Leavers and non-drinkers.

Ok, I know this is one of the most tired topics in the entire world, but my kid is new, so you basically have to hear all of it all over again.

Another restaurant, this one in Pennsylvania, has banned children. Well, not all children, but children under six. I don’t see why this is still making news, because it’s happened before and isn’t exactly a novel idea anymore, but there you have it.

I was discussing it on Twitter with some people yesterday, and everyone I was talking to was totally in favor of the idea, because they are sane individuals, like myself, at least where restaurants and children are concerned.

However, I did see someone this morning saying that they thought that banning children from a restaurant was “disgusting.” Because… I don’t know why. Because children should be welcome everywhere? Because your children should be welcome everywhere? Because sometimes you want to go places that aren’t child appropriate but have no one to watch your kids while you go, so you have to take them with you, and if they were banned, you wouldn’t get to go where you want to go?

As far as I can tell, it comes down to that last reason, combined with the fact that some people really believe that their children are a delight, universally loved by everyone and no. No, they’re not. Really. REALLY.

Even though we have a kid, and have for two months now, basically making us experts, Phil and I are still firmly of the belief that there are places where children do not belong. Example – we’re both huge Harry Potter fans, but we didn’t go to see a midnight showing of the movie for two reasons. One, Penny doesn’t belong in a midnight movie. Two, we had already been asleep for three and a half hours.

I don’t doubt, though, that there were a bunch of babies and small children at different midnight showings around the country, and I think it’s probably because the parents just couldn’t wrap their minds around denying themselves something because of the baby. No, it’s definitely best to take the small kid along and possibly ruin the experience for everyone, because it definitely wouldn’t be fair if you had to miss it just because you have a kid.

Phil and I are also agreed upon the fact that we are definitely Leavers. You know, if you’re in a store or restaurant and your kid starts being a total shit, you leave. Leavers. Well, in a restaurant, first you can try taking them outside and walking them around a little bit before you leave, but assholery of the kind that will not be rewarded with a dinner out in public ends in Leaving. To go boxes or cancelled orders or whatever. Full cart in the store? Fine.

And don’t give me that “just wait til you’re actually IN the situation” shit like with the shopping cart thing. We still put our shopping carts away, and we would absolutely leave a restaurant or store if Penny was acting up in a way that was making everyone else in the whole place miserable, or, when she’s older, acting in a way that isn’t in line with the behavior we expect from her, whether or not she is disturbing everyone.

Something I heard ALL THE TIME as a waitress: A kid is just throwing this huge fit at the table, or throwing food, or knocking shit over, and the parent says to me, “Just ignore him. He’s only doing it for attention.”

THEN TAKE HIM HOME AND GIVE HIM SOME, DAMN.

I totally get that it would ruin a nice night out for Phil and I as well. And I totally get that leaving a full cart is embarrassing and having to come back later would be a total pain in the ass. And I AM bummed that we haven’t seen Harry Potter yet, and won’t get to experience it with all the rabid super fans (we’re going to the drive in to see it). But the difference between us and the people who don’t remove their poorly behaved children, or who show up to places and events that are clearly not for children is that we’re completely aware that “fairness” doesn’t come into play at all anymore.

Honestly, I just can’t think of why some parents are insistent on bringing their children to events where they clearly don’t belong or are actually totally unwelcome, other than the fact that they themselves don’t want to miss out, and can’t wrap their minds around the idea of having to pass on some of the more awesome events because they can’t leave their kids. Which, in my mind, comes down to “It’s not FAIR that YOU get to go and I DON’T, just because I have a kid, so I’m bringing him. Then it’s FAIR.” And that’s my generous assumption. The other assumption would be that someone is so self-absorbed and so self-important that they truly do not give a shit about the experience of others and are perfectly fine ruining it as long as they get to go where and do what they want, when they want.

Anyway, I’m annoyed just talking about it. Phil and I are Leavers and we will see Harry Potter at the drive in with the windows closed and Penny in the back, and don’t give me that “just wait until it’s you in the situation” crap because I am TELLING YOU – we’d leave.

Whatever. Here’s my kid.

Got a hot lead on a job as a mannequin at Penney’s.

I don’t know if you know this, Internet, but I don’t drink. At all. And you know, it’s kind of super awkward, and weirdly, it was only more awkward when I was pregnant and now breastfeeding.

When you’re with a bunch of people who are drinking, most of the time it is not even a thing if you order a diet soda instead of alcohol, but there are always those situations where there are one or two people who don’t seem to have progressed much past college age, who want everyone to drink because drinking is how you have a good time.

Those people will generally encourage you to come on! Just have one drink with us! And I say, I am having a drink and my drink is diet soda. But no, no, that’s not enough, it has to be alcohol to be a drink, and I say, well, I don’t drink.

With pregnancy and breastfeeding, there is always someone who wants to jump in and tell you, “You can have a drink you know. It’s okay to go ahead and have one.” Or to tell you about pumping and dumping, or what have you. And I reply, well, I don’t drink, soooo… “BUT YOU CAN HAVE ONE. IT’S FIIIIINE.”

Yeah, I don’t drink. So, no.

But you have to be careful when you say, “I don’t drink,” because that sentence leads to assumptions.

Assumption 1: I’m anti-alcohol and I’m sitting here, drinking my diet soda, and JUDGING YOU as you have a margarita or two.

