Crying Babies Will Be Charged Extra.
The blog post has sort of taken on a life of its own and I would be lying if I didn't admit that it makes me sad that the first blog I have ever really received so much feedback on is this blog and the feedback is at least 75% negative. They say you are not a "real" blogger until you tick someone off and apparently I have struck a nerve with this post. I convinced myself that the comments were not bothering me but I think by telling myself that I really let them start to bother me. Go figure!
The main thing that is bothering me is that so many people, having never read a single blog post from me before, are stumbling upon this post and are deciding based solely on the contents of it that I am a horrible, selfish and ignorant parent. The message they seem to have taken away from it is that I walk around in public with my kids in a perpetual state of meltdown screaming and crying and disrupting everyone else's day and that I somehow feel entitled to do so.
While I still stand behind my own personal feeling that is is wrong for a restaurant to charge parents extra because their babies are crying (it has been pointed out that this extra charge may have been a $3 surcharge for sharing an entree as apparently this is common practice in that area. With out seeing the receipt to know for sure I can only go off what the owner herself said, which is the extra charge was applied to the desserts for the crying babies). With that said this incident was more a jumping off point for the blog. The whole purpose of the blog was my own mini vent session on the fact that anytime I am out in public somewhere and 1 of my kids "dares" have a meltdown strangers feel they are entitled to judge me and say rude/hurtful things out loud to me.
No one seems to be walking away with this impression after reading the blog though. They seem to be walking away with the impression that my parenting skills are questionable and my kids are out of control heathens. Maybe I should reevaluate this whole blogging thing if I am being so misunderstood.
I posted 1 comment that said in part that I was surprised to hear from so many other moms that they felt the behavior of the restaurant owner was perfectly acceptable and to read how harshly they judged the mom's. In that comment I said that I was surprised that there were so many "perfect" mom's out there as the general consensus from the mom's leaving comments seems to be that they never let their kids cry anywhere in public.
A comment was left that questioned me on this asking me if I was surprised that there were so many "perfect parents " out there or that maybe I was just surprised " by the number of people who don't believe the general public should have to endure your child at their worst."
Ok so I didn't plan on quoting the entire comment, simply paraphrasing and instructing you to go and view all comments for yourself if you wanted but it appears that it is now gone from my blog. So this is going to make me look like a rambling idiot I am sure. I still have the email notification in my email box though that contains what the comment said so I will post it here now in the hopes that I appear some what less crazy. It may reappear as blogger has been doing some rather goofy things lately, in which case this portion of the blog will make me look a tad kooky but that's ok:
V---- has left a new comment on your post "Crying Babies Will Be Charged Extra":
My son is 2 years old and it's not often that my husband and i go out to eat. When we do, however, we are hyper aware of our boy's behaviour. Obviously, every parent knows that their child has a little timer and can only sit still for so long. It also goes without saying that if you know your child naps around 11:00, it's unfair to expect him or her to be perfectly behaved at 10:30. That being said, meltdowns and tantrums can strike out of the blue. We had gone out to eat once and our little man was fine until a few bites into our meals. out of nowhere he absolutely lost his mind. as soon as i realized he was working up to full meltdown mode i took him outside to cool down but it didn't help. there was nothing left to do but take our food to go and get him home. It was disappointing that we didn't get to enjoy our meal, but that's what happens when you have a child with you. The rest of the restaurant's patrons should not have to listen to my child scream because I want to eat my meal in the restaurant. I cannot help that my child is having a meltdown, that happens, but I can control what environment he has the meltdown in and who else has to hear it. Those patrons did not choose to eat their meals beside my screaming baby, but i did bring him into the restaurant knowing that was a risk and acted accordingly when he flipped. Just as a side note, the mothers in this post as well as several commenters were offended that the owner had written a post about it (keeping them anonymous) as oppose to asking them to leave in person. I frankly find it very hard to believe that they would not be equally or more insulted had a server or the owner of the restaurant asked them to leave.
In terms of letting my son loose in public, I don't let him walk around in restaurants, unless they are specifically child-oriented. I used to be a waitress and it was dangerous to have people's kids wandering around near the hot espresso machine, or darting between my legs while i was carrying trays of food or hot liquids. my son is a curious little boy and i wouldn't want him bothering other diners either. As for grocery stores and similar places, he can walk around as long as he holds my hand. i don't want him charging through the aisles of the supermarket. he often doesn't want to hold my hand and will cry and scream when i pick him up and either carry him or put him back in the cart. luckily these fits don't last long before he becomes distracted with something else and my little man has not tripped someone up or accidentally knocked over a display. when doing my shopping with or without my son, passing a screaming child in an aisle is preferable to having the child sprinting around, in his or her parents' view or not. I don't think we have become anti-child at all. I don't believe any reasonable person would take issue with having a non-screaming baby seated at the next table or having a child walk beside their parents' cart in the grocery store. I don't believe anyone is claiming to be a perfect parent, and maybe you are just surprised by the number of people who don't believe the general public should have to endure your child at their worst. Perhaps i just haven't experienced it yet but I have never found myself in a position where i couldn't leave whatever place i was in when my son threw a tantrum. I personally find the "i can't help it, kids will be kids, deal with it" attitude very off putting and selfish.
