Nothing Says ‘Bad Mom’ Like Bringing Your Baby to a Bar

Promise not to call CPS after reading this post ok?

Going a month without feeling like I’m an unfit mother was pretty good. I hadn’t left her anywhere, always had an adequate amount of diapers (and still do thanks to a fabulous diaper cake from my husband’s grandma and aunts), and I seemed to be doing a pretty darn good job, considering. Where I crossed the line into questionable mothering skills was during BlogHer.

I hadn’t planned on partying it up. I’m much more of a homebody typically, and my idea of a good time is playing games or chit chatting with friends. So the lists and lists of parties to hit up wasn’t on my BlogHer to-do list. With or without my baby. But I did get a special invite to a very exclusive party that was for hand-picked bloggers this company wanted to get to know.
We weren’t suppose to tweet about it, or announce it on our blogs. It was totally on the D-L. So the night of the party I was torn between going to this secretive party to hear some alleged big announcement for us bloggers or go to a nice free dinner with my mom friends with their babies.

I wrote to one of the party organizers and told her I had my month-old baby with me and asked if it would be appropriate if I bring her. I tried to insist that I would be offended, but that I really wanted to know if I should go or not. She wrote me back and said it was fine to bring her, but to know there’s loud music playing so it was up to me. It wasn’t the clear answer I was looking for but after running into another friend who wanted to go, and since I had an invite I could use to put a friend on the list, I decided to go with the unknown.
Fast forward.

We’re at a bar, and Lil’ J is hungry. I breastfed in First Class but I think I draw the line at a bar. Not that I’m ever normally at bars so it won’t come up again but it was a strange situation. I went to the restroom to feed her and she went to sleep.

I went back out, scarfed down sushi, and all the other hors d’oeuvres they had around, and drank two Shirley temples. Stuffing my face is my way of coping with uncomfortable situations.

I talked with some of the people hosting the party and commented on how secretive it was, hinting at the fact that if there was a point to this get together, I was hoping they’d make it soon.

“Well yea, you know… The less you tell people, the more people you get to show up,” he told me.

Oh, so that was the ploy the whole time? Well, I fell for it. It was totally my fault, and I felt like a horrible mom for bringing my baby to a bar. The name of the place was “Mercer Bar” so I had no real good excuse. I was hoping I’d hear about a new opportunity but really, it’s something they could, and probably will write me about later. There was no real need for me to be there.

When this realization hit me I had a hard time keeping it together. It was like the dam holding all of my baby blues in blew, and I had to get out before I became a blogging topic.
Jill from Baby Rabies was sooooo sweet and helped me hail a cab (in New York… Ok, I’ll admit that was kind of fun) and get us situated and back to the hotel. I cried–no–bawled the whole way (I’m laughing about this now) and I’m sure the cab driver thought I was CRAZY!

I didn’t do the best job hiding my emotions before I left either. I guess some people noticed my leaving early because later someone said people were asking if I was uncomfortable at the bar because I’m Mormon. More than being embarrassed someone noticed–I was flattered someone knew who I was, and the fact that I’m LDS.

Looking back it wouldn’t have been as bad had I not had someplace else I could have been where I knew I would have felt more comfortable, but I was kicking myself the whole time wondering “why am I here and not there?” If I had known what the get together was going to be like I wouldn’t have gone. But you live and you learn. No more choosing the unknown for me.–At least not when my daughter is with me.

It wasn’t a wasted party because one of my new friends–Gina, from Femenist Breeder–took a pregnancy test while we were there and found out she’s pregnant! After 8 months of trying! We were all so excited for her. It made me remember how excited I was when I found out I was pregnant. I’m not sure that feeling would never get old.

Unfortunately, that night at the bar will go down in my journal as my first “bad mom” moment. I know it won’t be my last though (though I promise there will be no more bars).

The night was salvaged once I got back. I met up with Maggie, who got ice cream and yummy chicken and rice with me from a landmark NYC stand.I also met Shari Criso, who got me all pumped up about breastfeeding. Emily introduced Becca and I to her, and we all had a great conversation. Ironically we were sitting in a hotel bar, and I did end up breastfeeding Lil’ J there. So I guess I’ll draw the line for nursing in public at strip clubs.
Tomorrow I’ll post the last bit of my BlogHer recap tied into my personal advice for people who want to go, and how to get there! A big thanks to Piggies and Paws for sending me this year!!

