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Dinner for 4 only, no kids please

Posted by Haggy (My Page) on
Mon, Jan 20, 03 at 9:02

I invited a couple over for dinner in a few weeks. Ever since their first child was born, they brought the kids everywhere with them (4 star restaurants included!). We haven't even seen the couple without their children in over 7 years. I want to express to them that I meant for the parents to come to dinner, not the kids. We are a childless couple and enjoy entertaining, but do not have a childproof home (and they have a toddler). This is the only couple we know that assumes an invitation includes the kids. Unfortunately, the mother is very easily offended and I'm afraid of offending her over this. I can explain it to the father without problem but don't know quite how to put it, and any way I put the request will go to his wife verbatim.

Please help!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Dinner for 4 only, no kids please

I've been in this situation a few times. I believe that there are kid times, adult and kid times, and adult times. There are times when I want to enjoy my friends without their (and my!) attention being interrupted by their kids. I have learned just to be straight - - kind, but straight.

On those occasions where children are not invited, I've asked my friends if they are able to find a sitter for their children that night, because I would like to have an adult-only social time. One time the mother came and the father stayed home with the kids. Another time the parents reluctantly agreed, then later said they hadn't enjoyed a social night out as much in ages! Another time the parents got huffy and said that if their children weren't welcome then none of them would come. I said ok. Haven't invited them back since.

Look - - it's your house and your party. You can set your rules without being obnoxious. If your friends take offense, perhaps you and they have taken different paths.

Good luck!


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RE: Dinner for 4 only, no kids please

May be a little tricky now, only because the invitaion has already been extended. It would be easier to do at the time.

Only thing I can think of is to call your friend and say "Oh by the way I forgot to mention that I am planning a special meal just for the 4 of us and I wanted to give you lots of time to arrange a babysitter."

If she says that she wants to bring the kids then I would say " Well how about we make it another time then becuase, as much as I enjoy the kids, the evening I had planned was really meant to be an adult evening" .

There is absolutely no need to justify yourself with the reasons why you want an adult only dinner. As a matter of fact if you do you may open yourself up to making an innocent remark that may offend.

There is nothing wrong with adult evenings, there is also nothing wrong with not wanting to leave your kids. If she chooses not to accept adult only invitations, thats her choice, but she should not be offended when they are offered. If she is, she is.......


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RE: Dinner for 4 only, no kids please

I also would give them a call about a week before the dinner date. Let them know you can't wait to see them and hope they have the babysitter all ready in place. "It will be nice to have just the 4 of us for this evening, won't it?" If your friend wants to bring her child let her know that you would like this to be an adult evening. And maybe they can bring the child to a BBQ you will be having someother day or plan a picnic with them. But that night is just for adults. If she says no them so be it. I'd cancel the dinner and have differnt friends over. Parents can be away from their children for one night...it won't kill them. NancyLouise


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RE: Dinner for 4 only, no kids please

When I had friends with young kids....about a bazillion years ago...I would call ands ay..."Why don't we get together for dinner...just the 4 of us....no kids...my house, I'll cook! Wouldn't that be fun? Think you can find a sitter?"
If they get mad at that....well then you have very little in common and so be it!
Linda C


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RE: Dinner for 4 only, no kids please

I've taken the same tack as Linda before. Say something like, "I'm really looking forward to our dinner on such and such a date. I know you could probably use a break, and I know we'll have a wonderful evening without wondering if the kids are getting bored!" THAT usually works!

Hope you have a great time!

Lori


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RE: Dinner for 4 only, no kids please

Well, folks, I was worried about absolutely nothing. We talked and they are very excited for some "away time" from the kids. Thank you all so much for your wonderful advice. I used many of the sentiments you expressed and it worked like a charm! Thanks again and I'll be sure to return with my next dilemma!


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RE: Dinner for 4 only, no kids please

So glad it worked out! Have a great evening!


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RE: Dinner for 4 only, no kids please

Haggy - - that's great! Thank you for getting back to us and keeping us posted. Have a wonderful time.