Not true! I do not give half a crap if you choose to drink. Please, go ahead. Drink! I just don’t. I’m not anti-alcohol. I’m anti-me-having alcohol. As in, I won’t have any. You go ahead. I don’t care. You will not convince me to drink with you, but you go on with your bad self. Get a little crazy. Wear a leopard cowboy hat and “Woooo!” a little. I’ll watch.

Assumption 2: I am a recovering alcoholic.

Also not true! I’ve never had a problem with alcohol, other than the problems I have with people who continually try to cajole me into drinking alcohol after I’ve politely said, “No, thank you.”

What I need is an easy, polite way to convey that I don’t drink, without having people jump to either of those conclusions.

In most situations, it’s not necessary. Someone asks what I’m drinking, I say diet soda, and we all move on. But you know the people I’m talking about. The ones who kind of push for everyone to join in on the alcohol consumption, because they’ve associated alcohol with having a good time? Those people always push me to the point that I find myself needing a polite and firm way of saying, “I don’t drink.”

“I don’t drinkon it’s own should be enough, but it’s not always, because of the assumptions above. I don’t want anyone to be uncomfortable drinking AROUND me – I really am perfectly happy with diet soda and have zero investment in what anyone else drinks.

And look, I get that there’s nothing to be ashamed of about being an alcoholic in recovery, and I’m sorry if I offend anyone, but I’d really rather people not assume that I am or was an alcoholic. Because I’m not. And never was. So while I have nothing against alcoholics (which is a stupid thing to say, because, come on – I’m just being polite here), I don’t think it’s fair that I should allow myself to be thought of as an alcoholic or recovering alcoholic just because it’s easier than trying to get a VERY SIMPLE CONCEPT through to some people.

“But you used to drink! You drank that time, remember?” I do remember. I did used to drink. I also used to poop in my pants, but I gradually stopped doing that, too.

I don’t drink because I don’t like it. There is absolutely no alcoholic beverage that I prefer over the taste of diet soda. Diet soda is less expensive. I don’t feel like shit the next morning after drinking a little too much diet soda. And I hate – HATE – the feeling of being drunk. I hate it. Even slightly tipsy. I can’t stand it. I don’t even drink the alcoholic beverages in WoW – a VIDEO GAME – because the drunk effect is too realistic for me.

So I don’t want to lie (I’m allergic to alcohol, I have to get up early, I’m donating my liver tomorrow, etc), and I don’t want people to assume things. There’s got to be a way to say “I don’t drink” that doesn’t make anyone uncomfortable, doesn’t make anyone think I have a problem with alcohol, and shuts down the nagging to “just have one!”

I don’t know that there really is a way, though. Internet, you should know – some people just don’t drink. Even if they used to. No, not just one. None. Zero drinks. No judging, just no alcohol. Really. None at all. I can, I’m just not going to.

Be a peach and really get in my neck rolls, would you?

148 thoughts on “Leavers and non-drinkers.

  1. Kristina

    I could not agree more. There is a person in my life who does not understand the concept that having kids requires sacrifices. She still wants to do whatever she wants, so she volunteers, has a second job (which she says is “for fun” b/c god knows it doesn’t make her any money), goes out with friends at least once a week, is involved in Ladie’s Auxillary stuff, plus works full time and now says she does it all b/c she “is a mom and deserves some time to herself.” Well, I don’t see how you can need a break from being a mom when you DON’T HAVE TIME TO BE A MOM BECAUSE OF ALL YOUR EXTRA ACTIVITIES.

    Ahem. Sorry for the tangent. Anyway! Yes, being a parent sometimes means you don’t get to do exactly what you want to do. Deal with it. Business owners have the right to ban kids, and I’m sure it greatly helps their business. And no one deserves to have someone else’s ill-behaved children forced upon them.

    TJ Reply:

    I think Phil and I really would like to stick as close to our former lives as possible and just work Penny INTO it, but we are definitely aware that a lot of stuff will be sacrificed – especially “breaks.” Heh.

    Kristina Reply:

    Oh, I totally agree about working your kids into your life. I think that being a parent adds another dimension to who you are and (hopefully) just enriches everything else. I really hope I didn’t come off completely douchy and insinuate that I think people should put their lives and everything they enjoy on hold because they have kids. TOTALLY didn’t mean that. Just this one specific person spends A LOT of time away from her kids, which I have a little bit of a problem with. Time away is good for any parent, spending 80% of your time away is not okay with me.

  2. Linnea Welch

    I am a fan of booze, but also hate feeling drunk. I have a “only a sip or two of certain stuff because I don’t like the taste of most alcohol and also hate feeling drunk” friend and a “Wild Cherry Pepsi Thankyouverymuch and I’m neither a judger or a recovering alcoholic” friend. They’re both PLENTY of fun to hang out with, even at places where people are drinking. Which is to say, you’re in good company in your “no thank you, diet soda please” category.

    TJ Reply:

    Thankfully, most people – the vast majority – are totally fine with, “diet soda, thanks.”

  3. Meghan

    As someone who went to the midnight showing last night, I was wondering that exact thing, if anybody brought their babies along. I’m sure it happened.

    And I agree about the people who bring their misbehaving kids to a place like a nice restaurant and then don’t leave when they act up! Maybe leave them with a babysitter for a few hours the next time, you know?

    TJ Reply:

    I think it’s definitely a case of knowing your kid. You should leave them with a babysitter if you know they just can’t handle being out for dinner in public. Some can’t, you know? And definitely take them out if a normally good kid is just losing his fool mind at the table.