Posted by V----- to Adventures in Mommyhood: Mommy Outnumbered at June 14, 2011 11:38 AM
This is what I started to write back to her before it morphed into this blog:
No I am not surprised that so many people seem to feel this way, I am simply sad more than anything. I would like to think there is a special sisterhood with Moms. A sort of "I have been there and I understand" love and acceptance that flows through us all. I always thought that at least other moms understood when I was out in public and one of my kids lost it over who knows what (lately it's been because I refuse to buy my 5 yr old candy at the check out line. I never give in but he does it every single time so I am sure it appears to others that I must give in to him all the time.).
I always told myself that this Sisterhood existed, that all of us Mama's were bonded together by the love we have for our kids and the constant trials we are put through by them. That no matter what our personal parenting choices were (bottle or breast, cosleep or crib, disposables or cloth, to spank or not to spank) that deep down inside we were all united together.
I understand many single people look down on me, turn up their noses and walk away thinking what a poor mom I must be and how I need to "get those kids under control" but to discover that so many moms are also feeling the same is upsetting to me. I guess this is just another layer to add to the Mommy Wars. Another way to 1 up each other. As if to say "oh, you mean you don't immediately jump and run out when your baby starts to fuss. I sure know I do. I just must be a much better parent and all around more considerate person than you.".
Apparently moms who don't run for cover at the first signs of whimpers are selfish ignorant bad parents.
Some of the places I can think of off the top of my head that I could not leave while one of my kids had a meltdown include:
The grocery store- we live in the sticks and gas is expensive. Our gas budget is pitifully small so when I go I HAVE to finish. I don't have the luxury of packing everyone up and going back again. The store is a bit of a drive, I have to finish up and go. Believe me there have been many times I have skipped a few things on my list just to get out of there a little quicker. I have tried the "just take them to the car" trick but it doesn't work. They may calm down only to start back up again once in the store and it just drags the entire process out that much more.
Doctor and Dentist offices- Since it's usually the kid who is being seen by the doctor that's having the meltdown I can't just leave. When its feasible I try to find someone to watch the kids who do not have to be at the appointment to lesson the likelihood that a meltdown will occur but it is not always an option. Often I can find someone for a few kids but not all of them. Recently Kimmy had to have several of her teeth capped and due to her age was put under for this procedure. My sister-in-law and mother-in-law watched Teddy and Karma but since Sariah was still nursing and it would be most of the day I had to take Sariah with me. We were there for hours and she got fussy more than once in the waiting room. I couldn't exactly pack up and walk away.
DMV- I had to do this twice, once to renew my license and once to get tags on my car. Both times I could not find someone to watch the kids so I went with 3 kids in tow. The oldest was 3 at the time. It's funny because once again while they were being good everyone admired how well behaved they were. When my oldest had a meltdown everyone began giving me dirty looks.
They were on #31 when his meltdown started and I was #33 so I was not about to step out and have to go through all of that again. I brought snacks, drinks and toys and went first thing in the am (after breakfast) so there was plenty of time before lunch or naps. My son got upset because I would not let him run all over the place or "bother "others. He kept trying to talk to a few people around us and while I know the DMV is not a happy place I must admit I was upset by how annoyed people seemed to be at a 3 yr old boy trying to cheerfully talk to them.
That's what I mean when I say our society is becoming anti-child. A 3 yr old trying to cheerfully talk to people and not only were they ignoring him they were blatantly rolling their eyes, harrumphing and turning their backs to him. It is no wonder he got upset after a good 45 minutes of this treatment. Of course once he started crying the eye rolling and loud annoyed sighs only intensified.
ALL of Karma's court appointments and other various Foster Car appointments-Oh the appointments I had to go to with her!! It seemed like every week I had to take her somewhere or let someone else in my home. I found someone to watch Teddy and Kimmy for all of the court appointments except the final adoption day one, which was a joyous day for us all to be together as a family. I tried to find someone to watch them for the other various appointments too but it was impossible to cover them all. Even when it was just her she was a tiny baby and I could not control WHEN these appointments were made. She had a scream fest at almost every single court date we went to, with the only exception being Adoption Day. Once Again, I couldn't just walk away or out of the court room.
Babysitters are hard to come by. We trust very few people with our kids and cannot ask them every other week to watch the kids so that I can run errands with no kids in tow and make everyone else's life easier. Rants From Mommyland wrote a great post on why it's so hard to Just get a babysitter".
I plan ahead, I make appointments at very specific times because I know (hope!) my kids will be happy, rested and full then. I try to be courteous and to take others into consideration. I try to comfort my kids, to console them and calm them down. Sometimes it works, most often it does not (have you ever tried to talk sense into a screaming crying 18 month old who has no idea why they are even upset to begin with?) When it doesn't work I just try to get through whatever it is that we are doing and get out of there as soon as possible.
I expect the judgment from single people who have no kids. I chuckle in my head and want to just tell them 'you wait, you will see someday" but it's so sad and so hard to take when it comes from other Mamas. So I will just end with this, I am not a Bully Mom and (I hope) neither are you. When I see a mama in the store with a screaming baby I recognize that look of hidden embarrassment and slight frustration all over her face. I see the dark circles under her eyes and witness her futile attempts to comfort that child. When I see this I try to smile, give a little wave or thumbs up to let her know I understand. If I am close enough to her I actually tell her that I understand, that I have been there and I know how those days can be.
this WONDERFUL, EXCEPTIONAL, LOVING mama,