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Celebrating New Year’s Eve as a Parent…Times Sure Have Changed!

 .                                                                               new years

My husband’s birthday is New Year’s Eve, so ever since we’ve been together (almost 18 years now) we usually have a big plan for the night. When we were in college in Boston we would usually go to some house party that started at 10 p.m. and ended at 4 in the morning.  When we graduated and moved to New York City, we would  go to some fancy dinner and trendy club and dance the night away. One year my friends and I camped out on 42nd street all afternoon just so we could see the ball drop at midnight. I was glad I checked that off my bucket list, but did not enjoy the thousands of other people using the streets as their bathroom around us. 

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(the good ole’ days…)

Once we moved to the ‘burbs and became parents, it seems the allure of New Year’s Eve has faded along with our plans!  Being a parent and partying on New Year’s Eve  just don’t mix. 

I like to think that my husband and I have a fairly active social life. We go out with friends often, we have date nights, we even plan trips away with each other without the kids. But when it comes to the New Year’s Eve planning, it’s a whole different story. The first hurdle is locking down a babysitter, which is nearly impossible for New Year’s. Unless you have really supportive parents or relatives who don’t have any plans, the babysitting pool is pretty scarce on the biggest party night of the year. We have basically given up on the idea of booking a babysitter at all for December 31.

As parents we have tried many ways to celebrate the big New Year’s night. We have had people over to our house, tried dinners out and attended our friend’s house parties locally with kids in tow. This always seems like a great idea until it reaches 11 p.m. and all of the kids are at the end of their rope and meltdowns are happening all around us. One New Year’s Eve, all of us parents decided to just call it a night before the ball even dropped in order to save our sanity for the next day.  

The next year we thought it would be a great idea to go away for New Year’s with two other families and all of our kids. We rented a house in Vermont and had dreams of hot cocoa and cuddly dinners at home without worrying about driving anywhere or getting a babysitter. The problem with this plan was that the kids ran the show – they chose their bedrooms right next to each other, they chose to wake up at 5 a.m., and they make the choice to have meltdowns on the ski slopes, and demanded to go home and ruin the whole day. It ended up being more work being away than if we had just stayed at home.  

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(New Year’s Nowadays….)

I love my husband and I always want him to have a happy birthday. After all, he was born on the biggest party night of the year. But after attempting multiple ways to celebrate New Year’s Eve with kids, I am ready to throw in the towel and stay home. My dream New Year’s Eve now would be ordering in food, a good family movie with popcorn and snacks, kids in bed by 9 p.m. and mom and dad on the couch with champagne watching Ryan Seacrest and the ball drop. Everyone’s safe and sound, and in bed at a reasonable time, and we wake up the next day ready and refreshed to start a New Year. 

If this is what happens when you become a parent, I am embracing it and enjoying my couch and my pjs and my well-rested kids this New Year’s. 

How do you and your family celebrate New Year’s Eve?  I’d love the suggestions!

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