I think Swede is getting to the bigger issue of whether we just generally reject or embrace the idea that a young infant can or "should" be included in the adult world of the parents. I do think it would be generally better if the cultural norm were for that to be the case. Sometimes when issues come up folks tend to look at it terms of the bigger picture. I mean, being asked to not nurse, for instance, can certainly be explained away as "one incident" but we do tend to want to look at that in a bigger context, yk?
In this case if we have a sub-culture around where VM went to school that takes a "what's the big deal" attitude to in-arms babies being excluded and we just kind of shrug off mothers missing adult events, we get into a pretty bad cycle, IMO. As it is we have a lot of mothers struggling with isolation, feeling like they have lost their adult selves, early weaning so mothers can have a life and etc. Isolated cases are not a big deal (probably no one is saying this is the end of the world for VM) but some choose to look at this as a collective and that's ok too.
Sometimes the divisive issue is more about on what level you're looking at something more than any real difference of opinion.
"And I totally understand feeling like attending is too big an obstacle for your family, but you made a choice for how to raise your kids, knew it involved sacrifices, and here's one of the many."
"I think the point is that you can't say "sleepy infants 0-1 ok, but not loud ones or kids over 1." It's all or nothing."
"Some folks spend a lot of time planning the perfect evening and their idea of that perfect evening does not involve children... theirs or someone elses. No matter how quiet or well-behaved, it changes the tone."
"When you make certain lifestyle choices, you have to deal with the consequences. There were many events I could not attend when my babies were small. Or sick. This is what adults do. People who plan reunions made a rule. Plan a next one and change the rules."
"No, people are ticked. They think their children were excluded and exceptions were made for other children. I have had these conversations with people after pretty much every wedding or grown up event I've attended because someone decided the rules don't apply to them and because no one kicks them out, they decide it must be ok. It's not. If you're not hosting or planning the event, you don't get to decide on they guest list. You can either accept or decline. Those are your options."
All of the above.
See, I guess I see a lot of different facets of being an adult. Certainly part of being a parent is making sacrifices - sure. But wanting to limit those (because there really are SO, so many!) is one way to help minimize the impact when the big ones must be made. I have seen many new parents rush to make sacrifices only to get pretty burned out by the time the real ones come along. Another part of being an adult is just living in this world and rolling with stuff but, to me, I'm not sure why one "side" feels totally comfortable telling someone to "suck it up" when it seems they may not be so willing to do the same. I mean, the event managers could just as well told VM that she was welcome to bring her in-arms infant...then it appears that some people on this thread would not have been able to enjoy themselves lest a baby poop or make them feel uncomfortable having a drink, or make them resentful that they got a sitter. Being an adult, keeping things in perspective and etc, is a two way street.
I also sense some implication that "AP" is this big self-sacrificing thing - a "lifestyle", a cause for resentment... Makes me wonder why that sentiment is expressed on this particular website but I can say that whatever someone thinks they know or can generalize about "AP" and even if one self-described "AP-er" does this or that... that "AP" isn't really anything other than a catch-all for a group of loosely related parenting choices so developing some resentment towards "those types" is pretty pointless.
I have chosen to take my two infants with me to most places. For me, just to be clear, this has absolutely NOTHING to do with thinking that an infant can't or shouldn't be left with a caregiver. Nothing whatsoever. It isn't a "lifestyle choice". It's pretty simple: when my babies are very small (under 6 months) I tend to enjoy myself and can relax much easier if they are with me. While I can accept that some people don't really like that, or want to see an infant at a bar, a restaurant, a festival, a party, or whatever, I'm not sure what "being an adult" has to do with that because I think being an adult is, again, a two way street.
I guess you get into "respect" and "rules". Well, I do struggle with the idea of "rules" and "parties" in the same sentence... but I do get the respect thing. But, I don't think asking for a bit of compromise indicates a lack of respect.
We don't know details of the invitation that the OP got for her reunion. She says she was "told" it was a no-kids event. So, it's really hard (for me) to see things from her perspective because we just don't know all the facts. The OP said this... "If I have a baby who stays with me and he really just nurses and hangs out in the sling, how could I be not invited to an event like that? It feels to me like unfair exclusion and sort of unreasonable." Is that what happened? She was either not invited or disinvited because she's an AP parent with a young baby?? They told her she couldn't attend?? That's what she is saying here, but initially, it was this... "I was just told that my highschool reunion is a no kids event-including my not even four month old who spends all of his time in the sling." That isn't saying she isn't invited, just that it is a no-kids event. So, what is it? I posed this question earlier in the thread and it hasn't been addressed. I think it makes a difference because the facts could change the tone of the thread. Certainly the OP has no obligation whatsoever to share anything, but IMO, she is making it look like she is getting discriminated against, but will only share her opinion/side of the issue.
Another thing is, if the OP is really upset about this, has she gone to the organizers and expressed her disappointment with the whole no-kids rule and that she feels she is not welcome because of the no-kids rule? Apparently, she was either told she is not invited because of this or she feels that she is disinvited because of this. She needs to take it to the source and go from there. We don't know if this has happened.
To VM, if you're headed to your 10 year, we are about 10 years apart. I can tell you that in my years between my 30s and my 40s one of the great things I discovered is that being "sensitive" to other people's wishes can be a hindrance. If you were raised with a heightened sense of obligation to make people happy that can be the root of some of the resentment that women face when they don't behave perfectly or meet expectations, and etc. The reality is that we get bent out of shape if we feel someone has purposefully disregarded our feelings/wishes. That explains the often higher expectations of following the norms that we put on women and not so much on men. We tend to not mind and take a much more generous approach to when people are just "doing their thing". Shifting your outlook to one of just "live and let live" and "assuming the best" combined with a small dab of obliviousness goes a LONG way. It doesn't work to show up to something and just disregard people's wishes but you can decide to stop keeping track of every rule, norm, expectation, and etc, placed on women in our little sub-cultures. If you are a genuinely good person who cares about people, you can do that and still be very well liked.
I don't think she's trying to make anything look like anything - just a combo vent and discussion. I'm sure she's not being discriminated against personally but rather feels like her participation was not important enough to the organizers for them to decide that an in-arms infant was fine (a small sacrifice in the OP's mind, and perhaps a disastrous one in other's mind).
Again, moral of the story, if we live in an area where in-arms infants are the norm...just go with it! I have been to hundreds of adult events with an infant. I have been asked to leave once and since that establishment has grown (the grungy hipster owners have had kids of their own) and now the venue has chairs outside for families. If it really isn't a big deal, it isn't. VM, next time put your money where your mouth is, mama, and just make it the norm!!
The idea that the only person who can meet a baby's needs is the mother who has to spend every waking moment with the baby is the caricature of AP that gives it a bad name, especially in feminist circles. . . . Babies need a consistent attachment figure for optimal growth and development, but consistency does not mean "sole". It has been a very rare phenomena in the history of the human species for a mother to be the sole caregiver of a child. If you aren't comfortable leaving your infant for short periods of time, that's your choice. But it's not a choice founded in science. And ultimately, it's not a choice that should require that other people change their values and beliefs to align with yours.