Danielle says:

You are not a bad mom by any means!!! None of us thought it would have ended up being the kind of get together that it was. I felt SOOOO bad for dragging you there since I totally was interested in the invite. 🙁

But I agree, it was a shady invite, and I am kind of bummed out it made you feel so bad.

Emmy says:

I have read from a few different bloggers about different and venders that were or tried to be exclusive. Really makes me just not want to attend.

And you are a wonderful wonderful mother. Now if you had taken your baby to a bar and were drinking then we would need to talk 😉

Oh my gosh you did not drag me!! I was soooo curious about it and my curiosity got the best of me. Hey, at least the sushi was good 🙂

Aww, mama don’t feel bad. Your not a bad mommy. Your just entering into mommyhood and it’s times like these you realize what your life now is.

I’m looking forward to your BlogHer guides!

Mariposa says:

You are not a bad mom. I’d be concerned if a friend told me that she was taking her child to a bar each weekend while she was getting drunk. However your intentions were to follow a possible connection–and unfortunately it didn’t turn out that way.

Thanks for sharing because we all have those moments where we question whether we did the right thing. I wish I could tell you that wouldn’t happen again but I have a 3 yr old and a 16 year old–most days I feel confident but sometimes I have moments like the one you described.

Mommy Bee says:

This isn’t exactly related to your post, but you mentioned that you haven’t left the baby anywhere, and I thought I would mention something that has been on my mind a lot lately.
I recently read an article about people who have left their babies in cars (and the babies died). Obviously nobody does this on purpose, they just get distracted…but it almost always happens to working parents who just forget to stop at daycare or something like that. (As a new mom and a working mom it is a topic you might want to take on.) ANYWAY, one tip from the article–and one I have now incorporated into my parenting–is to always put my purse in the backseat next to the baby’s seat when I go somewhere. I won’t forget to take in my purse…so when I’m getting into the back of the car to get my purse I will always see my baby–can’t forget him because he fell asleep or whatever. I think it’s a very helpful tip, and I think it can/will/does save babies lives.

I wrote a post on it here if you have the stomach for it. It’s pretty intense stuff, may make you bawl, etc. A friend of mine wrote on the same topic here her post is a lot easier to read, but still thought provoking.

YUMMama says:

You are not a bad mom Jenn. While you shouldn’t make taking Lil J to bars habit, this was more of a business event and not a night on the town. Or least that was what they event organizers led you to believe. And from sound of it, it was an upscale bar. Hopefully, no half naked women.

Instead of thinking of this as a ‘bad mom’ moment list it as one of your ‘interesting mom’ moments. Trust me there will be lots more to come.

Betsy says:

You are NOT a bad mom! You WOULD’VE been a bad mom if you boozed it up in the bar and passed your baby around. You’re actually a wonderful caring mom and Lil’ J is blessed to have you. Hang in there Mom! You’re doing great and you’re SO BRAVE to have taken your baby to NYC by yourself!
Hugs, Betsy (mom of 3/grandma of 2)

Mallory says:

Hmmm….I got CPS called on me within the first week of my first baby’s life!

So, even if someone calls CPS on you for taking your baby to a bar (it makes me giggle to say that out loud), at least you made it longer than I did! 😀 (You are definitely not a bad mom!!!!)

Tractor Mom says:

Chalk this up as a great story for Little J’s baby book!

Come by when you can…

babyrabies says:

Oh, sweetie! If it makes you feel any better I had NO idea when I put you in that cab that you were on the verge of a mommy meltdown. You held yourself together beautifully, and I sort of feel bad for just sending you off alone in that state. We’ve all been there, more than once.

I hate that you had to come all the way down to that party and feel uncomfortable the whole time for us to hang out. It was lovely seeing you, though, and holding baby J 🙂

Erin says:

How lame of that company!
If it makes you feel better, last January, I ended up not only in a bar wearing my baby, but I had my pregnant friend with me. She was pregnant with twins, so technically we had three babies in a bar. Yikes!