    Lisa Reply:

    Nice restaurant, nothing. I don’t care if it’s McDonald’s, in the play area. It’s not a ZOO, your children aren’t FERAL, and if they are take them home. My younger sister was one of those “act up when shopping” kids, and we left cart after cart of stuff (although we always made sure a clerk knew right away, and apologized). LEA-VERS. And she grew out of it.
    My husband and I are the same way with our kids. But 99% of the time we can take them anywhere and not worry- British Museum? No worry! 8 hour flight? (admittedly hard to leave) fine! Fancy meal? Yes. Because you bring quiet activities and plan it so they’ve napped. DUH. Other people have paid money to be there and I would be pissed if MY night got ruined, so extend them the same courtesy.

  4. deanna

    Yes! Completely agree!

    And um… perhaps you are available to come over for dinner and explain these concepts to my extended family?

  5. thanksmngmt

    Thank you for being a leaver!! Or simply a not go-er!! Can you believe people actually brought their 2 under 7yr old children to a showing of The Hang over 2??
    We are leavers ourselves! And follow through people, which is nice b/c our child knows his role and isn’t that kid causing a seen at the Olive Garden! He is the type that leads to other people feeling the need to come up to us and tell us what a well behaved child he is. I think it is really sad that there are that many fit throwing kids in places they don’t belong that grown adults feel the need to compliment the parents of the quiet pleasant ones! Enjoy your movie @ the drive in!

    Kioryn Reply:

    OMG this happens every time I go to the movies. Now mind you, I remember my ex convincing me to go see one of the “crap” (maybe the first one) Star Wars movies when my daughter was like 2.

    She freaked out due to the noise (obviously), and he left the theater with her, so that I could watch the rest of it. Of course come to find out, he’d already seen it with friends. But still, I was a leaver/no go’er when my kids were small.

    Now that they’re grown, we all get annoyed when some toddler is screaming while we’re watching an ADULT movie. Just this weekend, we had toddlers in the theater while we watched Horrible Bosses. Seriously parents? You thought THAT WOULD BE A GOOD IDEA?

  6. Mama Bub

    I’m a leaver! And I’ve just accepted that there are some things we’re going to miss because we have children. Going to movies is one of them. We either get a sitter or see it on DVD. Yes, I would very much like to go see Harry Potter, like RIGHT NOW, but I can’t. Because I have children. This is also why I don’t eat in quiet, dimly lit restaurants. What I REALLY don’t understand, beyond ruining the experience for other people, is ruining the experience for yourself. Are you so able to tune out your own children that it’s even WORTH sitting through a movie/dinner/whatever with them?

    Chaninn Reply:

    Yes, some people can tune out their children to the point the all of the adults are yelling to have a conversation because the children are being loud/annoying.
    I was hanging out with 2 other couples one evening and the children were so piercingly loud that I couldn’t hear any conversation from my friend next to me. I asked the parent (of 2 under5 children) to please quiet them down because I was getting a headache and she said “Oh, I guess they are getting kinda loud, I hadn’t noticed.”

    I don’t understand how anyone can ignore headache inducing noise levels for any length of time.

    Mama Bub Reply:

    This is CRAZY to me, because I’m always worried that my kids are bothering someone.

  7. Kirsty

    So with you on both of these points… We always chose child-friendly restaurants when the girls were small and I remember walking out of the IKEA cafeteria (the high life, I is living it) with a squawking 4-year-old about an inch from ordering food. So, yeah. Leavers rule!
    As for the alcohol thing – I don’t “not drink”, but I don’t really “drink” either. I mean, I live alone with my girls and never touch a drop (I’m a big Diet Coke fan too! And Diet Tonic!) from one week to the next, but if I actually go OUT somewhere, of an EVENING say (which happens roughly twice a year, seriously), I can be persuaded to partake of an alcoholic beverage or two, but never more because I, too, loathe being drunk or even tipsy.
    What makes it hard is that I live in France and I DON’T LIKE WINE. Yeah, try putting that one across without sounding like a dork. I like sweet drinks (liqueurs, for example, or Baileys) and HATE wine. This always goes down spectacularly well, as you can imagine. My one saving grace – I can just blame it on my Britishness. That’s the only solution I’ve found so far!
    Oh, and I see that Penny continues to be adorable…!

  8. Larita

    Amen on the “missing out” thing. I cannot stand people who have children and expect life to go on as if they didn’t have children. You have a child and no matter how well-behaved that child is, there are simply things that you CANNOT do with a small child. Suck it up and get over yourself. Parenthood is all about self-sacrifice, that’s just the way it is – if you don’t like that concept, DON’T HAVE CHILDREN. Anyway, you already ranted, so I don’t need to :D But, yes, well said. In fact, so well said that I was starting to get all cranky and steamy just reading because I feel the exact same way.

  9. Becky

    Ugh. I feel like if they are nagging you should get to make some sort of sarcastic remark to shut them up, but I can’t even think of something like that. I guess I would just keep saying “No, thank you, I don’t drink” to them. With a more and more forceful tone. Could you say “I prefer not to drink”? Would that alleviate the asking in some way, as it’s clear that you know you COULD, but you are CHOOSING not to? Annoying. People need to just stop being so pushy.

