No Kids Allowed?

Kids are fun at weddings. They dance, they squeal, they look cute, and they generally behave well in longer stretches than usual because they’ve been threatened. Weddings bring out the best in kids … or else.
My wife and I just went to the wedding of a friend who doesn’t want children – an exclusion that extended to the guest list of the big day. I can understand that. Weddings are expensive and kids can be distracting. But it got me thinking about the wide gulf between those who have chosen not to have kids and those who can’t imagine life without them.
I guess I understand the overall “not wanting kids” thing – especially when my wife and I manage to sneak away for a couple of days to experience what the rest of the non-parental world is up to. Children are demanding. They’re time-consuming. They represent a lot of work if you’re doing it right.
But it’s a curious divide, and it doesn’t necessarily nurture old friendships. We are social people. I remember being in a family where kids weren’t excluded from social events. So when we have a party, kids are included. The adults do their collective thing, our kids do their collective thing, and everyone usually stays up too late in the good name of fun.
Something happens when you become a parent. Most of the people with whom you spent your teens and 20s acting like idiots, now also have kids. Not only does it become natural to include kids when socializing, it makes perfect sense – since you now spend 80 percent of your time at said social events talking about your kids.
As a result, the friends who don’t have kids – with whom you once talked politics, philosophy, sports, world events, etc. – become less of a factor when socializing. I don’t really know whether we don’t invite them anymore, or they just don’t show up. Maybe they all get together and talk about what the rest of us are missing. It makes me hope that once my kids each move out the millisecond they turn 18, we can re-connect and talk about things not connected to kids’ gymnastics and the quality of elementary school art teachers. 
I’m sure they have a good point – for them. But I’ll take picking up a giggling 5-year-old in a fancy dress and spinning her around the dance floor anytime!
Tony Hicks is a columnist.


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