family centered lifestyles

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-12-2002
family centered lifestyles
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Wed, 07-16-2003 - 6:54pm
In reading through a couple of threads, I notice several people who seem to be shocked at several other posters who seem to not spend any or much time away from their children, unless at work.

It has dawned on me, while reading through these posts, that I seem to be one of those people who lead a more family-centered lifestyle. If I want to get together with friends, we do so as a family. We typically don't keep friends if we cannot stand their spouse, or we only see those friends occasionally. DH has one friend whose wife neither of us can stand, so he typically sees this friend during the day, while she is at work and our kids are at school. Parties and celebrations (weddings, showers, etc) are all family events. For instance, next month, when DH gets out of the military, I'm throwing him a "retirement" party. It will be a totally family-centered thing, with entire families invited, not just adults. For DS's birthday later this month, we will have a family-centered party, with entire families invited, not just his friends.

Sure, I get out and about with out the kids, and so does my DH, but it is typically at a time that is not generally "family time". During the school year, my girlfriend and I scrapbook once a week, while the kids are at school. We take a scrapbook class one evening a week, while our husbands hang out at one house or the other with our kids. DH goes to the races with his dad and uncles and brother 3-5 times a year. He will eventually take our kids, but feels it is too loud for them yet. We go out to dinner occasionally, just the two of us, but more regularly, we go to lunch together, while the kids are at school.

Personally, I have no desire to attend an "adult" party like others have described here. I never have had such desire. We have attended them while I was working, or for the miltiary with my DH, and I have gone out of obligation, but I MUCH prefered family-style parties thrown at July 4th or Christmas that our places of employment held; including the kids.

It really surprises me that there seem to be so many people here who view this as odd. So....opinions? thoughts? experiences?

Okmrsmommy-36, CPmom to DD-16 and DS-14

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 07-16-2003 - 7:08pm
>>>Personally, I have no desire to attend an "adult" party like others have described here. I never have had such desire. We have attended them while I was working, or for the miltiary with my DH, and I have gone out of obligation, but I MUCH prefered family-style parties thrown at July 4th or Christmas that our places of employment held; including the kids.

It really surprises me that there seem to be so many people here who view this as odd. So....opinions? thoughts? experiences?

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I'm with you 100%. DH & I have always been family-centered, and while we don't have children now, I can't imagine that when we do we'll be struggling to find a babysitter because they're too burdensome & we want our "DINK" lifestyle back for an evening. I think if our children weren't welcome at a party, I likely wouldn't go. We don't drink, we don't regularly attend adults-only parties, cocktail parties, soirées etc. I don't see that changing once we bring children into our lives.

We much prefer an evening enjoying each other's company, or if we're visiting our extended families, an evening with the *whole* family...kids & all.

I don't think it's odd, I don't think it's low-class, & I don't think it shows a lack of social skills. People simply have different reasons & preferences for how they want to spend their time.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-2003
Wed, 07-16-2003 - 7:17pm
DH and I do get away without the kids. I just don't think that people who don't are somehow weird, or that their marriage is lacking in some way.

We don't go out every Friday night; we tend to do overnights away two or three times a year, and then just three or four more date nights each year. So we kind of save up the dates for a big thing. It used to be New York most of the time, simply because my sister used to live in Westchester and we could drop DS1 off with her. Now we either go to Boston or to a resort hotel in CT, and my parents babysit. I'd call myself an attachment parent, but I really do love those nights with just DH. We're going to Italy next week (!) and my sister and I are already negotiating the babysitting tradeoffs.

Congratulations! I'm so happy to hear it. I just heard the good news and popped back over, just in case you were still checking in.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 07-16-2003 - 7:26pm
We didn't get a lot of no children time when our kids were little. It wasn't because we wanted to spend all of our time with our kids but due to lack of babysitters. We never lived by family, sometimes didn't know anyone who could watch the kids or didn't have the money to pay a baby sitter. Sometimes when there were adult events one of us would go and the other would stay home with the kids. I would have loved to have more alone time with my DH/adult time but it just was not feasible for a lot of years.

Our first trip without the kids was 3 years ago when our DDs were 17, 15 and 11. The only thing that made that possible was that when DH retired from the Air Force we moved about 45 mintutes from where our IL's live.

But now that the kids are older we are taking advantage of not needing babysitters. We did little over night trips for both our 20th and 21st anniversaries. It is so great to just get in the car and go and not worry about what to do with the kids. We find that a great place to get some alone time is just to run errands together. It's nice being in the car with no distractions.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2000
Wed, 07-16-2003 - 7:29pm
I don't view the way you socialize as odd. As I have stated in my numerous responses to the wedding thread, *most* of the socializing dh and I do is family-oriented. Since almost all of the people we hang out with have kids, it is way easier to plan a get-together if kids are included. BUT, that's not to say that we never go to adults-only gatherings. They are much rarer, but they happen occasionally. We just went to a birthdayy party for friends of mine from high school. It wasn't expressly stated that kids were not invited, but I figured as much since it was being held at 7 pm.