  10. Sarah Lena

    1) We are also Leavers. Unapologetically. Because when my children are older and I CAN dine without them? I don’t want some other little shit ruining my meal. Especially when they’re NOT mine and I CAN’T discipline them. We have two phases: a) “do I have to take you to the bathroom?” – this is a holdover from my childhood and believe me, you DON’T WANT TO GO to the bathroom and then b) we pay our bill, overtip, and LEAVE. Not only does it leave everyone else to enjoy their meal, but it drives home to our kids that WE WILL NOT TAKE YOUR SHIT IN PUBLIC.

    2. My husband also does not drink and also goes through the same thing you do. His answers vary from “I’m a recovering alcoholic” (he’s not) to “Alcohol killed my mother” while sobbing (it did not).

    3. Penny is the got-durn cutest thing evar.

    PinkieBling Reply:

    Your husband is HILARIOUS. I’m scared to ask but … what happens in the bathroom?

  11. Vogt

    I lol’d at this: “But you used to drink! You drank that time, remember?” I do remember. I did used to drink. I also used to poop in my pants, but I gradually stopped doing that, too.”

    If I were ever to google “how to win an argument” that example should appear at the top of the list.

  12. Ale

    Lol, “be a peach and get behind the neck rolls.” I love it. now if you could just throw in behind the knees for free. My daughter just had those dimple knees with the rolls behind. She reminded me of a mini Sumo wrestler. I would hold her over my legs and make her walk as if to crush the folks of Tokyo and yell, “oh no, it’s Godzilla!!! run for your lives!” Crushing noises included.

    Jo Reply:

    +1

  13. Amanda

    I am a leaver also. Misbehave? To the car you go. Easy as that, and the kids know it will happen. I will pack them up and head home quicker than they can dry up those tears.

    Along those lines of keeping kids at home – one more thing drives me crazy. People who say “You need a date night. NEED IT.” Well, genius, who is keeping the kids? My kids have grandparents but one set has no time, the other is our go-to all of the time. Well, mostly when one is sick or our during the work hours babysitter can’t be there. I refuse to dump my kids all of the time on one set of people. Won’t. do. it. Our marriage has survived for 14 years, I think we are ok.

    We don’t drink either. Get some weird looks, but whatever. People that really know me understand not to push an issue in my face. I don’t give into peer pressure at all. Guilt trips don’t work, either. Go ahead with your drunk self and I’ll call you when the kids get up at 6am in the morning. LOL!

  14. Shawndra

    I need to copy this out and remove the cuteness that is Penny from it. The person I want to share this with would get lost in those neck wrinkles and never get the point. :(

  15. Chris

    We are also leavers and just plain not-goers. Having children means sacrifice and I am ok with that. I can’t understand people who are proud of taking their infant to midnight movie premieres and bars to hear bands. That is nothing to be proud of you idiots! You don’t look cool, you look pathetic, IMO.

    Does it help if you say you just don’t like the taste of alcohol? I would totally respect your choice either way. If you choose not to drink and I do, I never thought the non-drinker might be judging me. I guess I don’t give a crap.

  16. Tracey

    Ugh. What awful assumptions to choose from. Do you think tweaking the language would change people’s inferences? Maybe instead of ‘I don’t drink’ (which apparently gets heard as ‘I can’t drink’) you could use ‘I prefer Diet Coke’? It doesn’t sound judgey in my head, and it loses that don’t/can’t confusion. And you could say it in a British accent like a really bad commercial, which might create all sorts of new and much more interesting tangents.

  17. Natalie

    And this, TJ, is why we love you :)

    I have some friends who are definite leavers. They are our favorite parental friends.

    I also don’t drink, but I don’t get bothered about it a lot. I think you should tell people you are donating your liver. Drunk people would totally believe that. Believe it or not, I get peer pressure about Chinese food. I don’t hate it, but I hate how it makes me feel when I eat it, so I just don’t. My husband and our close friends love it.

  18. Emily

    Can I just say that Penny is SUPER adorable and I think I like you even MORE know that you said you are leavers. We are totally leavers. Our daughter is 3. Typically we go to family friendly places where is she loses it for a second it’s not a biggie. But I have hauled her tiny butt out of places and let my husband get the check and to go boxes. I would rather get looks because I’m hauling her out than because she is making a disaster at the table.

  19. Delicia

    Re: Kids – absolutely 100% agree on everything you said. We are Leavers and Not-Takers.

    For the drinking thing, I rarely drink alcohol because I only like sweet froo-froo drinks like Pina Coladas or fuzzy navels, and even then I only like one or two maybe every 6 months. Since most places you go can’t/won’t make those, and I’m cheap and don’t want to pay for them anyway, I drink water (I don’t drink pop). If people ask me, I just honestly tell them I don’t like the taste of most alcohol, esp beer (EWW). Most people accept it with no problem.

  20. Fyurae

    “But the difference between us and the people who don’t remove their poorly behaved children, or who show up to places and events that are clearly not for children is that we’re completely aware that “fairness” doesn’t come into play at all anymore.”

    Should be changed to…

    “But the difference between us and the people who don’t remove their poorly behaved children, or who show up to places and events that are clearly not for children is that we’re RESPONSIBLE PARENTS AND NOT SELF CENTERED PEOPLE WHO PUT THEMSELVES FIRST AND HAVE NO BUSINESS RAISING A HUMAN BEING.”

    Also, I am a non-drinker myself. But I have it pretty easy because I can give a whole bunch of conversation-ending reasons why. The two best being that four people in my close family were problem alcoholics, and I take anti-depressants. Those always end all cajoling.

