Causing Controversy

After spending the morning at the hairstylist her hair looked fabulous, it was “up” but with lots of curls cascading down. The way her husband liked it. He had been away from home for months and this was their first night out with no children. The dress had been picked out special. New open toes shoes and a pedicure! The day prior her nails had been done. With a normal wardrobe of sweatpants and a t-shirt, being a stay at home mom of a 6 month old didn’t create the need to sport the “career wardrobe” in the back of her closet.

The husband had purchased his dress mess jacket and after putting on all the medals and accessories (i.e. the orange colored socks that symbolized the fact he went to University of Tennessee), he looked almost as good as her.

This Military wife had been struggling with the idea of going to the Ball all day. ”Should I leave the baby, maybe I should stay home?” 

*Ding Dong*

The doorbells rings. He answers the door, she is in the bathroom composing herself. She is still trying to rationalize leaving the baby. She had pumped her breast milk, so the baby could enjoy it later. She had thought of everything, yet still she was having second thoughts.

When she came out of the bathroom and saw her husband with his jacket on, she felt a flutter in her stomach. The man in uniform who had stolen her heart all those years ago. She couldn’t let him down.

She hurriedly talked to the sitter, who had already received the full baby briefing from her husband. She kissed and hugged her baby and they both quickly left the house before they changed their minds.

At the ball, the evening was turning out to be quite amazing.

She met some of the guys from his division and their wives. He looked at her with that spark in his eyes and they were flirting with one another and for once in a long time they were beginning to relax and enjoy each other’s company as husband and wife vs. dad and mom.

And then….

out of the corner of her eye she saw….no it couldn’t be…..a ….baby.

As they made their way to their table, the baby came closer. Oh no! The mom and the baby sat at their table.

Guilt.

Frustration.

More Guilt.

The side conversation between the “guys”.

Guy1: Whose wife is that?

Her Husband: Oh no, my wife is not going to take this well. We just left our 6 month at home and she was a wreck leaving her for the first time.

Overhearing the CO: Oh, Mrs. So-So, thank you for coming. Your baby will definitely liven up the evening.

Guy1 and Husband: (Snicker at each other). 

Guy1: Who’s wife is that?!

Husband: This is not good.

In the background:

Sr. Chief: What the *!@*! Hell is a baby doing here?! Sir, this isn’t exactly the best place for baby (as he takes a drink of his Sam Adams).

—–

That is just one of the reasons why babies do not belong at a ball. 

Recently over at SpouseBUZZ.com they had a post on this subject.  They had comments come through for and against.  I thought since we are in Sub Ball season, I’d write my thoughts on it here.  Plus, Im new over there and I really didn’t want to cause controversy.

Personally, I don’t think babies belong at a Military Ball.  I have been to Army, Air Force and Navy Balls and have never seen a baby at one.  Im actually shocked someone would consider bringing their baby.  A Ball is an adult function, alcohol is being served, not to mention a baby is distracting.  The author stated because her baby was “in arms” she doubted most attendees knew the baby was there.  I doubt anyone would confront someone who brought a baby, but that does not mean a person should take that as a sign of acceptance and approval.  I understand sitters cancel and that it’s hard to find a trusted sitter with our nomadic lifestyle.  If your baby nurses you might feel uncomfortable leaving him/her.

The bottom line:  We should respect the spirit of the event, the tradition and the other guests.  To assume no one will be offended, bothered, or uncomfortable with your baby attending this formal Military event is very presumptuous and disrespectful.  We should have a spirit of gratitude at the opportunity to be a guest at such an event vs. a spirit of expectation in that everyone should accommodate a sudden choice to bring a child.    To send the message to other wives that they should also bring their baby if they have an issue with a sitter, nursing, health issue etc. in my opinion ruins the spirit of the event.  If babies were allowed and invited, it would say so on the invitation.   

The Submarine Ball’s are starting around the country and will continue over the next couple of weeks, so I thought this was a great time to address this “hot” topic.  

Update:  Here is the link to the post I made over at submarinewife.com and some comments.

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6 Responses to “Causing Controversy”


  1. 1 LMT 23 April, 2007 at 8:36 pm

    OMG, your story sounds so much like my first experience while in GE and leaving my first baby for a ball. I did leave the baby, as I should have or I would have just stayed home. I agree with your take and even though I am old ‘over there’ I don’t normally throw my input into discussions that are liable to cause issues amongst the crew! 🙂

    A formal ball is an adult function and should be seen as such. Tradition in all areas is beginning to take a back seat to a new generation and I find it rather sad to be honest. I admit that while nursing I did take the baby to a Hail & Farewell, but it was with prior permission of the CO, I would never have taken the baby or attended otherwise, even at a lesser event. I just simply know that if I cannot find a babysitter for most events, I will not attend. It’s that simple and I do it out of respect for the function and those attending as well as military tradition!

  2. 2 Wendy 23 April, 2007 at 10:48 pm

    LMT – Thank you for leaving a comment. I didn’t want to be the lone ranger. We’ll have to share Germany stories at some point in the future!

  3. 3 Butterfly Wife 24 April, 2007 at 7:39 am

    I read that post over at Spouse Buzz and thought “how sweet”. But I did not think of it from the other side of coin. Thanks for showing me that side too. I understand both perspectives. You got me thinking.

  4. 4 Cristin 24 April, 2007 at 7:55 am

    I agree that a baby should not be brought to a ball. I’m also a big believer in the theory that if a child is invited, the invitation will say so!

  5. 5 armywifetoddlermom 24 April, 2007 at 12:43 pm

    I have missed many a function due to this issue…I did not feel as if it was my place to bring my babies( who I nursed for 15 months) to a function which was meant for adults to relax.

    On those days I felt like I could not attend a function my Husband had his Brother fly in one time, and his Mother the other. His Mother was truly proud to accompany her Son, dressed in blues, with all of his medals.

    I think taking ones Mother might be a good alternative.

    I only take my children when they are invited to such an event. I do believe, that is what family days are for.

  6. 6 mismysailor 25 April, 2007 at 12:33 pm

    I’m with you on this one!


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