There are certainly places kids shouldn't be hanging about. There are certainly places in which children need to monitor their voices and actions. Libraries. Museums. Fancy restaurants . . . the list rolls on.
Parents understand that some places are more kid-friendly than others, and that they need to keep their kids on good behaviour in public, but seriously now, raise a hand if you have gotten the nastiest look from the deepest pits of hell because you dared to bring a child out in public and they acted like — gasp — a child!
The other day, I brought my daughter to the pharmacy to pick up medication, and she was cranky. She wanted me to buy her a toy, but I didn't want to buy her a toy, so in true child fashion, she was annoyed. I had one woman look at me like we were pariahs. All my kid was doing was whining. She wasn't destroying anything or being excessively loud.
The nasty looks. The unsolicited parenting advice. The eye-rolls and sighs. When someone looks at a child like they're an atomic bomb or a cockroach, I can't help but wonder how the planet earth got so populated in the first place.
Listen, it's fine if you don't like kids, but get over it in public!
Children exist. In fact, you were once a child and probably a very loud and boisterous one. Kids exist and parents are people running errands, seeing doctors, getting dinner, watching movies, and doing a whole other list of things just like you, the people of the children-hating public.
I'm not sorry to say that parents don't need to get a babysitter to run an errands simply because you want a world free of tantrums, crying, high-pitched voices, potty words, and other kid antics. If you're really seeking peace and quiet, perhaps you need to go home to your bedroom or shell out the money for a bed and breakfast. If snotty noses, dirty diapers, colicky babies, and general goofiness upset you, by all means, stay home.
I understand that some children are poorly behaved and that they really should learn how to behave among other people. But children are children, and they behave as best that they can according to their own personal development and capabilities.
One day, I was in a Staples and my daughter was being goofy. Was she rude or destructive? No, but she was a little loud — she was being 5 years old. As I tried to speak to the salesperson, I dealt with her 5-year-old behavior. I redirected her. I rushed through my actions so I could leave quickly. As I wrapped up, a woman watching said, "That's why I left my kids home with my husband."
Imagine her surprise when I said, "I don't have a husband. She comes with me."
There's a time and a place for Mum to leave the kids home with a sitter or another family member, but the reality is children are not meant to be hidden. The old saying "Children should be seen and not heard" is archaic and only proper when it comes to places involving "adult" activities.
This doesn't include going to the pharmacy, Staples, or many other places.
For some reason, the public has decided when and where kids get to be kids and when and where they do not. They tell us how to parent our children. Where and how to feed our children. They judge us for being functioning adults in this world.
The fact is we all started out as children, and if you really hate kids so much, don't have them. If you really think you know everything about parenting, instead of advising random strangers how to discipline their kids, become a parenting expert.
Our kids' farts, potty words, tantrums, cries, jokes, and pouty faces are simply the mark of childhood behaviour. As mums, we can redirect our kids to be polite and quiet. We can remove our kids from public places when they're not behaving and give them timeouts . . . but we shouldn't expect our kids to behave like adults just because some lady at the grocery store wants "zen-like" quiet in the grocery line.
Don't get me wrong — it's up to a mum to teach her kids how to behave in public, but the public also needs to give up its "witch trial" on parents everywhere. We're just trying to live like everyone else does. And if you don't like that, perhaps you should carry earplugs wherever a "dreadful" child may be.
In the meantime, people of the public, please save your parenting expertise and nasty looks for your bestselling novel on
"Why You Hate Kids."