After reading this article in the Washington Post, I was inspired to chime in with my two cents, for whatever they are worth. (Side note: I am super interested in reader feedback on this topic!)
We've all been to that judgmental place: on an airplane with a screaming baby, in a restaurant being pelted by a 2 year old with croissants, or just trying to make it through Target without spending $300 and getting sideswiped by a gaggle of not so fresh middle school boys. How many times did you shake your head, roll your eyes, or turn to the person next to you and say, "Oh myyy god!" or "I feel so bad for that mom" or "NEVER. Promise me you will NEVER let me..."
Guilty. I am totally guilty. It's human nature, right? Things annoy us, we get frustrated, we may even throw a tantrum of our own. But what right do I have to judge another parent? Even before I had my son, I loved kids and spent years of my life working towards my degree and teaching license. I considered children to be little adults, and treated them as such. Don't get me wrong, there were times I wanted to strangle a kid who was whining incessantly or acting entitled, etc. When a child acted out, however, I looked at the parents.
Kids are mini versions of their parents, and I know all teachers can attest to that. Behaviors are learned when they are tolerated and allowed to continue. HOWEVER (and this a HUGE however), kids have bad days, too! JUST. LIKE. US. They just do not have all the same tools as adults to vent or calm themselves down. Mix this with an adult who is having a bad day (may be due to lack of sleep, fight with spouse, work... you get the point), and you have a ticking time bomb. So, what are we supposed to do, as parents? Hunker down in our homes until everyone is 100% hunky dory? Or try to continue living our lives and risk a meltdown/other people's meltdowns.
This is what gets me so incensed: people trying to tell other people how to live their lives. Have you heard about a movement trying to ban small babies and children from restaurants and airplanes? Seriously?! Not to get all political on you, mamas, but C'MON! There are better solutions out there, ones that don't make families feel unwelcome and unwanted. How about making family friendly flights and movie showings? How about being more open minded and tolerant (Oops! way too much to ask...)
I do understand that people get annoyed when they are out at a nice place and do not want to be subjected to another person's bad day. I mean, I sort of understand that someone chooses to go out to a public place and expects everyone to behave, just to please them. I...can barely get why people go out to a public place that allows anyone under 21 and expects it to be only populated by adults. Wait. I actually DONT UNDERSTAND AT ALL.
Sorry, total soapbox moment. What I'm trying to say is, live and let live! Even if you don't have children, don't want children, adore children, or want to ban them... You were a screaming child once, too. You will live a full happy life after enduring someone else's child for an hour or so. There is HOPE!
Please chime in with your thoughts, ladies. Whether you agree or disagree, I want to hear from you! (Don't leave me hangin' all alone in cyber space!)
The Hot Mama