"I Don't Want to Entertain Other People's Kids" — Woman Bails on Plans If Friends Bring Children

Is it OK to bow out of plans once you realize your friends might be bringing their children? Or, should there be designated kid-free nights?

Jennifer Tisdale - Author

Aug. 7 2023, Published 6:12 p.m. ET

angry woman
Source: Getty Images; Reddit

Ah yes, the ongoing war between the child-free vs. the parents wages on in a new way. This time it comes in the form of one woman refusing to make plans with friends if they bring their kids.

Obviously there is more to the story, but something immediately jumps out at me. It all boils down to the idea that one person's time is more valuable than the other. So whose side are you going to be on? Let the battle begin.

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Is she the jerk for wanting just a girls' night? This woman asked for wine, not whine.

A woman who goes by u/dvh82685 on Reddit — we'll call her Samantha — brought a pretty polarizing question to the "Am I the A------" (AITA) subreddit. Here's what went down.

Like a lot of us, Samantha's friendship circle has gotten smaller as she has gotten older. Her core friend group from uni (as in university) only gets together twice a year at the most, and they all live in the same town.

Two women drink wine
Source: Getty Images

No kids allowed at wine night!

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Out of the seven friends, she is the only one who is child-free. One is childless, three are moms, and two were pregnant with their first kids at the time of the post. (Note: Many online circles distinguish between "child-free" vs. "childless.")

"Every time someone asks to meet up and we finally find a date everyone is available, one of the moms always asks if they can bring their child, or children," she writes. Out of the three mothers, one of two always asks.

The third mom is invested in an evening free from her children. After all, it's just one night. To be clear, Samantha made sure to point out that all three moms are married, with husbands who are fully capable of spending time with their children. (You'll notice I didn't write "babysit," as a parent doesn't babysit their own child.) They also have their own parents who could pitch in and yet, an actual babysitter is nowhere to be found. What a mystery.

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Raising your own child is not babysitting them
Source: Reddit/u/yet_another_sock

Raising your own child is not babysitting them

"So at this point I've stopped answering until they've set a time and place, someone has asked about kids, and I say I can't make it," said Samantha. "I hang out with them one on one, or in smaller groups instead." This method, while not ideal, has served Samantha well until an incident of sorts happened.

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Another hangout session was planned. This time, everyone was in for wine and BBQ. (I hope no one wore white to this gathering.) None of the moms asked about children coming, so Samantha thought she was in the clear. Sadly, she was not.

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A mom showed up with her 8-year-old in tow and Samantha was annoyed, rightfully so. When asked what was wrong, Samantha said nothing. Those feelings festered like an untreated wound. Roughly 30 minutes after the kid arrived, Samantha quietly left after claiming she didn't feel well. She didn't make a scene and chose not to disrupt the get-together.

This wasn't the move of a petulant child because during that half hour, the conversation had essentially been hijacked by the mom with the kid. "We hadn't had any 'adult talk.' We were just entertaining the kid. I would rather go home than do this for another 3–4 hours," she said.

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A woman holds her child in front of a grill
Source: Getty Images

Why is this kid at a barbecue?

Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, her friends began to notice a "pattern" emerging. The group chat lit up with various responses. "Some calling me an a------, others just saying they were annoyed with me for leaving, while the third mom having my back, and asked to meet up later that week to have a proper wine night."

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In my opinion, here's the most important piece of information. Samantha is a teacher. She spends all day every day with other people's children. It's not that she dislikes children; that's not it at all. But, spending time with other people's children is like bringing her work home with her. Why should she have to do that?

Friends don't last forever.
Source: Reddit/u/wasntmebutok

Like friendships passing in the night.

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Apparently Reddit agrees with us both. Samantha is not in the wrong here. "Wine night with friends from college pretty definitely means no children," responded one user. A mom chimed in and said she'd be furious if someone brought their children to a night out. "If I’ve sorted a sitter I don’t want to see any kids," she said.

One person had a great idea based on their own personal experience. As a teen, they regularly babysat for a group of moms who had a girls' night twice a month. This could solve Samantha's friend's problem. They need to find one babysitter willing to sit for multiple children. It might take a minute, but surely some brave youth will step up to the plate.

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