My husband and I are happily child-free, though most of our new colleagues and friends have young children. Now that the worst of the pandemic seems to be behind us, we are eager to entertain at home and connect with our new friends. The problem: One of us would prefer to invite couples over without their children, so the adults can have a conversation. The other worries about the impression this might create, asking new friends and colleagues to assume the expense and complication of arranging child care. Any thoughts on this?
Let’s start with the convivial basis of your question and go from there: You and your husband want to welcome new friends into your home to deepen your relationships with them. I love it! The hiccup: You want to exclude their kids. I get that, too. My home isn’t child-friendly, and I’m not particularly interested in redecorating or having my best attempts at sheet-pan dinners (or adult conversations) hijacked by fractious 8-year-olds.
You have the right to set your guest list. Here’s the thing, though: An invitation that excludes children may be burdensome, as you note, or even off-putting to some parents. Arranging child care for social events is not a luxury everyone can afford. And ignoring the needs of your guests may chill the very friendliness you are trying to foster.
So talk to your new friends! “My spouse and I would love to have you over for dinner. We’re not equipped to handle kids, though. So, if you’re comfortable hiring a babysitter, we can do it at our place. Or we can all meet up for a picnic in the park or for a short hike. What works for you?” Some friends will hire sitters; others won’t. But don’t let the forum stand in the way of what’s important here: building closer relationships.