5 Reasons I Take My Kids Out in Public

4 years ago

Once again, I am seeing a lot of posts about kids. Specifically, I'm seeing all sorts of kid hating on Facebook. Like this gem...

It seems that this happens every winter, so let's think about that for a second. It's winter. I'll wait because it's winter and we are all suffering some polar vortex cabin fever and all that... oh wait!

Moving on.

So I wanted to write a rant-y and pissed off post about how hating on kids is wrong. I also wanted to yell at the person who writes this kind of status update, "Dear Parents, Please keep your crying and obnoxious kids away from restaurants. No one wants them there. Thanks, Me." Hahahahaha! That's so funny. Except to me, it's not. My inner-monologue screams, "J'accuse!" and, "I am SO OFFENDED!"

After seeing the seventh post like this IN ONE DAY, I was worked up and fuming and cooped up in my house with cabin fever (see what I did there?) and I just wanted to pull an Ozzy and go off the rails (...on a crazy train...sorry, I couldn't help that).

But then I calmed down and spent some time thinking and thinking and thinking about what I wanted to say about this. Suddenly, I remembered a favorite quote about being offended.

“It's now very common to hear people say, 'I'm rather offended by that.' As if that gives them certain rights. It's actually nothing more... than a whine. 'I find that offensive.' It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. 'I am offended by that.' Well, so fucking what."
-Stephen Fry

I try to live by this quote and believe that choosing to NOT be offended is the better option for my blood pressure. I do try to practice choosing to walk away. I do. Ommmmmmmm (and all that jazz). So instead of ranting on the downfall of our society and all of our failings as human beings as evidenced by the disrespect of children (and the elderly) while sitting on my high-horse, I have decided that I will just offer a few reasons why we have the nerve to take our kids out in public. Cool?

Awesome. Let's start.

The Top Five Reasons I Take My Kids Out in Public

1. They are people

2-5: See number 1.

That is all.

Ugh...It's not all! Dammit, I can't help myself...here I go...

My children are, in fact, human. When they were born, they were not micro-chipped with all the inner workings of our society and its expectations for social graces. They were also born without spoken language, manners and/or the ability (yet) to regulate their feelings as they come. These things are meticulously taught to them by experiencing the world they live in. It is not even close to possible that a clean slate human being can learn all of the rules for all of the places in a short amount of time. Shit, I still do not know all the rules. I'm also never going to learn them without field experience. If that makes you mad or ruins your child-free life for ten minutes, I want to invite you to reconsider your stance by imagining being tiny again.

Think about how everything in the world is bigger than you. Think about how in order to get your needs met, you have to communicate without words. Think about how frustrating it must be for you to be shown shiny and pretty things and then be told you cannot touch them. Think about how someone is always grabbing at you or moving you from one place to the next. Think about how you are seeing grumpy faces rolling their eyes at you with body language that screams, "I don't like you." Think about how many times a day you are told no or don't touch that or get down or put that back or come here or stop!

Credit: chirag.

Consider having a belly ache or being extraordinarily tired or that feeling we get when we are getting sick but it just doesn't show yet and your parents have to go to the store to buy food because, well, that's what people do. Think about being born naked and warm and then people keep trying to put things like cold jeans on your legs and torture devices on your feet. Consider, if you will, that a child learns about the world at an extremely rapid pace from the second they are born. Think about how utterly overwhelming that must be. Truth be told? I'm a grown-ass woman and it overwhelms me.

Trust me. Seriously, TRUST ME, as parents, we try hard to avoid public meltdowns. We really do. Because, and this might come as a shock... we really don't like them either! I have been known to avoid waiting in line anywhere. I try to time my excursions into the world to avoid crowds, traffic and random other stuff. But every time I go out with these two nutballs, I teach them. I do my best to parent them (Yes! Even in public!). Sometimes I can abandon my cart and call it day. But sometimes you just can't. Sometimes you have to power through because if you don't get the toilet paper, the medicine, the dinner, etc, you are up a creek without your proverbial paddle.

I know it sucks to hear a crying child in the store. I promise that I try very hard to avoid it but what I will not do is scream and yell or hit them or drag them out by the arm for you. What I will not do is cower to your judgment of them. I saw a meme this week on Facebook that people thought was just hilarious about beating your kids at home so that strangers won't want to beat them in public. So many people had a nice laugh about that. I didn't though. I would argue that a stranger that is so infuriated about a child having a meltdown in public needs to take a long hard look in the mirror. What caused you to forget that a child is a human being who is still learning the ropes? What caused you to forget that you were once a child? What is so skewed about our society that a leap to judgment about the child or parent is preferable to thinking, "Wow, they are having a hard time, I hope that mom or dad or child is ok." Are we so far removed from compassion that a snide comment to our friends (within earshot of a struggling family) comes easier than helping them load groceries onto the belt? Think about that, please. Consider it.

Well shit, it seems I got rant-y anyway. That is not lost on me. I clearly have some work to do in the area of not getting offended. I'll keep working on that. I could go back up there and change this into the post I thought I was going to write when I sat down but I don't want to. I can't help but feel the feelings sometimes. Plus, I'm about to take my kids out to dinner and everyone is waiting for me. If all goes well, we are hitting the local CVS too. I'm rolling fast and loose tonight. Wish me luck.

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