I can’t. I have kids.

Maybe you know someone that rowed crew in high school and you have seen the tshirt.  “I can’t.” it says on the front.  “I have crew.” on the back.  I have seen similar tshirts for kids that are big in to drama in high school, too.  “I can’t.  I have rehearsal.” I was always a bigger fan of  “Thespians do it on stage” myself.  But that is neither here nor there.

Once you have a baby you get really good at saying “I can’t, we would love to but…” and you look at your kid and you shrug and you say “8 o’clock bedtime” or “She doesn’t take a bottle” or “We don’t have a sitter.” If your friends have kids they understand.  You might get an eyeroll from your friends that don’t do things just the same way you do, but they understand.

At first it might embarrass you.  You might worry that by the time you are ready to hit the town there won’t be anywhere to go or you won’t have any friends any more.  But the second kid?  I know that there will be plenty of fun waiting for me. I’ll be almost forty and chances are I will be home and snug as a bug by midnight but I’ll be sweaty and my calves will hurt from dancing with the dirty kids up front.  I’ll be a cheap date again for a while until I get my sea legs back under me.

And I am okay with all of this.

But this morning I had to do something awful.  I almost took a conversation to private message on the Bookface because I was ashamed of the truth.  A dear friend from the beach reminded me that we had planned on having dinner before the Perpetual Groove show in town.  At the time we initially discussed it I knew that the show would be hit or miss but surely a dinner would be a go, even if I had the kiddos in tow.  He is a perfect addition to a messy dinner with kids.  He has no judgement, kids of his own and is a lively conversationalist full of stories that could amuse even the almost seven year old ears.

I had to renege on our plans.

BECAUSE I HAVE A PTA MEETING.  If you are out of the loop the PTA is the Parent Teacher Association.

I can’t go to a killer show because I have to go to a meeting with a lot of amped up mothers and fathers and talk fundraisers and wrapping paper sales and lunch menus and school resources.  I will eat Domino’s pizza and drink lemonade from a paper cup.  And actually… I don’t have to.  I want to.

I want to meet some of the parents at Em’s school.  I want to meet her friend’s parents.  I want to know the teachers and the administrators.

I used to walk in to a bar and breeze past the doorman with a kiss on the cheek. I’d get a drink without ordering.   I imagined the gossipy girl at a corner table saying “Who does she think she is?” and the waitress would say “Kelly! She is here all of the time.  You’d love her! No, really!!”

And now I have to start all over.  Only in my dreams I can walk in to an elementary school and breeze past the Make Your Own ID machine.  “Just dropping off these cupcakes.”  Oh man, if they let me use the copy machine I will know I have hit the big time.

Just a girl in a bar, circa 1997. In suspenders. Of course.


12 responses to “I can’t. I have kids.

  1. This could be one of my posts. You took the words right out of my mouth. I would love to say more, but I have kids! I know you understand.

  2. I love you. You are so going to take over the PTA. <3

  3. Just because I know the highschool Kelly, this post cracks me up. At the same time it makes me smile on the inside because I love how much you love your kiddos. And that’s the way it should be.

  4. I hear ya. I love being involved with the kiddos. It sucks that most of my friends are still on the party side of the fence and are dropping like flies, though. It’s nice to meet/hang with other people with kids. They get it.

  5. The “oh, the kid’s _______” excuse has gotten me out of parties I’m too tired/not excited to attend, allows us to bounce after the fun part of weddings are over (the food), and to get away from annoying people and/or relatives.

    No shame in my game.

  6. I don’t have kids of my own, but I do work with the high school youth group at my church. So, in a way, I have over a hundred kids. And I tell people “no” in favor of “my kids” all the time. Hell, I even have an arrangement at work where I leave 2 hours early every Wednesday to teach a drama class to to “my kids.” But, in October, AMC theaters nationwide are showing a double feature of “Frankenstein” and “Bride of Frankenstein.” On a Wednesday night. And I am unabashedly going to skip youth group to go see this amazing double feature. And, for the same reason you had no reason to be ashamed of wanting to go to the PTA meeting, I am not ashamed of my one night of skipping youth group. Because you have to prioritize things in life. And being ashamed of your priorities isn’t an option if you’re being honest with yourself. I love “my kids” and they love me. But this one night I am going to pay attention to the kid in me, who would kill me if I didn’t see two Frankenstein movies in a theater. :)

  7. :) I totally had that crew shirt. (Who knows, I may still have it.) I was completely gonna ditch PTA this year. Last year, I “joined” but never went to a meeting. But this year, one of Samantha’s friend’s moms is the freaking President. And she’s one of the moms I actually like from her girl scout troop. *sigh* I guess I’ll have to go to the meetings this year.

  8. Ahem, they let me use the copy machine at the school;) Just sayin… Also, just so you know, I have met some of my very best drinking buddies at the PTA meetings. Those mamas can drink! Some (well, one) can actually drink me under the table:)

  9. You just made me feel super guilty. Because I am blowing off a Girl Scout Leader meeting so I can go see Dr. John play tonight. But see, I planned to see Dr. John BEFORE I knew out the meeting. That makes it okay, right? Right?

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