Where are my Type A personalities at? Better yet, where are my Type As who don’t have a designated spot on the parade routes?
With parade season now in full swing, I’m having Mardi Gras anxiety.
It’s not that I don’t like Mardi Gras. I very much enjoy the parade festivities from the costumes, to the glitter, music, food and adult beverages (!!), but now that I’m a mom, I can’t seem to laissez les bons temps rouler. I wish I could just go-with-the-flow, but my nerves get the best of me.
The problem is, we don’t have a “spot.” You know, the spot where the uncle sets up hours in advance. There’s a tent with ice chests full of sparkling goodness and tables with enough fried chicken and jambalaya to feed the entire parade route. In my Mardi Gras world, there aren’t cousins, or friends of friends, or co-workers and their kids to party the day away with. There’s no house just two blocks off the parade route where my kids can potty and decompress when they’re overstimulated.
We don’t have a Mardi Gras tribe.
My parents weren’t big on Mardi Gras growing up, so we don’t even have extended family to party with. Pre-kids, I could wander up and down the side streets of St. Charles, tipsy with friends. Mardi Gras day, we would get decked out and spend the day in a hurricane-haze roaming the sidewalks of the French Quarter.
Now that my littles are involved, this simply isn’t doable. I know their limits, and I certainly know mine. A stressed mama is a kill-joy mama. Yes, there are the hardcore moms (bless you) who, tribe or not, are circling Uptown for thirty minutes until they find their glorious parking spot, unloading multiple kids with a wagon and setting up shop to dance the parade away with their babies. That sounds amazing! It’s just not me … or my kids.
My kids are timid. Hell, maybe the fact that I’m so neurotic made them that way! They don’t enjoy big crowds or loud noises. They don’t like being pelted in the face with beads (really, who does?). If they have to endure a day or evening of this, they at least want to know that there will be friends or cousins they can share the experience with.
Maybe as my kids get older, we can stroll up and down the streets soaking it all in, and I can take this season a little easier. Until then, here’s some suggestions for my fellow Type As to make setting up a spot with kids sans-tribe a little less stressful.
- Most schools and churches on the route sell bathroom bracelets and food (Sacred Heart, St. Stephen, St. George’s and Sophie B Wright are a few options.)
- The corner of Napoleon and Magazine often has tons of families to rub elbows with and make new friends.
- Superior Seafood and Oyster Bar on St. Charles is located in a family-friendly area of the route, has great viewing and bathroom access … and did I mention a FROZEN FRENCH 75?
- Mardi Gras Parade Tickets gives you and your family comfortable viewing access to the parades from stands. Upgrade to the VIP option for private bathroom access!
- Of course there are Metairie parades which are kid-friendly and offer more chances to find a bathroom and space to spread out.
I get it, though … even with the suggestions above, it can still seem daunting. Mamas who have a spot: don’t take it for granted! There are plenty of us who love Mardi Gras but not the added pressure and stress that goes into it when we don’t have the luxury of rolling up to our people.