Parenting Politics/Community

I’m Tired of People Complaining About Kids in Public

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Just real fucking tired of it.

I came across an article that ground my gears.  Not the article itself. The article was fine. It was the comment thread on the Facebook page that lit a fire in my rear.  (Why I even read those things is beyond me. I should know better by now. I do know better. And yet?)

The blogger who penned the article wrote an open letter to some crotchety ski resort guests who slipped a mean note under the door of his sister’s hotel room after her new baby had spent the night screaming. It was witty (the article, not the mean note). It was passionate. It was exactly the kind of response an asshole note deserves.

And there they were, non-parents and former parents and even current parents themselves cluttering the comments with complaints about “parents these days” and “raising a generation of ‘me-me-me’ kids” and “who brings a baby to a ski resort?” All I could think about was how much I wanted to punch each and every one of them.

I am just so sick of people complaining about kids in public places, as if they’re not human beings also deserving of leaving the house once in a while.

Are kids obnoxious? Sometimes.

Do their parents do a crappy job of helping them behave? On occasion.

But they’re still people, and there are countless reasons why they might be losing it a little, from having special needs to being really tired after a long day. We don’t know everyone’s story. We should stop presuming we do.

This widespread, trendy hatred of children in public is just that: a widespread trend. It’s cool to complain about kids. It’s fashionable to rebuke parents for having the gall to bring their ankle-biting brats into society to pick up a gallon of milk or enjoy a dinner they don’t have to prepare or clean up after themselves for a fucking change. It’s the adult version of a temper tantrum, this child-hating movement.

People without kids who complain about them just need to shut the fuck up. They have no idea what it’s like raising a kid. No idea. They themselves forget they were once children, too, wreaking havoc on the patience of the adults around them regardless of how selective they choose to be with their memories or how insistent they are that their parents would never.  They might even — God can only imagine — have to let a dog out or clean a litter box once in a while, activities they like to equate to keeping a human being alive and happy for the rest of their lives. But they have no clue what bathing, dressing, feeding, and providing for a child is like or how taking one into public is both unavoidable and a goddamned right whether childless people like it or not.  

I have no sympathy if they feel their dinner was “ruined” by a toddler’s happy squealing or an autistic child’s sensory difficulties. No fucking sympathy. Get over yourselves. You’re not the only people on the planet despite your selfish belief to the contrary.

People with grown kids who complain about them are just as bad, if not worse. How could they possibly have forgotten so soon how difficult taking care of them can be? Despite what they say, there is no way these people raised perfect kids who never misbehaved in public or got on the last nerve of the adults around them. There is no way these people popped out their kids knowing exactly what to do with them exactly when. There is no way these people made it through 18+ years of child-rearing without making a damn mistake or two.

Quit complaining about how others are raising their children and try to think back to a time when you were sitting right there with them, for God’s sake. These parents now are probably doing a better job than you did anyway.

People currently raising kids who complain about them are, without question, the absolute worst. So they got a sitter and wanted to head out for a nice kid-free vacation, but there was a noisy family staying in the hotel room next door? Nobody gives a shit. That’s life. People make noise. Not everyone in the world got the memo that this couple was free of their children for a weekend and expected the rest of the world to cater to their every whim and desire.

Instead of bitching and moaning about it, perhaps try imagining yourself in that family’s position. Or maybe — and this may be crazy — maybe ask them IF THEY NEED SOME HELP WITH SOMETHING. Lord knows you’ve been them at least once in your life.

Parents don’t need people complaining about their kids who, by the way, have every right to be in public. It’s not like parents are out there spearheading hateful complaint movements demanding grumpy-ass people stay out of public (Though we do want you to keep your insufferable grouchiness out of public. Your very presence is offensive to us and our children.) They need people to understand. They need people to respond with a smile and an I’ve-been-there-so-I-get-it nod. They need people to stop acting like they’re the only friggin ones allowed to breathe and have some empathy for their fellow peeps who are just trying their damndest to do this thing called parenting.

They need people to act like, you know, human people with some semblance of a heart rather than brutal alien baby haters. Is that too much to ask?