An Open Letter to Our Friends With/Without Children
By Chelsea Irvine & Jamee Villa
Chelsea and Jamee write open letters to their friends with and without children respectively.
They are candid and they don’t hold back. All differences aside, these two friends agree, parent or not it is about supporting each other.
Dear Friends With Children:
First, let me get this out of the way… Yes, your kid is the cutest one I’ve seen. Ever. Please don’t tell any of my other parent friends. Ok, now down to business.
I’ve wanted to write this to get a few things out in the open.
I know you assume I think you’re an asshole now that your life revolves around chasing a drunken munchkin version of yourself everywhere all day.
I realize that having your child is the most amazing experience of your life. The moment you saw that screaming pile of goo was the most incredible moment of your life.
I get it.
I’m just over here trying to wrap my mind around the fact that you birthed a giant sludge ball. But thankfully it grew out of that wrinkly old man phase and is pretty adorable now.
Now, about that kid of yours.
I realize your life changed the moment you found out you were knocked up and now your life has been turned upside down. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that.
I’m proud of you for growing as a person and you’ve become more caring, understanding and mildly more responsible because of your parenthood. (Don’t worry, I am picking up the irresponsibility slack and making them all doubles in your honor. Even on Tuesdays. In the early afternoon.)
I know that now our porch wine sessions will most often be at your place, where toys and changes of clothes and secret bribery candy is easily accessible.
I prefer it that way. My house has sharp edges. Now that your child is mobile, I can’t help but be on edge most of your visit thinking that your little one might lose an eye to a coffee table, lose a finger to a bulldog mouth or accidentally knock over our wine bottle. (We both know which of these would be the most devastating.)
I’m perfectly fine hanging at your place. I know your kid has a “witching hour”, and if you’re not within arms distance of a sleeping receptacle, there might be hell to pay. Trust me; I have a similar witching hour. Except my tantrum comes in the form of narcolepsy, and if I’m too far from my bed during that time (cough cough 10:00pm), I run the embarrassing risk of falling asleep in public. Again. #guilty
I realize plans get cancelled due to last minute ear infections. I know that sometimes our 10:00am coffee date might end up a 15 minute coffee handoff at 11:15 on the way to grandma’s house because the little one barfed on their first outfit and proceeded to poop on their second. It happens.
I will listen intently to your parenting issues and give you the best feedback my single girl self possibly can. You’d be surprised at how much I know about breastfeeding problems and changing diapers without a poo tsunami. (No, I will not change the next one.)
I am not upset that your rockin’ Friday night usually involves chardonnay and Dora and the Wiggles. (Are they still a thing?) Here’s a secret: Sometimes I wish I had a built in excuse to skip Friday happy hour and sit on my couch in my schleppy clothes. (Ok, since we are being honest, that last statement about Friday is a lie. But on Mondays and Tuesdays, eff yes I’d love to use the ol “the baby is having a Godzilla moment” excuse.)
To that, I want you to know that I will happily let you live vicariously through my single girl antics. I promise I will always share my dating experiences with you when you ask… The good (perfect date weekend adventures in the Bay, the surprise visits of handsome men from other cities or states); the bad (that time I got a random text from that one crazy guy’s “wife”, the surprise in the eyes of the River Cats beer cart guy as he realized I was 31 and my manpanion was 21); and the ugly (the time I received an invoice in the mail following dinner with one potential suitor).
I know you revel in the great times and a little piece of you thanks God you don’t have to deal with dating during the not so good times.
I promise to always be here for you, even when I don’t know what to say or how to say it. I promise I don’t judge you when your kid throws a fit while we’re at brunch. They have a very particular time limit, and I’m well aware. Trust me, while you were feeding the mini you tiny toast bites, I was pounding those endless bubbles like China’s economy depended on it, and I’m either a) ready for a change of location anyway or b) ready for a nap.
Things are going to be different for us, we both know it. I couldn’t be happier. I’m proud of you. I’m proud of that adorable little monster you’ve created and are molding into an amazing human being, and I’m excited we get to enjoy this ride together.
Auntie Chels will always be there for you both.
I’ll be there for a lifetime of birthday presents (as long as I don’t have to go to the parties) and hugs and cheers at their games. Especially soccer games. Can we make sure the little one likes soccer, please? I don’t even understand the rules of volleyball, and cheerleading is just too much for me.
I’ll be there to teach him/her to appreciate everything you do for them and to always say thank you. Even when they’re in that bitchy teen phase and I have to remind them that, yes, you and I were once that age and know exactly what they’re up to. Don’t worry, I won’t tell them too much. Oh, and as you expected, I will be happy to take him/her wine tasting for their 21st birthday.
I love you both and can’t wait to share more memories together. Over wine. At your house.
Dear Friends Without Children:
Lately, I’ve read a few public rants re: parents bringing their kids out to a restaurant/brewery. I’ve heard similar complaints from friends – and even witnessed it firsthand – but where did this entitlement and lack of compassion come from?
Let me start out by saying that not all kids are bad (obviously). Not all kids run around and scream and turn into total assholes right when they walk in the door. And most parents don’t let their children throw tantrums in public. We’re more annoyed than you, but sometimes things are out of our control. It’s like dealing with a drunk friend… all the time.
Sometimes we have to go places with these little people even if they may be totally losing it because we’re contributing members of society and have things to do, people to meet and better yet, wine to drink. Just because we have kids doesn’t mean that we have lost who we were pre-little’s. Except now, we have to carry a human being around along with our purse. Fun, right? Exactly.
Sometimes my husband and I just need to get out and that means bringing our daughter along. Because fun fact – hiring a sitter for a dinner out makes our tab jump an additional $50-$60. So my daughter is coming because I want a meal where I don’t have to do dishes and where I can indulge in an expensive (hopefully over-poured) glass of chardonnay. Bonus points for not having to vacuum the crumbs on the floor. Don’t worry, we tip well.
Not to mention, I want my daughter to have some social skills. Okay, that’s funny. Have you met me and my husband? Seriously, she’ll need people skills, manners, etiquette – and she’s not going to learn it tucked away in our home every night. Wouldn’t you prefer we all raise socially responsible and well-mannered human beings? And that process takes practice for mini-humans.
Look, kids weren’t for me in my previous lifetime. I recall telling my family that I was pregnant and many of them said to me, “I thought you don’t like kids?”
Umm no – I just like kids that are mine. You too may get to this point (if/when you decide to have kids) so tone down the kid hating and send us over a drink…(”Trust me, we need it.”) Parenting is hard, but we chose this life so I am not looking for any pity parties. I just want some damn respect and understanding.
And give it a few minutes. She’ll eventually chill out and make you laugh, smile and maybe, you’ll realize not all kids are assholes.
Here are a few tips that have helped us keep our cool while taking our daughter out:
- Stuff your purse with goodies before leaving the house. Crayons, quiet toys, books or better yet their favorite treat. Goldfish for the win!
- Order bread immediately, Kids love carbs and food in their mouth means they aren’t screaming.
- If your child gets rowdy, take them outside for a breath of fresh air, let them smell the roses and firmly tell them to get their act together or else…
- Only go to places where the staff recognizes you, fast and fun service, where it’s loud, where they put a rush on that kiddie grilled cheese and better yet, where they don’t have carpet. Shout out to, 33rd Bistro on Folsom!
- Don’t give up and get frustrated especially with your partner. Be consistent, be firm and don’ t be afraid to down that glass of wine and get the food to go. You can’t win every battle.