Let’s face it, as parents we spend a lot of time in places we would rather not be: Pediatrician’s offices, playgrounds, porta-potties, waterparks, etc. (those last two are interchangeable, by the way).
In fact, according to a study, (ok, my husband), 88.6% of our time is spent in places where the question… “what the hell am I doing here?” is not rhetorical. We hear a lot about adult venues striving to make their environment more “kid-friendly”… but really, shouldn’t kid-oriented spots return the favor by attempting to be more adult-friendly? Enough with Despicable Me, would it kill the pediatrician’s office to air an episode of “Orange is the New Black” in the waiting room every once in a while? Clearly this evolution would take time… but the obvious, and quickest solution to this injustice would be to add an open bar to some of the most wonderful kid-oriented venues.
Let’s start with these:
1. Chuck E. Cheese’s. When you think about it, Chuck E. Cheese’s is just a casino for shorties. There are no clocks, you have no idea how long you’ve been there, and by the time you leave you’ve blown through all your coin. Obsessed gamblers mindlessly hover over machines in hopes of hitting the jackpot, only to discover that nobody ever really leaves there a winner. The disappointment is so great that everyone ends up stuffing their faces with pizza before stumbling back out into daylight. Hey C Diddy – what does a girl have to do to get a drink around here?
2. Justice. A visit to justice is an out-of-body experience that involves sequins, glitter, neon, and girls wearing shirts with sayings like “I go nuts for donuts”. Five feet into the store and you feel like you’ve dropped acid. You want to leave but the next thing you know you’re holding a giant panda with googly eyes and standing next to someone in a rainbow glow-in-the-dark crop top and zebra print hightop sneakers. Eventually you find yourself asking, “where am I and how will I get home?” Alcohol in this setting would merely help dull the pain.
3. Dance Recitals. In theory, these are lovely. You can’t help but smile when the tutu-clad 4 year olds wearing bright red lipstick step out on stage, twirl, and then shimmy back off stage. You are in awe of the talented teens who manage to pull off a jazz number that is just one hitchkick short of a pole dance. … but somewhere between the 3rd and 4th hour of these endless shows the magic wears off. Suddenly parents in the audience begin to shift nervously in their seats and check their programs obsessively… “Only 16 more acts to go…only 15 more…” we whisper frantically to each other. By the time the show ends even non-drinkers are craving a martini and a cigarette.
4. Girl Scout Campsites. The Best. Weekend. Ever! Any time you hear a group of moms say “I remember coming here as a kid!” you know your weekend is going to suck. 4 foot cots that have stains from the 70s? No hair dryer or running water for miles? Humidity and bugs? Moldy pillows? Pass the flask.
5. Music Time at the Bookstore. This is a solid hour of awkwardness for everyone involved, and truthfully, alcohol would only help mildly here. The audience inevitably suffers second-hand embarrassment for the guy reading the book in silly voices and it only gets worse once he grabs his guitar and begins to sing. A few drinks in and moms might turn to each other with that “wow – this guy is GOOD!” nod… a few more and we might even find ourselves buying one of his “Stan the Singing Man” CDs.
6. Hollister. The teen equivalent of a swanky club that everyone wants to get into but nobody really knows why. It’s dark, the music is blaring, it reeks of cheap cologne, and you are surrounded by people who are much cooler than you. All that’s missing is a bouncer at the door. Within two minutes of entering, you lose the people you came with and are roaming around by yourself. Without a doubt you are going to make bad decisions here and the next day you’re bound to regret what you brought home. Who wants to do a shot?
7. Mini Golf. This is the family activity that looks good from afar but is far from good. Inevitably you will find yourself behind a family of 10 who thinks they are on the PGA tour. As Uncle Tim works on his perfect form, your 8 and 6 year old are using their clubs as swords and wading in the toxic river near the windmill. You manage to muster up optimism as you tee off at each hole, but without fail your child launches the ball like a rocket and then follows up with 55 futile whacks before picking up the ball and dropping it in the hole while your other child berates him for simultaneously sucking AND cheating. Repeat 18 times. Mini golf would benefit from mini bar.
8. 8:30 am Pee Wee Soccer Games. Sure it’s early, but that’s really the point. After rolling out of bed at 7am, arguing with a 4 year old about why shin guards are important (after explaining what a “shin” is in the first place), stuffing their chubby little feet into cleats that are as narrow as Barbie shoes and racing off to an all important 3-4 year old co-ed soccer “game”, most parents look stressed and exhausted by their 8:29 arrival. How amazing would it be to sip a mimosa or bloody mary while watching little Grace and Hannah run their little hearts out on the field? It might even lead to some fun adult drinking games where parents drink every time a child runs off the field crying or scores on their own team.
9. Disney World. Any place where people end up crying in the bathroom automatically deserves an open bar.
10. Gymboree. This is not really a store as much as a slap-in-the-face reminder of how you thought your life would be when you first had kids, and how miserably you’ve failed at achieving any of that. Remember when you thought your children would be perfectly coordinated from head to toe and would hold hands as they skipped to the playground? A glass of Pinot would help you forget you’ve completely screwed as a mom, on every level. Oh, and by the way, you’ll never be able to master a dumb ass French braid. Even better, an open bar would increase the chances that the mom shopping with mini Kate Upton might get buzzed and trip on an alligator themed rain boot. Not that I would want that…
11. The Please Touch Museum. Let’s be honest, these should really be called the “Please Pass the Purell” museum. In the span of 30 minutes your child will morph from a doctor to an airline pilot to a construction worker. Eventually you will find yourself in the “grocery store” where your child will grab the fake apple that the kid picking his nose just put down. Where is the pretend bar so mom can order a pretend mojito?
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