We bring Fritz everywhere with us. It has been one of the best parts of parenthood seeing him discover the world. He hears new noises, sees new faces, smells new smells and takes in all of the color and light around him. It really is quite magical.
We take Fritz out to dinner (but have a NO tablecloth rule), he has traveled with us, stayed in nice hotels, and been to breweries in Milwaukee, San Diego, Minneapolis and most recently Little Thistle in Rochester, MN. Steve and Dawn, the owners, are the kind of people every community should be blessed with. Not only are they GOOD people (like the best), but they brew fantastic beer. Steve even dropped off a Little Thistle onesie for Fritz, when he was first born! To say we feel comfortable there is an understatement, we feel welcome, at home, even. It is an escape for us out of the house on a Friday night. Could we get a babysitter, sure? BUT we pay $15 an hour and sometimes we would rather spend time with our child after a week of working all day then pay someone $60 to sit with him, in another house, for four hours.
The reason I’m telling you this is because recently the topic of babies in a brewery came up. Our local radio station published an article by one of their personalities on the issue. I probably shouldn’t have taken it personally, but it felt personal. Primarily since the writer was there the night, I was, with my Fritz and another family and their two kids. Maybe, I’m being oddly sensitive, but it felt like an attack on my parenting. And I’ll say it: I AM A REALLY GOOD MOM. ADAM IS A REALLY GOOD DAD. I don’t need to be told that by anyone, or be lead to second guess it.
Here is the writer’s point of view: babies in breweries are a NO. Please note: this is a brewery, not a bar, though Fritz has been to a bar, too! He loved it and slept the WHOLE time. Adam and I aren’t getting drunk. We are having a drink (maybe two) with friends, to enjoy their company and watch our sweet children interact. Honestly, it is entertaining! They giggle, take in their surrounding, and might yelp a little if they want some milk.
The author said the kids made her feel awkward. She didn’t see the point of them being there, because Little Thistle doesn’t serve food. She suggested parents should plan ahead, find a babysitter and not bring a child to a place where other adults want to get drunk. Again, this isn’t a bar. I personally have never gotten drunk at a brewery. But to each their own. I’m not going to shove my “morals and values” in this woman’s face and tell her if the decisions she makes are right or wrong, but my decision to have my baby at a brewery, made her feel weird. And that is ok, but it makes me feel weird.
“Full disclosure: I'm not a parent, but if I were I wouldn't be bringing my child to a brewery that doesn't serve food. Why do they need to be there? Are they eating food too? (That I understand!) Do I need to censor myself around them because they're so young? Honestly, that's how it felt.”
Fritz is eight months, so unless they serve organic puree, he is not eating. It is milk for that kiddo. And he is going to hear worse things on the playground than he is coming from your mouth.
“I get it - parents need a night out. Plan ahead. If what you really want to do is try a brewery, why not find child care so you can truly enjoy yourself? You wouldn't have to watch them. You could just focus on the beer and each other. I do understand that sometimes finding child care is easier than others, but isn't a plan like this worth a little more planning ahead?
I did wonder if maybe I was being insensitive about this. As I said, I'm not a parent. I went to talk to our resident "Mom expert" Jessica Williams of Y105-FM and got her perspective on this scenario. She said, "I wouldn't bring my kids to a brewery that didn't serve food. I would think that'd be boring for them.""
A few points here, last Friday, I DID TRULY enjoy myself! We met new friends for the first time, and they were SO lovely! Adam and I can’t wait to hang out with them again! Childcare is not cheap, sure we are in a position to afford it, but it adds up. $60-$80 every Friday is the typical rate and to be clear, Fritz does have babysitters! Last weekend he had one from 1 PM - 9 PM while Adam and I were up in the cities at a tailgate-themed couples shower. He is having one overnight when we go up to the cities for the U of M homecoming game. Sometimes we just choose to be with our child, because spending time with our child, in public is crucial to us. Fritz was not bored, we bring toys, we talk to him. We don’t ignore him while we enjoy our beers. I’m guessing the mom-expert’s kids are older than Fritz, but they also might enjoy the old school Nintendo, Pac-Man, tons of board games or the bags that are outside!
Honestly, there seemed to be more parents with kids at Little Thistle than without. Maybe that is where the uncomfortable feeling comes from? Before I had kids I made unfair judgements too. I would get annoyed when a child sitting behind me in an airplane would kick my seat or when when would run in front of my cart in the grocery store. But I get it now. We are all doing THE BEST we can.
I did something I never do, and I choose to respond to the radio station on Facebook, and I had a pending request from the author (I think from a few months ago) and reposted it on her wall. She said it was to keep the dialogue open. I’m guessing the radio station is loving all the traffic they are getting and kudos. But as my friends put it maybe starting a “mommy war” as clickbait wasn’t the most delightful way to go about it.
If you feel so inclined to read the article it can be found here.