  21. Kate

    We are leavers, definitely. DEFINITELY.

    But on the takers/no-takers thing, we vary. My older child – just short of four – is extremely well behaved in restaurants. She sits and eats and converses like a person, orders off the real menu, and if she occasionally drops food on the floor, I pick it up. I don’t take her to fancy-schmancy date type places, or to bars, or midnight showings of Harry Potter. But I do take her to normal, not necessarily kid-centered restaurants (and other public venues) and it irritates me when people give me a look for doing so, without waiting to see how she behaves.

    Although given the behavior of other children I see, I don’t really blame restaurants for banning them. I don’t like it, but it doesn’t get me super worked up, either – I recognize that it’s their right.

  22. Swistle

    When I didn’t drink, I had great success with saying “I just don’t like the FEELING.” And if people pressed, just because they were curious (because they DO like the feeling, so they’re wondering what it’s like to be me), I didn’t mind explaining that alcohol made my muscles sore and made me a little queasy, and I didn’t get any pleasant buzz feeling from it. Then everyone was just like Oh, BUMMMER! and everything moves on.

    I think what makes people keep PRESSING is when they don’t understand, and when they want to find out what the situation is (i.e., if you ARE a recovering alcoholic they want to be sensitive to that; if you ARE judging them they want to be aware of it; if you’re the designated driver they want to REALLY get started on the shots; etc.). They’ve found the same with babies in psych studies: the babies will look at something longer if it doesn’t make sense.

    And with some stuff, of course it’s no one’s RIGHT to know: but I don’t MIND them knowing, and I empathize with the curiosity, and it makes things EASIER for everyone, so I go ahead and tell them the reason. If it were a more personal reason (e.g., “When I drink I end up having sex with strangers”), I would make up a reason like my actual reason about muscle soreness.

    Lara Reply:

    Haaa, oh Swistle. I’m using “When I drink I end up having sex with strangers” the next time I don’t feel like drinking. HA.

  23. Diane

    I am so mad this baby decided he was going to go and come early, because we totally would have been able to leave the girls with my mom for the night to go be with the crazies for Harry Potter. Alas, it was not to be. SO WE AREN’T GOING. Oh well. (It’s so awesome that you guys have a drive in. I would be ALL OVER a drive in.)

    It’s entitlement, is what it is. Always with the entitlement.

  24. Simone

    The neck-rolls caption made me laugh out loud at my desk…. adorable kid and funny-as-hell mom.

  25. Julie

    Not to sound incredibly old here, but I think with age you will find less people judging you when you say you don’t drink. I found after going through my cancer treatment, I completely lost any taste for alcoholic beverages. I don’t know, maybe I am just crazy, or it is just the people I do or do not hang around, but nobody ever really notices when everyone orders a drink except me. Many weekends, several nurses go out to breakfast specifically to places that serve alcohol in the morning, and everyone (3-6 people) else but me will order a drink, and I happily order Diet Coke.

    With the children in public, I found it was just one of my THINGS. I had a severe aversion to children who acted ridiculously in public, and from a young age (2 or so, as soon as they had a grasp on right and wrong) my kids knew that misbehaving in public was a HUGE NO. I think every parent has their own THINGS that they stress, for me, them acting appropriately in public was one of mine. I had no problem taking them outside or to the bathroom, or even leaving, but I would Never have stayed and just let them act like brats unchecked.

  26. Lara

    I don’t have kids, so everyone assumes I fall into the “kid-free restaurants yahoo” camp and they’re mostly right.

    For nice places. If I go to Burger King or even Red Robin or something like that, I’m not there for a fine dining, low stress experience. Super OK with kids being there. But we don’t go out for dinner a lot. We have a budget (like everyone) and eating out isn’t a big thing for us. So when I do, I want to enjoy it and don’t feel bad saying a screaming kid or a kid running around the restaurant stressing out the wait staff is not enjoyable. Ditto vacations. I look for hotels/condos that are adult only because I think kids on vacation are cute and awesome and I was one once, but MY idea of a vacation is reading quietly by the pool time and not CANNONBALLLLLLLLL! etc. I do enjoy watching them play in the sand and stuff on the beach, but I will choose when I want that and when I want peace and quiet. That doesn’t mean I hate kids. It means I like my expensive vacation to be what I consider to be A Vacation.

    I have a hard time with people who say “Well, why shouldn’t *I* be able to enjoy XYZ, just because I have a kid?” This is one of those THINGS you were supposed to consider when deciding whether to have kids or not. There should be an application questionnaire: “Are you willing to give up on some activities you currently enjoy, yes or no?” If the answer is No, well then. Application DENIED.

    I wish all parents were like you and Phil. For real. You guys should give lessons.

    Also, drinking. I like a drink or two, but most of the time it’s just that – one or two. I don’t want to get drunk and then watch tv or try to read. I like to relax with a drink and then move on to something else. Even my boyfriend will sometimes say to me “Oh, it’s FRIDAY! Have another one!” and I’m like, no, really. I wanted A Drink. I did not want to get Drunk. What difference does it make what day it is?

  27. Christen

    My parents were total Leavers/Not Goers (at least not with me in tow) and you know what it did? It made going out FUN for all of us because it was a treat for me so I sure as hell wasn’t going to be a dick and they weren’t anxious all the time.

