“My best friend is getting married. I was invited to the wedding but kids are not allowed. I have a small baby I’m not comfortable leaving behind but my friend is telling me I can’t miss this important day. What should I do?” Sound familiar?
Maybe your specific situation is a little different, maybe you have to travel far for this wedding and you’d have to leave your kids for days, maybe you just don’t have the budget for a nanny or you don’t like to leave your kids with anyone. Whatever the reason is, parents get faced with this issue pretty often.
I get it from both sides.
From the parents side, they wonder why the wedding party wouldn’t welcome their kids, especially when it’s a small baby that would spend most of the time sleeping in a baby carrier. From the other side, the wedding party doesn’t want to have kids on their special day because they think kids are too loud, or might “ruin” their wedding or they want the parents to be “free” for one night. Whatever the reason is, there isn’t one right or wrong answer – it’s just two different points of view. However, this doesn’t mean we can impose our point of view to the other side and vice versa.
So, what do you do when you’re invited to a wedding you’re expected to go to but your kids are not allowed to come?
The first thing is to figure out if there’s someone you trust that could watch your kids? Most weddings are in hotels so maybe you could get a room there and have a nanny watch them in that room while you attend the wedding. That way you’re close enough in case your kids need you or you need to breastfeed.
However, if you can’t be separated from your kids, for whatever reason that is, then don’t go to the wedding. I know the wedding party might be mad at you because they don’t understand, but believe me, once they have their own kids they will understand. If they are truly a close friend, your friendship should be strong enough overcome this and if it’s not maybe it’s not a friendship worth saving…
A lot of people will just say, “why don’t you leave your kids with a nanny?” It sounds simple, but for some mamas it’s not that simple. I am one of those mamas. I didn’t trust anyone with my kids plus both of my kids were exclusively breastfed and never took a bottle. Figuring out how to get my child fed while I was away was too complicated and the anxiety from having to leave my kids with someone else was just too much. Luckily I have a very supportive husband who understood me and we didn’t attend any wedding where my kids were not invited.
It won’t always be this way and probably once your kids are older it will be a lot easier to leave them with someone but as long as it doesn’t feel right to you, you shouldn’t do it. It took me about 3-4 years before I was comfortable leaving my kids with someone. Don’t feel like you have to do go, your only responsibility is to your kids and to yourself, listen to your instincts.
It is hard for someone without kids, the people getting married, to understand that most likely your kids wouldn’t ruin their wedding. It is almost impossible to convince them to let you bring your kids and honestly it’s not worth fighting over.
Unfortunately we live in a society that is not always inclusive of kids. I have to add that not every country is this way. I was raised in Costa Rica and I don’t recall ever attending a wedding where kids weren’t invited. Kids are just part of life and they are welcomed at events like this, they even get their own table sometimes and you usually find them just playing during the wedding while the parents mingle with the other guest.
In an ideal world, this is how all weddings would be so the parents wouldn’t have to chose between going to a wedding of someone they care and their own children. But it is not this way and if you don’t feel comfortable leaving your kids behind, the easiest thing to do is just not go to the wedding.
You shouldn’t feel or bad guilty, nor cornered into going. You have to do what you feel is right and it’s best for your family. You have to listen to your instincts and if they’re telling you not to go without your kids, and your kids are not invited, then it’s simple, don’t go.
If you’re close to the wedding party they might be mad, even imply you don’t care about them if you don’t make an effort to come. But here’s the thing, family always comes first. If this person has been your friend for years, they should respect your decision the same way you’re respecting their decision and not showing up with your kids.
Don’t feel bad for making the decision that feels right to you, even if it’s not well received by others. Parenthood is challenging enough as is and the last thing anyone should do is feel guilty about the decisions you make. There will always be plenty of time to catch up and if it’s that important for you to attend, maybe, just maybe there will be a way to make it work.
When you’re faced with a hard decision remember what your number one priority: your family. Once you remember that, making a decision will be a lot lot easier.