I was just talking about this subject with my mom and sister b/c my sister was surprised that we don't hire babysitters ever. It's not that I wouldn't hire a babysitter but we haven't really needed to. The few times that dh and I go out together w/o the kids, my parents are able to babysit. All other times I go out, either my mom watches them if dh is at work, or dh is home with them. Most of our socializing occurs right here in our neighborhood with our neighbors. Almost all have kids so we usually have BBQs in the summer or early dinners in the fall/winter.

In addition, almost all of our friends who have kids do not have much or any family nearby, so when there are parties, showers, etc, there isn't a lot of extended family there in addition to the friends. The only family I have in this area are my parents and my brother and his family - my father and mother both grew up in different states. When I have bday parties for my kids, it's usually just my kids' friends. My mom has a separate family dinner at her house to celebrate birthdays. Dh's family lives on the west coast, and we only see them about once a year.

I'd have to say, on average, I probably go out w/o my kids once or twice a month (excluding appts like the doctor, haircut, etc when my mom or dh is with the kids). I have a book club that meets once every 6 weeks or so, am involved with my community assn which has monthly meetings, and probably once every three months I get together with my childhood girlfriends. Dh golfs occasionally, sometimes goes to watch PPV boxing up the street at our neighbor's house(after the kids are in bed on Sat night), once in a great while will meet a friend for breakfast b/f work or for a drink after work.

While most of our free time is family-oriented, both of us do enjoy occasional adults only dinner parties or dinner alone together. Again, when you have young children who need constant supervision or are constantly for whatever reason, causing a conversation to get disrupted, it makes it hard to enjoy adult company. For me, I like to have stimulating adult conversation every so often. In fact, I'm looking forward to dinner on Sunday night when dh and I will celebrate our 7th anniversary together. We'll be with the kids all day enjoying family time, but then will go out for some couple time.


After re-reading your post, I think your lifestyle doesn't sound much different than my own in terms of how much time we spend with our kids/family. The only main difference I see is that you have no desire to attend adult parties like I do. But it's not something we do often, probably a handful of times a year.

Maureen

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-07-1998
Wed, 07-16-2003 - 8:16pm
As far as "parties" go ours were all family ones when the kids were little (and dh has a BIG family LOL). I never could understand the concept of excluding kids from things like weddings. What that tells me is it's either going to be incredibly stuffy and boring, or everyone wants to get drunk.

However, dh and I did like to get out for occasional "us" time without the kids. We felt is was important to have time to be a couple without being Mom and Dad. Our children have two set of cousins that are all the same age, we had our first kids together (my SIL and I had the same due date LOL) and then we all had our second kids together, plus grandparents, cousins and other aunts and uncles, there were always plenty of family to go visit. We never once used a paid babysitter for those evenings.

Pat

Pat

"If you need something done, ask the busy man. The other kind has no

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-29-1999
Wed, 07-16-2003 - 9:04pm
I wouldn't say that DH and I have an un-family-centered lifestyle, but if we're invited to something that starts around DS's bedtime (7pm), DS isn't coming. We get out a few times a year w/o DS for work things for DH or "date nights," but it's not to often. We love spending time w/DS, but sometimes it's nice to be able to have a drink and be a grown up w/o worrying about DS! C
Avatar for bobcatkathi
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 07-16-2003 - 10:41pm
Sound pretty normal to my experiences. I don't take my children to wedding or funerals unless they want to go. They are 12 and 13 so they make their own decisions about that.

Sometimes they don't go to dinner parties with us if they don't want to go. Old folks can be boring to kids. We have lots of over 55 year old friends. Bores the kids. No drinking around us either... never.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Thu, 07-17-2003 - 12:12am
Whoa! Having the desire to go to an adult party every now and then means you're not "family centered"??? I go to one wedding a year TOPS, and one night out at an adult formal event doesn't define who I am or how I interact with my family.

Maybe I'm reading too much into your post, and if I am, I'm sorry. I guess the undertone that bothers me is that you would not want to go to another loved one's party if your children were not welcome. It is important to remember that while your children are, and should be, the most important thing in YOUR life, they're not the most important thing in everyone else's. They don't have a God-given right to be invited to everything - especially a formal event.

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-12-2002
Thu, 07-17-2003 - 12:28am
I did not intend for my post to insinuate that if you enjoy "adult events" then you don't appreciate and love your family. I was refering to people who do not enjoy adult events, and would rather hang out at a BBQ with their entire family than to go to an "adult event" and party, dance and drink.

What I meant by "family-centered lifestyles" was people who enjoy the family-centered activities RATHER THAN the "adult-events". If you have a better "title" for it, I'm all ears.

Okmrsmommy-36, CPmom to DD-16 and DS-14

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 07-17-2003 - 2:11am
I don't view it as odd, if you want don't want to attend an "adult only function"....but I do think an adults only invite should be respected. It is perfectly acceptable to turn down an invitation if you can't or don't want to find a sitter....it is totally inappropriate to bring along the children or infant anyway.

I turned down an invite to a wedding when my daughter was about three months old, I was nursing and she was NOT invited. When the Bride got the RSVP she called and said that she didn't want the baby in the church(there wasn't a "cry room") but she was more than welcome at the reception. I talked my sister into coming along to the wedding(it was out of town to be my "babysitter". She stayed with my daughter during the church service and also at the hotel. I went between the reception and our room to nurse her. It worked out well for all involved. I got the share in the "brides" day and I was able to nurse and be close to my daughter.

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