids along,” even if it’s totally cool with you:

We just can’t focus on you very well when we have to simultaneously keep an eye on our kids making sure they don’t choke, drown in randomly placed vat of water or get a head injury bumping into the pointy corner of a table. We spend a lot more time and energy worrying about keeping our brood alive than you might imagine. A lot of times we host events you don’t get invited to. Again, this isn’t because YOU aren’t fun, it’s because our events aren’t fun, at least not for most adults. They are loud, obnoxious, and strategically located where there are wide open spaces or playscapes that allow toddlers to run and bounce off padded surfaces, screaming like banshees, that allow us to leave the Xanax at home since we don’t have to fear death by pointy edge.

Imagine the anxiety level in the room when it’s parents with kids doing stuff with other parents with kids! It’s like the other parents aren’t even there. But at least everyone’s on the same page.

But here was the big one for me, on the value of idleness:

We’re spending so much energy carrying, wiping, toting, cleaning, chasing after, listening to, reasoning with, teaching, and doing, that sometimes we need to just sit, in a quiet space, for ten or thirty or one-hundred-and-twenty minutes in a row, for our own sanity, and for the safety of those around us. There is no sleeping in, or afternoon naps, or resting on the weekend, so these moments are critical to help our bodies and minds recover and recharge for the remainder of our day or week. God help you if you infringe on our time we’ve allotted to revive ourselves.

Exactly. I’ve always been overly precious of my free time, since I’m a severe introvert and a value beyond measure my chances to get the hell away. But caring for kids, worthwhile as it absolutely is for me, just leaves me with nothing to run on. Whereas day-to-day activity and interactions were already draining, being a parent has utterly sapped all reserves. It’s actually a miracle that I get to work from home, making my in-person time significantly mitigated. But when I once donned the Blue Shirt in the Brushed Aluminum Retail Location, that was nothing but personal interactions.

Back then, though, I only had one kid.

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