    I’d probably take the “no babies at a midnight movie” a step further to, uh, maybe no babies at movies period? I mean, babies cry at random intervals, right? So they’re just as likely to be awake and fussy at a matinee as at a midnight show…maybe? Sorry, my asshole-childfree (for now) ways are showing.

    Next time someone pushes you to have “just one drink COME ON” (who are these afterschool special rejects anyway?) calmly reply that you’re currently on antibiotics to treat a venereal disease so you have to pass for now. Double points if you say this with Phil next to you, smiling away. Super extra points if you say it while nursing Penny.

    hydrogeek Reply:

    This reply is a thing of beauty. I do drink from time to time, but not very often, and I think I am TOTALLY stealing the venereal disease line for those occasions when I don’t want to drink and some asshat is being pushy.

    Jessica Reply:

    I have two kids and I totally agree with no babies at movies EVER. We tried bringing our daughter to Avatar when she was little (couldn’t yet walk, so couldn’t run away). The noise scared her and she made that known. Loudly. We left and will never again try to take little kids to a movie. I even rejected the idea of going to the Winnie the Pooh movie this weekend because I don’t care if everyone else’s kids are there, too, if mine is acting up it stresses me out.

  28. Brooke

    Six stars out of 5 on the “Leavers” commentary. I wholeheartedly agree. My husband and I absolutely would be leavers, too. My parents were leavers/not goers/turn the car arounders, and I assure you it only took one time being pulled away from the crayons at my table at Po Folks to correct that behavior. Sure, I’m sure my parents were embarrassed, but they certainly were not going to allow us to not have manners at a table, whether it be at our home or a restaurant.

    Also, with the people who think their kids should be everywhere. They should not. Personally, I don’t even feel they should be at weddings – fancy dinners with adults up late and dancing? You wouldn’t take them to a night club. Or maybe some people would.

    Have you tried just saying “I don’t care for alcohol?” I can agree that it’s an odd concept, but I would hope I’d be more understanding of a simple, “no thank you.” I have a friend who doesn’t drink for the same reason as you, and it’s not an issue. Every now and then, she wants to taste my wine just to see if maybe that glass doesn’t taste as foul to her as others have, but I’ve never seen her order a drink of her own.

  29. Carrie

    We’re Not-Takers. We are very careful when we go out to eat with the kids that it’s somewhere with a kids’ menu, because it is therefore assumed that children may be present in the restaurant. Of course, our kids VERY rarely act up when we’re out, but if they do, my husband will march them straight outside without a word while I get the check or finish paying for the groceries or whatever.

    I totally do not get people who don’t understand that there are places that are appropriate for children and places that are NOT appropriate for children. Quite a few years ago I used to hang out at the bar a block over with some people from work from time to time. They had pool and I’d have a drink or two and then head home. I think it was the last time I went there, one of the guys’ daughter shows up. WITH HER BABY. IN THE BAR. And this wasn’t a classy bar, either, this was bordering on a dive. And she thought it would be fine to bring her baby there.

    I am still boggled by that one.

  30. Melissa

    “The other assumption would be that someone is so self-absorbed and so self-important that they truly do not give a shit about the experience of others and are perfectly fine ruining it as long as they get to go where and do what they want, when they want.”

    I think this is more often the case than not. Sadly. I LOVE that you’re a fellow leaver and no-go-er. I hear about all these people that take their children on tropical vacations and I cannot imagine how NOT FUN that is unless of course they brought all the nannies also.

  31. Elaine Oriol

    I Totally agree with you. Having raised four, we were not likely to take the kids into a fancy restaurant – more like Shakey’s Pizza or Mcdonalds. As they grew older, and I was a single parent, when we went to a restaurant, it was understood that if they got rowdy, they didn’t get to go with me the next time we went out to eat – worked like a charm.

    Regarding the drinking, I know if I have more than one drink a massive migraine is on the way. I really don’t care if anyone around me understands that – my family never pushes me – they know better. lol Love the pictures of my precious great-grandbaby – keep them coming.

  32. Tempest

    Aughhhh, people drive me crazy. I understand your strife with not drinkig alcohol — I’m vegetarian and people react like I will picket outside their houses if they eat meat in front of me. Eat it! Enjoy it! Just don’t make me taste it. I have to go through a whole explanation that I’m vegetarian because I don’t like the taste, not because I’m all “save the animals” and believe that what they’re doing is evil.

    Besides, I have friends who just don’t like the taste of alcohol. I do, but I accept that they don’t like it. I won’t make you drink if you don’t make me eat meat. It’s a deal then.

    Also, thank you for subscribing to the philosophy of leaving. I can’t tell you how many times a visit to a restaurant or shopping excursion or movie has been ruined by someone else’s kid. I don’t blame the kid as much as I blame the parent — if the kid doesn’t want to be there, take it somewhere else! Just don’t subject me to the wailing/screaming/kicking.

    My mom apparently was a leaver, too. Though she stopped having to leave restaurants when she discovered that my baby-self just wanted to be the centerpiece of the table. O___o I was a weird kid.

  33. Kayley M.

    Oh, thank you for this. We are leavers, too. Ava’s not quite 3 months yet, so it hasn’t been a real problem yet, but I have done lots of nannying and any misbehaving got the child buckled in his car seat for a time out, if it happened again we left.

    And, I am also a non-drinker. It helps that my husband is also a non-drinker, we can say “We don’t drink”, but then the assumption is that we are really religious and THAT’S why we don’t drink. The truth is, we just don’t like it, and it’s way too expensive even if we did. But why do we have to have a reason?

