Friday, January 11, 2013

Give Parents a Break

I like social media as much as the next person.  OK, maybe not as some people.  I don't Twitter or use Pinterest, but I do use Facebook, text, and of course, have a blog.  Sometimes, though, I think people use it for evil.
I was really angered by a long Facebook post (OK really a rant) that a friend of mine made.  Apparently, there was a conversation on the Earl's Facebook page going on about kids.  This friend of mine thought the conversation was awful.  Awful on the side of the people FOR kids.  She went on and on about how awful it is to have kids in a restaurant, how stupid parents are, and how she isn't a second class citizen just because she doesn't have kids.  It made me really mad, but I didn't respond.
Why didn't I respond?  Well, a couple of reasons.  First, I don't think Facebook is a place to have a fight (that's lame).  Second, I don't really want to have a fight with this person.  And third, I used to think like that.
Sure, when I didn't have kids I thought it was really insensitive to bring your kids to a restaurant.  Why make everyone else suffer?  Same thing goes for planes.  Really?  Do we have to listen to your child cry for 5 hours?  Not to mention how other people treat you.  Oh, you don't have kids?  Well, you won't mind doing extra call, or working all the holidays.
Then, I had kids.  Sometimes you can't get a babysitter and you really just want to go out to eat for a change.  Most restaurants are very accomodating (even Earls, despite the lack of a change table).  And, most parents are really trying to get them not to cry or scream during that time.  It can be a challenge, though.  My little one gets hungry and feels like you are ignoring her if you are eating or talking and not including her.
And the plane?  Give me a break.  People with families deserve a vacation too (probably more), and it's often better to take a plane.  Much more sane to take a 3 hour flight then try to drive for 2 days with a little one.  Again, we do our best.  I try to not even feel my little one until we are taking off so she won't cry.  The same thing goes for landing.  We wait to feed her on the way down.  The rest of the time it is so loud in the plane that you honestly can't tell me you hear her.
Now, the vacation stuff I still have issue with.  The holidays are special for everyone.  No, I don't want to do more call, but I will do my share.  I am grateful I had both Christmas and New Years off this year, but I have worked Christmas every year for the last 5 years, so I think I have done my bit.  Just because you don't have kids doesn't mean you should work more or always have to do the holidays.  It should be fair.  Luckily, our department is fair that way.
Sometimes I miss my life as a DINK.  Traveling, shopping, going out to movies and dinner with friends was all so easy.  But, I was bored.  I watched A LOT of TV.  What was my purpose in life?  And really, I don't think I was a very good person.  I drank too much, I did stupid things, and I was selfish.  Kids has changed all that.  I am never bored.  I don't do stupid things (or try not to) or swear, and I never drink too much.  I am a better person.  I am no longer a selfish person.  There is always someone else I think of first.  She has made me that way, and I thank her for that.
So, the next time you are on a plane, or in a restaurant and there is a kid crying, give the parents a break.  They really are trying.  And, they are probably better people for it.


Jennie Grado said...

Juicy topic Joe! And brave of you to continue the conversation. Thing is...not all parents are trying very hard nor are all children annoying. It is, unfortunately, the loud and lazy ones that stretch our patience and understanding and give kids and parents a bad name. There are parents who truly make an effort and then there are those that do make everyone else put up with melting down toddlers which I think we could all agree isn't fun. I think the sad part of all of it is that we barricade our lives with judgements and think we know better - on both sides of the argument. Those without kids, and right now I include me in this, have NO CLUE what it is like to raise a child. Those with kids seem to forget what it's like to not be used to the screams that make your ears bleed. Maybe it's not about kids or no kids actually - maybe it's just about being a little more understanding and tolerant regardless of where life has landed you?

Dr. McBain said...

I completely agree. This is about being tolerant regardless of where you are in life. Unfortunately, a three page rant on Facebook doesn't allow for that. It just leaves a bad feeling. There are places you don't bring your kids - an adultish movie, an upscale restaurant (unless you know they will be OK), a bar, but there are other places that kids have every right to be - a plane, other restaurants, kid movies, the grocery store. Parents, step up with your kids, and everyone else can mind their own business.

Jennie Grado said...

Applause! :)