By Sholain Govender-Bateman – Pretoria-based New Media journalism lecturer, former The Star and Pretoria News journalist & editor of magazines. She is mum to two gorgeous girls, Isobel and Aishwari, and wife to Barry Bateman. Twitter @sholain
Hubby and I were recently invited to a wedding and the invitation clearly stated that no children were allowed.
I must admit that upon first finding out that I would have to leave my girls at home on the day and have to find a babysitter, I was a bit annoyed. I’ve never been to a wedding where children were not allowed and since the wedding started at 3pm, I didn’t think it was necessary to exclude children.
My experience of weddings growing up in an Indian community are joyous occasions with a plethora of friends, relatives, neighbours and their extended families turning up to enjoy the day together. ‘Wedding breyani’ cooked in huge pots over outdoor wood fires were in abundance and children ran around uninhibited shrieking and playing as their mothers, aunts and grannies exchanged the latest family gossip.
Since granny and grandad who help babysit were also attending the wedding and we don’t have any other close relatives who live nearby, we had to ask our little one’s nanny, a mother of four, to stay over that day.
A few days before the wedding, our nanny informed us that she may not be able to babysit since her brother was undergoing surgery and she wanted to travel to see him that weekend. We planned on either not going to the wedding or just one of us attending as a courtesy but the more I thought about it the more frustrated I got thinking of the impracticality of not allowing children to family functions. Even more annoying was that there were other children at the wedding!
Admittedly, we had our very first grown-up aka child-free party this year for my birthday where we politely told guests that it was an adult only party that would go on late into the night. My lovely MIL took the girls to Witbank for the weekend and other parents who had handed over parenting duties to a babysitter that night confessed that it was a wonderful and rare opportunity for them to have a night to themselves to just let down their hair.
All turned out well with the wedding when our very amazing nanny insisted that she would postpone her trip to see her brother (who was recovering well after his op) and look after the girls. However, I know that other mums have strong views on this issue… someone said to me recently, “If my kids are not welcome, then I’m not welcome so I just don’t bother going.”
I think that it does depend on the type of event and the time of the event. Weddings are often shrouded in very delicate family politics and to not attend a wedding might often be viewed as a slight on the families involved. So what would you/do you do when you get a “No kids allowed” invite?