Thursday, March 8, 2012

Chronicle 15: Judgement

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


  1. I was SO bad about this before I had kids. I'm ashamed to think of how ridiculously judgmental I was towards parents back then. I would think to myself (or maybe even sometimes out loud): She isn't breastfeeding?! They let their baby sleep in the swing?! Look how messy their house is ALL the time!! I can't believe that 2 year old is throwing a fit like that! When I have kids they will never act that way!!

    Then I had kids and realized how naive I was. I had NO clue what it was really like, and after Emma was born I would think back on how judgmental I was and I felt really bad. Then people (family, friends, and strangers) started judging me as a mom and it still happens all the time. If you're not breastfeeding you're judged. If you breastfeed too long you're judged. If you co-sleep you're judged. If you sleep train you're judged.

    Now I'm the one with the 2 year old throwing a fit, and the messy house, and I know that people are judging me for so many little things. I really wish parents wouldn't do this to other parents, and realize that every baby is different, and what works for one baby isn't going to work for all of them. It's pretty much my biggest pet peeve these days. Sorry for the rant. Love this post though! Once I was leaving the post office after I just annoyed the heck out of the huge line of people by bringing my fussy kids in with me. I was loading the kids in the car, and putting my massive double stroller in the trunk while Lilah screamed her head off. A lady and her teenage daughter walked by me, she smiled and very cheerfully said "I've been there! It does get easier." I love when things like that happen, instead of the judgmental glares or random bits of parenting advice from complete strangers. Ok, that's enough from me! Have a good night :)

  2. Kendall3/08/2012

    I really don't find myself too judgmental of parents if I'm out at Target and there is a child in a fit, because fortunately the parent is leaving the store if ever I see it. Fortunately. More than anything I just hope mom/dad and kid get through the day. Yes, children have bad days I get that but that's not my problem. I would however NOT appreciate it if parents make it my problem. But like I said, I have never seen a parent continue shopping or continue at the fancy restaurant with a child who is consistently misbehaving or throwing a tantrum.

    If you're going to Red Robin, Steak & Shake, Cici's, heck- even Applebees before 8 - you expect children and the shenanigans that sometimes accompany them - kids darting through the isle, loud talking, occasional thrown napkin. However, parents know their children and they can tell if Suzie's in a mood, or if their kids always get hyped up whenever they go out - which means Ruth's Chris and those temperaments = BAD IDEA. I think anyone can tell you that. It's just courtesy. Some kids, I happen to nanny for one, can be in Oceanaire and be a perfect gentlemen. I have NEVER, EVER had him misbehave or be anything other than a perfectly respectful child from the time he was 4 to now, 7, when we go out. We eat at O'Charlies and other more adult places - because I know he will behave accordingly, if not it would be a different story.

    When it comes to flights though, I think the adults only flight is an AMAZING idea! Wow, why didn't they come up with that sooner? (mind you, some children are perfectly behaved but 4 and down you're really testing the waters) They could take the customers who would not ride the "adult flight" and dedicate certain flights to 'families of babies and small children' - now, THAT flight seems like a nightmare.... imagine, everyone's problems on the same flight - eeks! But, if they show movies, have kid friendly snacks, and other small child things it might make it more tolerable for the poor adults suffering through the flight.

    If that is not economically possible, maybe another class of flight - where they can separate the passengers with small children and infants and the rest of the economy class. The children get tailored movies, etc. and the adults get their flight from Chicago to LA without a screaming baby, a child bouncing on the seat behind them and kicking their seat, the bickering kids in front of them and the kid three rows up asking "are we there yet" between the sounds of his video game.

    I understand parenting is a challenge, which is why I won't even consider it until my *gasp* forties, at the earliest, and maybe then I'll have wised up and forgo the entire process all together. Either way how children are in their own home - that's up to the parents. Not my problem. But if you insist on making your child my problem, I'm not above requesting management to ask you to leave. That being said, I have never had an instance of such poor parenting, ever. I'm pleased to say that if a child is fussing the mother tries to console her child, she reprimands or leaves. If the child spits, or smacks you or is consistently bumping your seat the parent has made the child apologize. If the kid is misbehaving, the parent takes control of the situation and reels in their child, that is their job. I know I was a kid once and had those screaming moments, and I asked my mom what she did when that happened - they left. As I would too. I know it's rough, and we all have rough days. My heart goes out to all the parents who have to put aside their needs and wants for their child's - THAT, is being a parent - plus so many other good moments to balance it out!! haha


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