SmackDown: Should Parents Bring Babies Into a Bar?
Filed under: Opinions
No cheers with your child.
by Julieanne Smolinski
In a recent New York Times op-ed, single young journalist Risa Chubinsky took parents to task for bringing their kids to bars in the residential Brooklyn neighborhood of Park Slope.
The article generated a debate between those who have progeny and those who don't. As many of the commenters noted, Chubinsky's gripe is hardly new -- but I happen to think it's legit.
Coincidence time: I also happen to be young and single and living in Park Slope. I also get irritated by kids in bars.
But I'd like to propose an easy test for determining whether you should bring your children with you or leave them at home:
If you're going to a place where the food is secondary to the alcohol (a bowl of dessicated party mix doesn't count, Moms and Dads), then get a sitter.
Even if you're just there to have a club soda and catch up with Fun Cathy from your old office, if you can afford to drink in public, you can afford to leave little Braidyn or McFayden at home with a responsible teenager.
Servers and diners at kid-friendly places have basically signed on to be around children. But bringing your kids to neighborhood pubs and lounges? Bartenders hate it. The other patrons hate it. Your kids? Prrrrobably not enjoying themselves much either.
Doing so -- whether this shoe fits or not -- makes you look like one of those weird adults resisting maturity. And that's just not attractive. Bam. Real Talk.
Guys, I realize that having procreated doesn't make you love fun any less, and that just because you've had kids, you don't think you should have to stay home. But there's a time and place in your life for finding your fun at bars. And that's pre-child -- or when you have a sitter.
Lest you think that your kids are just cramping my drunk, inappropriate style (they are -- I like to swear and talk about sex, because that's what we Young and Childfree do), please note that I'm considering your fun as much as mine. If you need to get out of the house to unwind with a friend, then you're not going to do so by worrying about your kids, whether they're young enough to put plastic coasters in their mouths or old enough to befriend the weirdos by the jukebox who keep putting "Pretty Young Thing" on repeat.
I won't even get into the safety issues posed when I'm toppling over your stroller or accidentally body-checking the baby strapped to your chest en route to the bathroom, or the fact that parents have complained to my friends that they smell like smoke or are using profanity. It's a bar! It's for alcohol, not niños.
Consider the single perspective, here. We do lots of things for parents -- give up our seat on the subway, ignore chair-kickers and screamers on planes and let little kids cut the bathroom line.
But just as I'm not allowed in Chuck E. Cheese because I'm over the age of 16 and not accompanying a child (no one will lend me one! What gives?), you probably shouldn't bring your kids to the place where I'm flirting with drunk guys because they're blind to my embittered homeliness and general inhumanity toward man.
You know how you love your kids and you're happy to have them? Maybe some of us single people want kids, too. And we'll never have them with that cute stranger drinking Asahi, because hearing the phrase "go potty" is a libido killer on par with "Grandpa's in the hospital."
Bottom line: I'm a single girl who works hard and likes her beer. (And her gin. And bourbon. Shut up.) You don't think I'd love to put my cat in a basket and take him to everywhere I go? I would. But I can't. It would be weird. And besides, he died three years ago, which, if I put him in my Prada tote, would be an even weirder libido killer. While I don't agree, I trust my shrink's opinion on this.
Single people have so little. You, on the other hand, have disposable income, friends you want to party with AND a family you love enough to drag everywhere. Great! Drag them to Applebee's, or pay someone $40 to keep them safe while you're on the stool next to the bitter single lady, and maybe she'll buy you a brewski.
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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.