Monday, May 23, 2011

Family Unfriendly Block Party


Block parties in my neighborhood are not really kid friendly. Not when one of the dads walks around with two bottles of whiskey forcing shots on any innocent bystander he can find, and the older kidless generations of neighbors have a few kegs on ice in the middle of the street, and the random groups of single middle aged roughian types who swap each other on any given night, are so piss drunk they can barely speak a coherent thought, and all the parents of the twelve plus kids under 6yo that I hang out with, either yell at their kids for well, just being kids doing what kids do, or are tossing back shots or chugging a 50/50 margarita blend, and scream obscenities at each other because they just think it's funny to do while being drunk around all the kids that are just barely within earshot.

I know I know, some of you are thinking that I am just getting old and prun...udish. Maybe, maybe. But also, maybe they just suck. Maybe parents need to get a fucken clue. Maybe some parents need to learn, yes learn, because they obviously don't know, when it is okay to bring your kids out in public. Because the way I now see it, it is not okay to drag your kids around as you and everyone around you are getting piss drunk. I'm not talking about having a drink or two with a couple friends. I am talking about an entire steet drinking untill they are stupid. Tossing back the sauce the way the rest of us did in college. Prior to kids. When we didn't have to worry about our small children running around wild in the streets as we, well do the same thing. When we didn't have to be coherent at night to put our kids safely to bed. When we didn't have to hold our temper. Because when a 4 year old girl doesn't want to share her doll, there really is no reason to smack her on the ass and scream bloody murder in her face. Unless of course, if your shitfaced, because then, apparently it is okay.

So I left. Grabbed my kids, and my sober self, and walked away. There are times and places when it is simply not okay to have the kids in tow. Just because most people are doing it. Just because some parents think they are putting on a family event in the neighborhood, or a family playgroup every friday evening at someones house, does not mean it's okay to drink yourself into a stupor and bring your kids along for the ride. I realize I may be irritating some of you, I know most people drink and have no problem drinking heavily around their kids. I know this, because nearly everyone in my neighborhood does it. And of course, I used to be an alcohalic. But I just don't think it's okay. And I have vowed to myself that when the parents start getting drunk, we will leave. I fear that eventually, as my 3 and 1 year old get older, I will simply stop hanging out with the other families in the neighborhood once any alcohal comes out. I'll do it, for the sake of my kids. They deserve it.

Maybe that doesn't make me a Hot Dad. Maybe. But just like I believe it shows a sign of strength to be able to cry in front of someone. It is also a strength to set healthy boundaries for my family. And to not be afraid to walk away from a playgroup when many of the adults are acting more wreckless than their young kids. It is okay to not go with the flow, to not do what everyone else is doing. It's okay when it benefits my family and protects my kids.

I was an alcohalic. I drank and smoked myself stupid for several years. So I wonder this. Sometime in the future, I have no doubt that several of these parents I hang out with in my neighborhood will eventually realize they have a drinking problem. And when they do, they will look back and be racked with guilt and embarresment at all the social family neighborhood events they were plastered at. At all the times they were piss drunk in front of their kids, and thought they were having fun along with everyone else. Of course, right now if I speek up, they will mock me. They will look at me and resent the fact that I don't think it's okay to get plastered at our playgroups. So I will hold my tounge. And I will laugh when they finally realize it for themselves. I discovered this truth several years ago. Everyone eventually does. When will they? Untill then, I will simply distance myself from them.

"Ahhh, so that's where my nuts went."

12 comments:

Jenn said...

I completely agree with you on this. We have lived in plenty a neighborhood where the days after a party were just embarrassing and sad for most of the participants. I enjoy a beer, but my daughter is more important than a beverage.

Raquel's World said...

This totally reminds me of a party I attended once. The invite said "children are welcome".
I left mine behind b/c If I am drinking I do not bring the kids. There were lil kids running around all the drunken adults and one mom even gave her son a Jello shot. Everyone thought that was funny. Except me!
The party was outside in the winter and another idiot brought her 10 day old baby. I never dealt with any of those fools again. You are totally right to feel that way. Kids have no business being at an event where everyone is getting shitfaced!!

The Six-Fingered Monkey said...

I really, really liked this.

I drink. Sometimes, I drink a lot. However, as we enter the season of block parties and family cookouts I recognize that, sometimes, I will have my little ones with me. When I do, I plan on being sober. Its the way it has always been and always will be.

Shame on those that get shitfaced in front of their kids.

UP said...

This was good, of course! And I'm glad you don't drink any longer. I quite when Jimmy Carter was in the White House. I just got tired of being around drunk people at parties and didn't want to be like them...as to the kids...raised by wolves!!

UP

The Tame Lion said...

My wife used to call me party animal, she's wrong. I'm just an alcoholic...

Anonymous said...

Not to mention the fact that our children learn more by example than what we tell them.....soooo they will grow up thinking it's fine to get shitfaced....
You did well, SJ.
K.

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tammy said...

Great post. I know the reason my BIL had a drug and alcohol problem was because his parents thought it was okay to have their kids around all their partying. And they also thought it was funny when their son "accidentally" got drunk at age 8. And they wonder why I have issues with them.

Reality Jayne said...

Well...It seems the block parties from the 70s are a thing of the past

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