  34. Write From Karen

    Again, I agree 100% (I’d say 1000% but that would make me one of those blogger sucker ups and I can’t STAND those people, so, 100% it is).

    I’m pretty sure I saw the tweet you’re referring to and I too was annoyed when I read it.

    We were (and still would be if my teenagers started acting like assholes) leavers. It’s about common courtesy which, sadly, seems to be a foreign concept in today’s world. We didn’t leave our house for YEARS (okay, it just felt like it, but seriously, it was months) simply because I didn’t want to have to deal with a fussy baby and ruin experiences for other people mainly because I know how I feel when I’m out trying to enjoy myself and get my money’s worth on X event and I have a screaming baby in my ear. (Seriously, one time was so bad my head vibrated for hours afterward).

    In addition to the respect/courtesy issue, it also teaches your children a lesson (when they’re old enough to understand, of course) that that kind of behavior is unacceptable and they soon learn, if they want to stay and have fun? Then straighten up, pronto.

    Sure. I was disappointed when we had to leave. But life is full of disappointments and when you have kids – NEWS FLASH – it’s not just about you anymore.

    Period.

  35. Chelle

    I like my wine but I can’t imagine, for the life of me, trying to bully, pressure, embarrass, etc., someone in to drinking with me. That’s rude. Also, there would be less wine for me.

    Linnea Reply:

    Exactly! Amen! Pass the malbec!

  36. Flame

    Re: Leavers: I totally love you!!!

    Re: Non-drinkers: I went through a period of time where I did not drink. All my friends were getting smashed all the time and I just felt like someone had to be the responsible one so that they didn’t get hurt and I chose myself, but I didn’t broadcast that to anyone. I really didn’t run into much objection. Now I do enjoy drinking once in awhile, but hubby & I switch off responsibility of DD. I’ve found that if I am having a night I just don’t want to drink, using that as an excuse doesn’t get much response, but telling someone you are DD does. Most people don’t seem to challenge that.

  37. Willow

    “Something I heard ALL THE TIME as a waitress: A kid is just throwing this huge fit at the table, or throwing food, or knocking shit over, and the parent says to me, “Just ignore him. He’s only doing it for attention.”

    THEN TAKE HIM HOME AND GIVE HIM SOME, DAMN.”

    This….A LOT! It’s sad to look around and see that a large percentage of society is not into active parenting, but also has a huge sense of entitlement.

  38. Courtney

    My younger sister (not much younger, though…she’s about to be 24) has autism and has always been super sensitive to babies or young children crying. It causes her an incredible amount of distress, so as a result, *I’ve* become super sensitive to children crying. It’s mostly a reflex. When I hear a baby cry, I instinctively look around for the source, and then for my sister (whether she’s with me or not, haha) to soothe her. For years we’ve had to be the “leavers” because people insist on bringing infants to movies or restaurants, and why would you do that anyway? You’re basically paying an exorbitant amount of money for a child who’s probably not even enjoying the experience, and who certainly isn’t going to remember it anyway. I mean, look at him! He’s bawling his eyes out. It’s pretty clear that he HATES CRAB RANGOON and JUST WANTS TO LEAVE. Maybe get take-out next time, I don’t know.

    I’m obviously not saying that all babies should never leave the house, or just stop crying completely because my adult sister can’t handle it, no. It’s annoying for everyone. Babies are at their least cute when they’re snotting up their jammies and bawling out a lung. Whenever I see a responsible parent carrying their crying child OUT of a restaurant or movie, I want to applaud them. You’re taking one for the team, and I love you.

    Also, alcohol just doesn’t click with me, either. I had a bad party experience when I was younger and now sometimes even the smell is enough to make me want to vomit. I’d rather not subject myself to that, so I’m satisfied being the designated driver. I have a good time just watching my friends make drunken fools out of themselves. It’s a cheap and easy way to get your kicks and not be the subject of an embarrassing drunkenly-tucked-my-skirt-into-my-underwear picture on Facebook the next day.

  39. Kayeri

    Well, I’m not much of a drinker, never have been, and we have left restaurants precisely twice when our daughter got bratty. The second time my husband had to carry her out while she was having a fit… ::sigh:: All I could do was follow offering quiet apologies as I went. But we got her out.

    Twice only… It never happened again after that, because she knew she wouldn’t get the food she wanted behaving like that… we did it once, it got her attention, the second time I guess drove it home. Yes, she will still get restless having to wait for us to finish, but never again was there a fit…

    Twice we have gone out with friends for just dessert and I talk to her about it before we go to make sure she will last and even then I simply make sure that I can leave with her and one of the friends will bring my husband home if she gets over-tired. That has worked extremely well for us. :)

  40. Issa

    I’m a leaver and I have three kids. Nothing better than one having a fit and the others being pissed at that kid too, because they don’t want to leave either. Heh.

    It rarely happens…because mine know I’m a leaver. Stores. Restaurants. Parties. Chuck e’ Cheese. Disney. For serious. I’ve left them all.

    At this point, I’m generally told how well behaved my kids are in public. However, when I tell people, I’m a leaver they tend to think I’m mean. Whatever.

  41. Jessica

    My family (parents and grandparents) don’t drink. Ever. I grew up thinking this was totally normal and the people who DO drink seem like the ones deviating from the norm (though I’m aware they’re not). I do have the occasional drink (I love the taste, but not the hangover), but haven’t had anyone really notice whether I’m drinking or not.

