Guys, I rarely suffer from FOMO, otherwise known as the fear of missing out. In fact, I tend to swing more to the side of LOMO, or a love of missing out. I’m a homebody, often content with staying in and hanging out with my family. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy nights out, because I totally do, it’s that I never really mind staying home. Thankfully, since having a kid, I've found multiple reasons to stay at home, and a number of specific excuses parents can make to get out of plans. This, dear reader, is the freakin' dream.
For the record, I’m not suggesting that other parents lie to get out of commitments, or that the only reason you should procreate is because you'll have more than few solid excuses at your disposal. I'm simply acknowledging that with a kid (or kids) in the house, there’s pretty much always a reason to get out of plans if you’re dedicated and committed enough to find it. In fact, let's be real, even if you're not all that dedicated to the search of the perfect excuse, you'll find one anyway. Babies (and toddlers, and I imagine every other age of child) are good like that.
On any given night in our household, at least three of the following go-to excuses would apply. Let’s take a look, shall we? Here are the excuses — I mean, the totally legitimate reasons — that we may have to cancel our plans tonight. Feel free to borrow, my friends.
Any Variation Of “My Kid Isn’t Feeling Well”
Especially this time of year, when our entire household has what appears to be a permanent stuffy nose. Of course, there’s a spectrum of “not feeling well,” and I wouldn’t risk a serious illness, or really any discomfort, on anyone. However, a sick day at home when your kiddo snuggles in pajamas and you watch a Pixar film together? Those days actually aren’t the worst.
Any Variation Of “I’m Not Feeling Well”
Aforementioned stuffy nose not included, parenting takes a lot out of us that I’m pretty much always in need of a nap or a painkiller or like three glasses of wine, or all of the above. Even if you’re not actually sick, “well” is a subjective term.
This happens to my family all the time. What is it about our regular commitments that always makes them pile on top of each other? Looking at you, moms group and community arts organization. Some prior planning might make this easier to manage, but with the speed life comes at us, we’re lucky to even realize it in time for one of us to change plans.
"Our Childcare Fell Through"
What, you mean someone has something to do besides make my kid chicken nuggets and read him stories? What kind of monster doesn’t put their life on hold to come watch someone else's child (for a reasonable cash payment and access to our TV, of course)?
"My Partner Had Something Come Up Last-Minute"
And by “last-minute” I mean, “it was on his calendar weeks ago but we did not communicate with each other properly, so here we are.”
"We Have Family In Town"
No, I’m not being sneaky and counting the family that already lives in town. It just so happens that my son’s grandparents visit as often as schedules allow, so they’re typically here every few weeks, or every month or so, at the most. I could see how blaming visiting family members on the regular could seem a little shifty but, I promise, it’s true.
"My Kid Has A School Thing"
We use the term “school” loosely around here since, at two-and-a-half, our son is technically in daycare and not school. Still, they have parent meetings, and fundraisers, and parent conferences, so we’re often making the proper arrangements to attend. In my heart, it totally counts.
"Sorry, That’s Work Time"
As a freelancer, I get that my schedule can be kind confusing. I mean, technically, I’m carving time out of my week to stay home alone and be at my computer. It may seem like it’d be easy to work around it, but I’ve learned that unless I guard that time carefully, I can lose it.
"Yeah, That’s Date Night"
One of my new year’s resolutions is going to be making more time for my partner. In the meantime, I’m protecting our date night time like it’s my first born.
"We Already Have Plans"
Sometimes, those plans involve dinner reservations, or tickets to an event we've bought in advance. Sometimes, they include the couch. Either way, it’s technically true.