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RE: Dinner for 4 only, no kids please

Haggy,

I'm glad it worked out for you! I do have to admit, however, that had it been *us* you have invited over, we would have declined the invitation. :(

For many years we went without "adult" time in order to have "family" time with our children. I worked days, my husband worked nights & weekends, and what little time we both had off from work we chose to spend with our kids seeing us TOGETHER. While we understood there were places where young children weren't welcomed, we just didn't go there. We have never regretted it!

Julie


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RE: Dinner for 4 only, no kids please

Julie, I think that's great that you spend quality time with your kids (so few do today)! And if my guests had declined, my feelings would not have been hurt at all. I would have been grateful for their honesty, just as, I hope, they appreciated mine. People like me without children don't have a clue where to even start child-proofing a home. I have alot of things in the house that I think would cause great harm to children and I just couldn't imagine accidently leaving something out that might hurt them. So I just thought it was in everyone's best interest for us to spend time with the kids at their house and let my house serve as a "refuge" for parents that want an evening away from them. It is actually working out quite well.

Great post though. I wish more parents were like you!!!!


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RE: Dinner for 4 only, no kids please

Julie you sound like me! I also assume entire families, when I extend invitations. And there are a few families I know whose children require too much childproofing, and the parents don't keep an eye out for them. Those, I don't invite.

But just this past Sunday, DH, DD and I took another couple AND THEIR FIVE CHILDREN out to dinner. We had a great time!

When I attend events at other peoples' homes, I keep a close eye on my child, and she knows how to act (and that she'll have to answer to me if she doesn't act civilized) :-)

She even went with us on Sunday to our tax man's office, and behaved while we did our boring old taxes. His office is certainly not child-proof.

I was raised by a family that left breakables everywhere, and children were raised to know what to touch and what not to touch. So I guess I still have a lot of those habits still with me while I raise my daughter...


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RE: Dinner for 4 only, no kids please

Unless I'm not getting the whole picture, Haggy isn't condemning kids, nor saying that her friend's kids don't behave.....she just wants to spend an adult evening.....and I sure don't blame her.
My kids are grown and long gone...I have 7 grand children....so I'm not a stranger to meals oriented around children......and I firmly believe that adults need time where kids are not present....and for most working parents, waitint until they are in bed is too late!
I have seen what happens to a couple when their whole life was the kids.....and soccer and music lessons and Karate and dance, baseball, religous ed, swimming, music lessons...etc. They don't know each other! Sometimes the marriage falls apart....and sometimes they find a focus for their lives.
By the same token, I know people who always banish their teens to the TV room when it's dinner time....and then find they have adult children with nothing to share.
There is a happy medium....the trick is finding it.
Linda C


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RE: Dinner for 4 only, no kids please

I wouldn't mind if someone told me. But I would automatically know, without being informed, that I shouldn't bring my child.

And I would not mind being politely told that it's adults only. My only problem is a severe lack of sitters. So for that reason, I'd probably have to turn it down.

I was just saying that I'm one of those folks who tends to travel in 3's automatically.


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RE: Dinner for 4 only, no kids please

Karen...I'll sit for you sometime......
Linda C


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RE: Dinner for 4 only, no kids please

A recent periodicial pointed out the "omnipotence," or perhaps "omnipresence" of children and children-oriented consumer goods and activities in our society. I agree; this emphasis on children is excessive, and intrudes on those who don't have or don't like children. One should not feel guilty about not having children in one's home or environment. That was never the case when I was growing up. And my parents made do without specialized child-oriented paraphernalia like plush car seats, juice boxes, playstations, or Mozart for Babies.


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RE: Dinner for 4 only, no kids please

Gosh, Sag, emphasis on children excessive? We were all children at one time. At least I think we were.

Sigh, never mind. Don't worry. If you ask me not to bring my child, I won't. But in this day and age, I think more of a family that travels together, than the others I know, whose children are nanny- and sitter-raised. When I take DD to ballet or gymnastics, a significant number of her classmates are brought by sitters, so that their parents can have a child-less life.

Then why the heck have children?


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RE: Dinner for 4 only, no kids please

Forgive me for my harsh response. I have a headache today and I think I read more into that than I should have :-)

Linda, thanks for the offer!!!


