Maternal Mental Health Month Day 5

Cinco de Mayo…with kids?

Remember before you had children and you would go to Cinco de Mayo happy hour or a party at a friend’s house?  Often having children can create a dynamic where one parent is left home and out of these events or both view these types of events as off limits now because they have children.  This can cause resentment or feelings of isolation and loss in a marriage.  Babysitters are nice but not always economically possible and sometimes leaving kids with a sitter is more work then bringing them along if you are breastfeeding.

More and more places are kid friendly these days.  Formerly typical “adult only” environments such as nice restaurants and wineries are now places you will see kids playing and eating while their parents enjoy some adult time.  Want to go play pool, most bowling alleys have pool tables also now so the kids can bowl and you can play pool nearby.  Places you might be anxious about bringing your children often welcome the kids with small giveaway items, having games available or tvs on.  With the weather getting nicer, cookouts and parties will become more common.  However, kids and parties…do they mix?

Start by asking the question.  Rather then asking “Can I bring my kids?” which would cause your host to have to say no to a personal question, ask “Is the party adults only?”  This is a more general and less personal way of asking the same question.  Now the host is not saying “no” to YOUR kids but is saying yes to the party being just for adults across the board.  If the host is allowing kids, ask if there are any other kids coming and any the same age range as your children.  If not, consider asking if you can bring your child’s (well behaved) friend along as a playmate.  Think ahead on food, toys, and games, to bring with you.  Make sure not to bring things that are messy or potentially damaging to the host’s house (such as crayons).  And be responsible when it comes to recreational drug or alcohol use.  Make sure the environment is appropriate for your children and that you are being responsible in your own use in order to best supervise your children.

If children are not allowed at the party (or if you’d rather not bring them), consider splitting time with your partner.  One person takes the kids out to dinner and a store for a couple hours while the other goes to the party and then switch.  The other person takes the kids home for bedtime while parent 1 goes to the party.  It may not be as much fun as if you were there together but it would allow for childless relaxation time for each of you which is often much needed.

Remember, having a child (or two or three) does not mean your social life has to end.  It also does not mean your child has to stay home.  Sometimes a babysitter is the right answer but sometimes you just have to think outside the box, ask the right questions and be creative.

About Carpe Diem Counseling LLC

I am a licensed clinical social worker whose practice specializes in working with women (and their families) during the pregnancy and postpartum time period. Please contact me if you believe you or someone in your life is experiencing a Perinatal or Postpartum mental health issue. I also work with any adults experiencing a life change and struggling with the challenges and adjustments they are encountering. Addressing our struggles in life happens one day at a time. There is no wrong time to get help.
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