Thursday, August 13, 2015
Last night, the boys surprised me with dinner at one of our favourite Italian restaurants. It was Eli's first time there, and we've been spending a lot of time pushing the notion that when we go to a "fancy restaurant" he has to behave himself - i.e. no roaming around, use your quiet voice, stay in your seat, eat your food. (To clarify, "fancy" = any establishment that doesn't provide cardboard antlers or chicken fingers on the menu and where cloth napkins are used.) Our prep work was successful and we enjoyed a delicious, calm, incident-free meal, the perfect midweek treat.
I am a big believer in bringing babies and kids along to do "adult" things and go to "adult" places - some locales notwithstanding, obvi; I wouldn't take Eli to the Dome or plop him on the treadmill next to me at the gym. But nice restaurants, art galleries, dinner parties, travelling - YES. One of my pet peeves is parents bemoaning their lack of a social life because of their decision to have children. "We can't take any more trips since we had kids!" "We only eat at McDonald's these days because that's the only thing Logan likes." "I don't have time to go to the gym anymore because I'm so busy with the kids."
I'm firmly in the camp that when you have children, they can - and will - adapt to your lifestyle, for better or worse. You don't need to give up the things you love when you have a baby. Instead, it's an opportunity to introduce your new little person to your favourite things, experiences, places, foods. In our case, we've tried to include Eli whenever it's appropriate, and for the most part, it's worked out well. We traveled to Jamaica and Boston as a family of three, and recently we've started talking about taking him to Europe. We take him to "grown up" get-togethers, he comes with us to coffee shops and pubs and he's cheered me on during every race I've run since he was born.
I feel like when you give up the things you love "for the kids", it actually benefits no one (unless, of course, you're giving up your pack-a-day habit or your crack addiction or whatevs). You stop working out to spend more time with your children, but as a result you become unhealthier and more stressed because you no longer have that outlet. You quit going to book club and suddenly you realize you've only talked to your spouse and your children during the past several weeks. You don't do date night anymore because getting a sitter is such a hassle and the next thing you know, you're pooping with the bathroom door open because who even cares anymore. It pains and irritates me to no end when I see parents just completely letting everything go "because of the kids". You are still you.