  42. Jessica

    Also, I’m totally jealous of your drive-in. If I could go to the movies without having to pump and leave a bottle, that would be AWESOME.

  43. Veronica

    I always thought we would be Leavers too, but it turns out, having to drive an hour to get to the supermarket and an hour back home again means that screaming kid = just get it done quickly.

    But then, while I have been the arsehole carrying a screaming toddler around the supermarket (meltdown, autism) I have also been the one geting JUDGED as I abandon my husband to finish the shopping without me, while I escape with the screaming toddler outside. But more often, we just avoid doing the things that might make it awkward if the kids lose it. Meals out? Yay, but c’mon, we’ll get a baby sitter and eat in peace. Much nicer.

    I think the supermarket a few times was the only time I haven’t left, because the need to eat (and travelling time) trumps a screaming kid. Sometimes.

    And I don’t drink either, because I HATE feeling drunk. Just, no.

  44. Kailen

    I don’t drink either. I only recently turned 21 and I went to dinner with a friend, had one drink, got a bit tipsy, and realized, hey… Don’t really like that. So, I don’t.
    Thankfully I don’t go out much so I don’t really get pressured into drinking much.

    (And can I just say that the people trying to get you to have even ‘JUST ONE’ drink while you were pregnant and DIDN’T WANT TO, is pretty freaking appalling.)

  45. Deedee

    And there are also those who say “we must take our children out to a nice restaurant at the age of two so they can learn how to behave in a restaurant.”
    No. You teach your children manners at home and then WHEN THEY ARE OLD ENOUGH they will behave nicely in a restaurant. We never ate out with our kids until they were around 7-8 years old. And surprisingly enough, even though they had never been in a nice restaurant, they knew how to behave in a very civilized fashion.

  46. Carrie

    Wow. The more I read you, the more I love you. We are also leavers. I have an almost 6 year old and I can’t tell you the number of meals that I’ve eaten cold out of a cardboard box. Eventually he learned and now we have nice meals out. We’ve never actually had to leave with his little sister, which is nice. She’s a much better behaved child.

    I don’t drink either. I don’t enjoy the taste of it, alcoholism runs in the family, it’s expensive. I always tell people I’d rather save my calories for chocolate, which usually leads to a “huh???” look, but then they leave me alone.

    Ann Reply:

    “I’d rather save my calories for chocolate”

    –Pure genius!

  47. Staciepo

    First- from a fellow Potter and drive-in fan, DFTBA! It makes this weekend a stellar kind of one. I am aware as I approach marriage and after that, parenthood, I won’t always be at the midnight show (hopefully, there won’t be another thing I love this much), but my fiance thinks I’m a nerd, so he can be home with the kids(s). My sister is my awesome parenting role model- she is a leaver, follow through on word-er, etc. Her kids have the average amount of sass that they pick up from others, but they can sit in restaurants, through drive-in movies, eat veggies if they want dessert, know that whining and begging have no effect on decision… to me that is parenting gold!

    As always, enjoy your regular doses of humor and common sense observation… makes me confident that parenthood won’t be the end of the world, just a tweaking of it!

    Staciepo Reply:

    Sorry for the double post- was trying to edit (to late)… feel free to delete me :)

  48. Staciepo

    First- from a fellow Potter and drive-in fan, DFTBA! It makes this weekend a stellar kind of one. I am aware as I approach marriage and after that, parenthood, I won’t always be at the midnight show (hopefully, there won’t be another thing I love this much), but my fiance thinks I’m a nerd, so he can be home with the kid(s). My sister is my awesome parenting role model- she is a leaver, follow through on word-er, etc. Her kids have the average amount of sass that they pick up from others, but they can sit in restaurants, through drive-in movies, eat veggies if they want dessert, know that whining and begging have no effect on decision… to me that is parenting gold!

    As always, enjoy your regular doses of humor and common sense observation… makes me confident that parenthood won’t be the end of the world, just a tweaking of it!

  49. Ashley

    The alcohol thing? I usually just shrug and say, “I’m not much of a drinker.”

    We’re Leavers for sure. We take the kids out to eat fairly often and they’re almost always well-behaved, but we don’t go to really “nice” places with them and I absolutely would not hesitate to take them outside if I thought they were bothering someone else. I do not see what the big deal is about a restaurant that bans kids. It’s not that complicated: GO SOMEWHERE ELSE.

    And, um, we actually took my daughter to a Harry Potter movie when she was very wee. We picked an afternoon showtime (there were about five people in the theater) and I nursed her right to sleep as soon as the lights went out. She slept through the whole movie and never made a sound. I wouldn’t have taken her if I thought she would cause a ruckus and I would have lit out of there like my ass was on fire if she had made so much as a peep.

    Nancy Reply:

    This is what I am hoping to do for my baby (who will be about a month) and Breaking Dawn. But only if he is a happy, laid back baby who nurses well and doesn’t startle easily and during a very slow time during the day and during the week after the movie has been out for a couple of weeks. And I am willing to leave if he gets fussy. Is that horrid?

    Ashley Reply:

    No way. I think people get pre-judgy when they see parents bring babies into movies, but I think it can totally work as long as you have a contingency plan. Also, if you asked nicely, I bet most movie theaters would refund your money if you had to leave within the first 15 or 20 minutes.

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