My parents and their friends in the neighborhood generally arranged a babysitter at one house for all the kids and had the party at another house. Our house was often used as the kid zone because we had a full basement that was entirely kid-proof.
When my kids were little, I never took them along to parties unless they were explicitly invited, but I was fortunate enough to have readily available babysitters.
It's a REALLY great group. I would hate to offend. I just don't like the fact that we organize stuff/rent rooms and then end up with half the folks having to clear out due to kiddos.
Throwing in the odd adult-only event for this group is a good idea, but be aware that this could lead to splintering into 2 groups: the childless people and those who are willing to leave their kids behind now and then, and those that aren't. It's not like it's a mystery to the parents that they often have to leave early, and the solution is no mystery either.
What we (I and the other singles/childless couples) don't want to do is split the group based on kids/no kids. We're all in this together and I think that socializing together is very important to the cohesiveness of the group. I especially feel for the SAHM's and for the childless folks who have followed a spouse and given up careers only to find themselves lacking adult interaction. We need adult time too, and for many of us, these get togethers are it.
It was funny because at the party the other night after a COTHer arrived, one of the gals said, "How in the heck do you have FRIENDS here already?" (I moved in mid Nov and have met some fellow COTHers.)
It's hard to meet people when the balance of your day is spent alone or just going to the grocery store.
At any rate, I think that based on your comments, what I will suggest that we do is plan for kids for the majority of events. Happy hours, not so much. And those are weekly. I don't really attend those myself. But for the bigger events, we'll just start making arrangements for the kids. Whether that means bringing in a sitter or organizing some activities for the kiddos, we'll try to incorporate that into our plans so that those with young kids can attend and have fun but that those of us who host don't feel like we've become the unpaid hired help.
We're all learning this "new culture". We have to stick together! I guess the best thing to do is cover all of the bases.
A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.
^ That's exactly how my social circle (30s, maybe 1/3 - 1/2 with kids) works. Most casual, at-home get togethers are kid-friendly (as in, kids are welcome, entertainment/babysitting not generally provided, tho people bring their own toys). Happy hours, nights out, etc. not much.
For our group, I think if I specified "adults only" in an invite and it turned out to just be like a casual BBQ or superbowl party that some parents might be offended, but that is maybe just because other people in our group don't do that. I have known most of these people ~10 yrs, since before anyone had kids, so it has definitely been a transition, adding kids ot the mix.
My friends do understand that our house is not at all kid-proofed and always keep an eye on their kids. I never feel like I have to do much kid-hosting, other than having some food/drink that is kid-friendly. I do try to actively set that expectation (stairs without risers, a loft area that is not safe for kids, horses in the back, etc.) as I would hate for anything bad to happen.
I also find that the friends with kids leave early, so a lot of our get togethers start off as all ages and end up as just adults.
Just say it. This is a party for adults only and we understand if you can't come because you can't make arrangements for your children to be watched, and we hope we'll see you at our parties in the future.
Another idea my DH and I have used in the past: have the party allow kids until some kid-bedtime-friendly hour (8 p.m.?) and then after that, it's adults only. This does require *some* enforcement, because there's always some Special Snowflake parent who thinks the rules don't apply to them. BTW -- we excluded small babies from the rules on request, as for the most part they just sleep.
You have to be prepared to lose friends over this. Some people just don't get that the "adults only" world really is exactly that, and that no, kids do NOT belong everywhere. We've lost maybe 2 friends over it.
For the parents out there: friends of mine have 2 very, um, difficult children (8 YO extremely smart boy with Aspergers and ADD, with a tendency to get violent, and 3 YO boy who has his own set of as-yet undiagnosed issues.) Their kids are so hard to manage that they don't *want* to take them to parties. They trade off parties; one stays with the kids, and the other goes to the party. If the party is close to where they live, they switch off mid-evening.
I'm wondering if it would be hard to find a sitter for something like the Superbowl?
I think your plans for going forward are sensible, and will work out very well.
What DH and I have found is our friends without kids, and those who have parents who take their kids to 'watch', or an older child who can watch the younger ones at a moments notice... don't give us enough notice of a get together to get a sitter [we do not have family in the area]... so we end up not attending.
Or maybe that's their plan all long, I dunno'. LOL
But seriously after the 2nd time of calling us the day before a get together to have us say 'well we can't come cause we can't get a sitter' you would think it would cross their minds to give us more than a moments notice.
At this point the friendships have died [between DH and his friends] or were never created [between me, the newcomer, and DHs friends] so that the whole thing is farked up. Not one of DHs friends has seen our 'new' house, nor have they been part of the other big life events that have occurred because we were so fractured because early on, after my son was born, we never were able to attend these gatherings due to lack of notice. It really sucks for both me and moreso for DH.
Angela Freda, I can understand where you're coming from. I don't have my own kids, but I'm a planner. Used to drive me absolutely BATTY that DH's mom or sister (neither worked) would put together an impromptu dinner and send me what I was to bring--all the while I was working 50-60 hrs a week an hour away and on top of it, these events would be for 4pm on weekdays many times. There was no way I could do this stuff without jumping through hoops. It was frustrating.
So I hear what you are saying. And in fairness w/ regards to the Superbowl party, we sent out email invites about a week out. I wasn't sure who all was back stateside as most had been overseas but when I realized almost everyone was home for that weekend, I asked DH if we should throw a party.
So it was a weeks' notice. But I don't think it would've mattered for those with kiddos. They go or don't go short notice or not, but they always bring their kids if they do come--even to the happy hours which are usually spur of the moment Thurs/Friday deals. I usually don't know about those til about an hour ahead of time.
Anyway, we'll try to be more accommodating and plan ahead best we can. You make a good point.
A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.
My main sitter, the one I prefer, works a second job in retail, after her job at the school.
So to get her to sit, I have to have enough notice that she has and knows her schedule OR can let her supervisor know to not schedule her or for her to find a replacement.
If you've ever worked in retail you know how some retail companies don't think a regular, you work these hours every week, schedule is conducive to good workers... and they give them different hours ever week of the danged year. I will never understand the theory behind that, other than it's a good way to piss off good, hard working people who want to work for you and have a life.
Anyway, I digress.
What I mean is just that to get this sitter I need probably 2 weeks to be certain I can have her [ie she lets her supervisor know not to schedule her that night].
ETA as someone else noted we can always do the 'well you go and I will babysit' thing. Problem is the parent who most often ends up being the sitter can get resentful of always being left out of the fun. Not that I would know, if DH goes and I have to stay home because of his/his friends poor planning? I pay myself to do the sitting. And boy does a woman with my skillz and experience get paid a nice hourly wage!
I love having everyone here. They are WONDERFUL people. Kind, intelligent, etc.
We are kind of in the "military" mode now as far as you have to make friends as you can in your assignment. We will probably be bumping into each other a lot over the next 20 years. Pays to not make enemies.
Normally, I'd agree with everyone here. Absolutely no problem with telling people to leave the kidlets at home. Goodness knows Losh Jr. doesn't go anywhere after 6. However, in your particular situation where you will be seeing the same people for many years -- both socially and professionally -- and that people in your group are very new to an area where finding a sitter is a bitch, I personally would offer a sitter.
However, I would do it so that one person hosts and the kiddos are at another (preferably kid-friendly) house. So maybe one person in your group would be in charge of adult social hosting and one would be in charge of kid social hosting. Blankies on the floor and bring your own pack and plays and you're good to go.
By the way, if you're lucky, you'll go somewhere where everyone has live-in household help. Problem solved.
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