Ladies, allow me to turn down the R. Kelly, re-cork this bottle of Champagne, and change out of my silk robe and into a sensible pair of slacks, because, no, this conversation is not about you and me, it’s about your baby.
I don’t mind you bringing your baby to the gym, as long as it’s not a cardio day, and you incorporate your kid into the workout.
I don’t mean that in the pet-name sense. I am talking about your living, breathing, miniature yourself perched on your belly in a Velcro contraption formed in the style of a kangaroo pouch. Now, I understand that you need to take the little guy or gal pretty much wherever you go, and I respect that. You know I do. You are a strong, independent mother on-the-go. But there are certain places, certain environments, certain situations, where me and the rest of society feel compelled to ask that you spring for a sitter.
The first thing we need to talk about is the day-to-day public appearances with your tot. I know there are times that you just have to take your baby on some errands. I get it. I can deal with the shrill cries of your precious newborn while waiting in line to buy stamps or home improvement items or liquor. I don’t mind you bringing your baby to the gym, as long as it’s not a cardio day, and you incorporate your kid into the workout. I don’t even mind you bringing a baby to a wedding or a funeral, because I’m not paying attention anyway. Besides, when I attempt to seduce a bridesmaid and/or nubile mourner, I can get her in the mood by saying, “Oh, look at the cute baby.”
So, yes, I understand you’ve got needs. But there are a few places that we would all enjoy more if you left the little one at home. First, the elephant in the room: restaurants. I know this is a bone of contention, so let me attempt to be diplomatic. A modest proposal: If your child can pronounce what they’re eating, and order for themselves, then—by all means—bring them in. Fast food spots and diners will be your child’s culinary playground as soon as he or she can speak. As for the hot new bistro for post-yoga brunch, not so fast. And who could forget the cinema? Your baby can come through once they are able to appreciate the artistry involved. Ice Age: Continental Drift, Madagascar III, and any of the Fast and the Furious films? No problem. But, please don’t bring your child to Tree of Life until they turn 37. Also, your child should not be at the bar until he is old enough to drink at the bar. I know you need a drink after a long day of dealing with people being annoyed with your baby. Thankfully, there are many alcohol serving family dining establishments, from Ruby Tuesdays to T.G.I. Fridays, where you (and me, should I be so lucky) can order from the cocktail menu while Junior gets his grilled cheese on. Who can say no to a Bahama Mama or an Alabama Slammer? Hell, that’s what got us into this situation in the first place.
We also need to establish a playbook for the digital realm. Facebook is just like our estranged uncle. It is a part of our lives whether we like it or not and it needs rules. I appreciate that you, your mom, your mom’s mom, and your co-worker with all the cats who lives vicariously through you, want to see your tyke’s every move on social media. Here’s the thing: It clogs my newsfeed and prevents me from seeing the bikini pics and invitations to Farmville I know and love. So, here is what you get. It’s best I can do. Final offer: one sonogram picture, three pictures in the hospital on date of birth and one picture for each special occasion. That’s it. Use your best judgment and always ask yourself: Would I give a shit if this were someone else’s kid? That’s what I thought. Also, I know that you love your child. It’s understood. It needn’t be your status.
Now we need to talk briefly about us. The divorce rate is high in this country and us young bachelors are getting used to dating mothers. You know I do my best to approximate maturity when a real woman like yourself crosses my path. I put away the beer pong table when you come over, as requested. I don’t wear shirts with cartoon characters on them when we brunch with your moneyed friends. I will no longer play Call of Duty while we attempt phone sex. I have made compromises. My apartment is still my fortress, so please don’t bring the little guy over for at least six months after we’ve started dating… because damn it, that is going to force me to contemplate maturation and weird my shit out. And if I am the baby’s father… well, all of that has been court mandated already, so I’m not going deal with that shit in this column, Christine. This is not the time or place, and you know that…
Anyway, I hope this as been instructive. And please, don’t look at this as me telling you what to do. Look at it as me telling that woman with the shrieking baby at the next table what to do, because damn it, you got a sitter tonight and all you need is one night’s peace and another appletini.
by Brenden Gallagher (@muddycreekU)