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RE: Dinner for 4 only, no kids please

Many people have children because they feel like they have to: it's their supposed duty to society. And then they have to work two jobs to support them, and end up not seeing them and having to pay sitters, which ends up being the cost of the one of the jobs. So, like you said, why have them?


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RE: Children and society

Yes, we were children, but I was taught that the world did not revolve around us. Many children today seem to think so, as we've developed a whole consumer culture focused on their supposed needs. I don't mind children, but I don't feel like I should center my life on them, or be inundated with their specialized products. And what's this with syndromes being developed that correspond to every possible behavioral problem? There may be some validity to the syndrome, but what about the strong possibility that the child may just be a brat?


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RE: Dinner for 4 only, no kids please

*sigh*.......how do you explain children to someone who doesn't wish to know them?...Amazing that we all got here at all....considring what a trial children are.
Perhaps if more were exposed to Mozart at an early age, there would be less rancor in the world.......Heaven knows Mozart calms me down.......
Wonder what periodical talked about the "omnipotence" of children??...Guccione's?
Linda C


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RE: Dinner for 4 only, no kids please

The Atlantic Monthly.


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RE: Dinner for 4 only, no kids please

TREKaren You sounded pretty balanced to me.:) Unlike some parents I know, it sounds like you took on parenting knowing full well that that meant life changes. I know some who thought that it was all cuteness and ohh-ahh -- was a real shock to them to find out that there was responsibility and sick kids at 3 am and requirements of their time and attention attached.

We are childless by choice, but we understand that finding sitters is a challenge. We try to be accommodating by issuing invitations well in advance and being flexible. Sometimes that means changing the venue to a more child friendly one if no sitter can be found and we really do want to visit with the parents. Sometimes it means that couple has to take a rain check.

I can't read minds and I hope none of my friends can. :) I don't mind making the invitation clear that it's "adults night out" and I expect them to be clear if they cannot attend because of sitter problems. Ive known times when couples where able to share a sitter. The sitter made extra money, the children had someone to play with, and the parents actually paid less than they would have individually (Second child half price sitter sale.)

Sitters are now an issue with eldercare, too. If someone is caring for a sick parent 24/7, they would probably LOVE to get out of the house, but finding sitters for eldercare is even harder than finding sitters for children.

Linda - There are children who are brats and there are adults who are brats. The children sometimes grow out of it. The adults seldom do. I'm not sure even Mozart can fix that. :)


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RE: Dinner for 4 only, no kids please

Renee,

Thanks! It's kind of like the threads that occasionally get started, on flying on airplanes and being seated next to children. It always ends up with someone pointing out that bratty kids are not nearly as obnoxious as inebriated grown-ups. LOL


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RE: Dinner for 4 only, no kids please

Renee....it wasn't I that suggested that children could be brats...but SAG1 who did.
And I'll take a bratty obnoxious child any day over a bratty obnoxious adult....drunk or not!
Children are wonderful....a delight....and yes the world of their parents does seem to revolve around them...and rightly so when they are under school age. Those who have not children of their own have absolutely no idea what I am talking about.
But in spite of what La Leche says, I really believe that parents need time with out the children in the company of other adults.
Balance is a good thing!
Linda C


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RE: Dinner for 4 only, no kids please

Linda - Yes, I know, on all counts. ;)

It's not a part time job, and it's not a job everyone is qualified to take on. I'm sincerely grateful to those who do it well. When I'm old and dottering, I'll probably be at the mercy of some of their best efforts. :)


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RE: Dinner for 4 only, no kids please

TREKaren, Let's grab our kids and head to Pizza Hut! LOL

The only person I can think of who wouldn't welcome children is my MIL. (Sad, isn't it? She lives a mile away yet our kids don't really know her.) Our friends tend to all be parents themselves who feel the same way as we do--children are a top priority. **THE world** does not revolve around our kids, but **OUR world** revolves around raising them the best we can.

