How Being A Parent Transforms New Year's Eve Plans

Self on 12.31.12
Contributing Writer bio

Photo: Amani Hasan / Creative Commons

My husband and I began our New Year’s Eve planning in November with high aspirations. We wanted to throw a huge party for all our friends and make it a legendary bash, complete with a live band and an epic gourmet spread of appetizers. Slowly, that plan began to disintegrate as issues came up, primarily what to do with the children. Without any family nearby and all our friends presumably at the party, there was no logical place to leave our kids for the night.

When other friends decided to host, it seemed a lot easier simply to hire a babysitter and go out ourselves. Thus began the search for a sitter, and it has officially ended in failure. Finding a babysitter on New Year’s Eve is not easy, I’ve discovered, despite the incentives I offer, a.k.a. bribery in the form of an increased hourly wage. Alas, instead of tucking our kids in and heading out for a night of deliciously alcohol-saturated celebration with friends, it would be just us, sitting in our PJs in the living room, watching movies till midnight (if we were lucky and didn’t crash by 9 p.m.). No, that would officially make us total losers; I’m twenty-five, for goodness’ sake, and this is New Year’s Eve! Even though my husband was surprisingly okay with that idea, I put down my foot and said no. Instead, we’ll drive two hours to be with my parents and some of their friends for a low-key evening of board games and hanging out in the sauna.

There are days I lament what parenting has turned me into. Once upon a time, I was a fun, party-loving person. Now, if I’m not being subjected to the whims of my babysitter’s schedule, I’m too exhausted to leave the house. Then there’s the sense of responsibility toward my kids; I no longer have the luxury of nursing a hangover by sleeping in and drinking exorbitant quantities of coffee the next day. Instead, I have to be ready to face the day by 6 a.m. On the other hand, since becoming a parent, I’ve discovered pleasant, alternative ways of enjoying myself. Whereas a board game night would have seemed like a punishment for me five years ago, it will probably be the highlight of the month for me now. Kids certainly have a knack for putting one’s social life into perspective. At least we’ve put off the inevitable PJs-and-movie-night New Year’s celebration for one more year...

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Tags: Holidays