Kids are the best thing that could have happened to me for so many reasons. No reason is more shallow and self-serving, however, than the one I use this time of year.
While I love a good time as much as the next holiday partygoer, I am not the least bit squeamish about using my children as human shields in a half-hearted attempt to avoid what I consider one of the worst nights of the year for going out — New Year's Eve.
Back when I performed in comedy clubs and waited tables, I was always so relieved to have to work on New Year's Eve. It would spare me the bother of having to either come up with something to do or, even worse, find an excuse for why I wasn't going along with what everyone else was doing.
See, here's a little-known fact about me that I'd like to now publicly share. I hate New Year's Eve. Hate. It.
People are also reading…
I hate the exhaustive energy and resources spent to have what boils down to a crowded, overpromised and under delivered evening. I would venture to guess I'm not alone, either. How many people out there on the last night of the year "living it up" just wish they were having a nice night at home with loved ones? Well, if you are like me and hate getting all done up and hitting the town for New Year's Eve, you, my friend, need to get yourself a kid!
Having children is the absolute BEST excuse when trying to avoid leaving home on Dec. 31.
I mean, I hope you are choosing to become a parent for a long list of very noble and less selfish reasons than using them as cover for just one night out of an entire year. But I wouldn't judge you if a smile broke across your face upon discovering that you can use your children as a means of getting out of all sorts of less-than-desirable social situations.
It's true. And anyone who claims they've never used their kids as an excuse for getting out of doing something they didn't want to do is a liar. Honestly, there are few certainties that come with parenting. We may never know when we'll next get a good night's sleep or have the bathroom to ourselves. But we can count on little things such as when running late to somewhere, something will happen (i.e. lost shoe, uncooperative coat, 3-year-old's emotional meltdown) that will make you even later. And, when faced with an unpalatable social invitation, you can always blame the kids for not being able to attend.
"We would love to, but ..." "We couldn't get a baby sitter." "Joey has a fever." "Oh, sorry, but that's during Emma's nap time." "We'd love to, but Jimmy has a fear of cake."
Employ any of these, and it's an instant get-out-of-jail-free card. Couple this with a high-demand baby-sitter night like New Year's Eve, and the excuse script practically writes itself.
Don't misunderstand me: I'm not anti-social. I have every intention of hosting a small kid-friendly get-together at my house on Dec. 31. I love people and a fun night of celebrating. I just don't want to leave my house to do it.
So to you brave souls going out on New Year's Eve: Have fun, make good choices, and I will see you in 2016 — baby sitter pending.
Molly Cavanaugh of Omaha Channel 94.1 FM's Big Party Show is a mom to two children and lives in Chicago. She writes weekly for momaha.com.
"We would love to, but ..." • "We couldn't get a babysitter." • "Joey has a fever." • "Oh, sorry, but that's during Emma's nap time." • "We'd love to, but Jimmy has a fear of cake."