Linda, it's interesting that you think parents who devote more time to the "family" than to the "couple" have nothing in common when the kids are grown. We have WAY more time to talk to each other to/from/during kid events (do you know how much "down time" there is during a little league baseball game? LOL) than we would at a social event with adults only (where we would, no doubt, divide up and spend time talking with the hosts or other guests instead of each other).

I think my best parenting role model was a couple whose lives always revolved around their children, and they grew very close as a family. They love kids and wouldn't DREAM of having an adults-only party. Those children, now grown with children of their own, are so close to their parents they still vacation together! They're not just family, but friends now, too!

Our kids are now at the ages where their independence shows and they don't WANT to always do things with Mom & Dad. This is a GOOD thing! But I also hope that someday they will want to come back and spend "family" time again. The seeds are planted, we're just waiting for them to grow.

Julie


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RE: Dinner for 4 only, no kids please

My comments on devoting time and effort to the couple are based on people I know in "real life" ( not reel life? LOL!)..
One couple were so osessive that they wouldn't allow their daughter to do her home work alone, nor practise the piano....and another's children are 19 and 17....and the parents have spent so much time going to, refereeing at, keeping score for, timing races etc that they have no social life at all....nada....zilch. he has a big volunteer job which takes him out of the house 2 days a month, she used to volunteer and I would see them out to dinner...but no more...too busy with kids sports, concerts.
The first couple's kids are well grown....and the couple has moved to the area where the kids are....
And I suspect the other couple are soon to be one of those couples where he watches TV in the den and she in the kitchen. No clubs, no organizations, no adult couple friends...it's sad.
And, Julie, I have seen too many who forget how to be a couple other than as parents. I believe that once a parent always a parent ( one of my childless acquaintenances once invited me to a party for another couple who were celebrating the end of parenting because their youngest had left for college! I didn't go!)...but I have seen parents who can't let go.....they drop everything and move to where their adult children live, and when the children get a job transfer....do it again.
I have 2 children and 7 grandkids. Both mothers work, one full time and the other 4 days a week. Both are very involved in ball games ( of several kinds!) dance, religeous ed etc.....but they try to do a "date" at least once a month. It's not easy finding a sitter...but it can be done. And for the sake of your sanity and the future of your marriage, I recommene it.
How many people do you know got divorced after the kids left home?....I know a lot!
Linda C


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RE: Dinner for 4 only, no kids please

Linda,

When we "date" we will continue to take the kids with us, LOL. I thought a long time about it and there are no divorces in our families and very few in our church, work, neighborhood, or social circles (all of which include people with grown children). I guess we are lucky to have so many role models who have been married 40+ years and still enjoy each other's company!


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RE: Dinner for 4 only, no kids please

TREKaren wrote, "I wouldn't mind if someone told me. But I would automatically know, without being informed, that I shouldn't bring my child. "

I certainly wouldn't mind being invited to dinner w/o my kids.

But I have to say that if you called me and said, "we wanted to invite you over for dinner," I'd automatically assume that "you" meant the whole family. If you mean otherwise, you need to SAY otherwise, I think.

I'm w/ Renee--people can't read minds, so don't assume they can. Be matter-of-fact and loving when you speak to one another, and tell people what they need to know.


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RE: Dinner for 4 only, no kids please

Well, I have a friend who I cannot get together with without her bringing her DOG! I have stopped inviting her over because she assumes she can bring him. He is disruptive, sits on her lap at the dinner table, has peed on my rug. I wish it were a REAL kid - now that I could handle.


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RE: Dinner for 4 only, no kids please

Rima,
I had a "friend" like that also. I am glad she is no longer around. Her and her dog.


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RE: Dinner for 4 only, no kids please

Well, I completely understand your situation and it's not an easy one!
I live that situation too... One of my good friends has 4 kids and whenever we invite them over some of the kids refuse to go play with the other children and stay in the living-room with the adults. They even take over the seats on the couch. We do enjoy being with them but sometimes it really make me think twice before inviting them with other adults because it gets to point where I just can't take it.

When it comes to your friends it would probably be easier to let them know when you are sending the invitation, so maybe you could re-schedule to another evening and let them know at that time...

Good luck!


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