Sandra says:

Babies in the bar aren’t common…but come on, you did BlogHer! Bar, babies, it’s all good…you did BlogHer!!!

~Y says:

Aww bummer! Sounds like that whole “secretive” event was just a big set-up…. I do hope something good comes of it later for you though!

Yeah, bringing a baby to a conference is tough (I know, cuz I took Chase with me to Blogalicious in ATL last year when he was still an infant) and sometimes you have no choice but to carry them along to awkward places. It doesn’t make you a bad mom at all! We’ve all been there, in some form or other. 🙂

~ Yakini

How unsympathetic of the guy to just say hey the less you tell, the more will come! Um hello you have a baby and he should have gotten to the point upon your arrival so you could leave if you were uncomfortable. I hate secretive scenarios like these that unfold into nothingness. Sigh.

Chantel says:

Wow..What a way to take advantage of well meaning folk. That’s crap. They should have been up front about what the situation was. This, in now way, makes you a bad mom. Every mom has the bad mom moment, but the older baby gets, you realize that they really weren’t that bad. I’ve had my babies in bars, but up here, bars are also restaurants. If you want to eat out in my town, you have to go to the bar. Upside? They have awesome burgers.

Katie says:

Hardly a bad mom. Our favorite restaurant is a brew pub, but it is family friendly. However most of those families don’t actually SIT at the bar with their child like we do. We took her for the first time at 2 1/2 weeks old, and she’s been a regular for just about 2 years now.

But I did always nurse her in the bathroom.

Not a bad mommy moment at all. And if it was – what’s worse – you bringing a baby to a bar, or me taking a pregnancy test in a bar? HA!

I say as long as there’s no smoking, and the general atmosphere is toned down (which this was) then there’s really no place that tiny babies can’t go. I’m sure I’ll be wearing one to class next spring. 🙂

The real trouble begins when the babies stop being teeny (and portable, and quiet, and asleep.) THAT’s when you have to watch every place you take them. Until then, I say they can be strapped to you wherever you go.

But that party was a lame excuse for a party anyway, and none of us should have been there. You handled yourself beautifully though. I never would have known you were upset.

Ashton says:

You are anything but a bad momma!! From one Mo to another 😉 It was a good reason why you were there, and it’s not like you got all crazy or neglected lil J- it’s not your fault the planners somewhat tricked you into going… On a different note- this might just be something that strengthened your testimony? how cool of people to notice you were Mormon, and respect your beliefs! Ultimate feat-Good job!! So Smile, girl!!

It’s MUCH more weird to take a pregnancy test in a bar. And whomever sponsored the party should fire their PR/ marketing people. That’s crap that they invited everyone without a real purpose in mind. Chalk it all up to “new experiences”.

Brittany says:

Okay I so would have gone as well…I’m just too curious. And I probably would have left early as well. Glad your night was salvaged though! Can’t wait to read the next post!!!

hotpants™ says:

Are you saying she took a pregnancy test at the bar? God, I hope not.

Tooje says:

While I read this, I can completely understand how you feel about taking her there. While saying you’re not a bad mom is just repeating what everyone else has said, it’s also the truth. I felt like a bad mother when I went to a bar 9 months pregnant, following a wedding party for some after hours socializing. But really, you know you weren’t there to drink and do bad mommy things…you were there to try and get the most out of an experience that is totally “okay mommy” status. 🙂

Your daughter looks a lot like mine..I have to say. Love it.

Rox says:

I think it’s pretty normal for a first time mom. Of course you want to connect with others but you just can’t leave your baby. I am sure there’s a lesson learned here. 😉

Early Pregnancy Symptoms

Kate says:

You are such a great mom! This can’t be considered bad parenting-seriously!

Check out my nautical baby clothing giveaway! It has been extended:

@HotPants – Yes, that’s exactly what she’s saying. So what? What exactly is wrong with wherever a person chooses to take a pregnancy test? For the record, I was taking it so I knew whether or not I could drink, and as it turns out, it’s a good thing I took that test and knew not to drink. Problem?

Oh I brought my little guy to the bar many times! I say, CHEERS!

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Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget


I'm a former journalist, and lifelong creator striving to make the world a better place. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day by cherishing our individuality and celebrating our differences.

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