This article appeared a few days ago online and as soon as I saw it I just thought *yawn*, here we go again. It’ll read something like this, I thought to myself….couple with no kids goes to cafe, child is in cafe crying, couple get snooty about crying child, child keeps crying, one half of couple SAYS SOMETHING to parent of crying child, harsh stares are exchanged, muttered insults are muttered, someone storms out…and in the middle of it all, angst ridden 23 year old waiter feels anxious about the whole thing. I wasn’t far wrong.
The comment feed on the article contains the usual vitriolic crap from people who think kids should not be seen anywhere doing anything that might make a sound, hold up the line, make a mess or be annoying. What upsets me most is the arrogant attitude from onlookers that they would conduct parenting so much better than you and would never make such ridiculous decisions such as bringing their child to a cafe. The message is quite clear, parents of children under the age of consent, get your ass out of our cafes and sit over there in the park with a take away. You are not welcome here. And while you’re at it, don’t travel on trains, buses or God forbid planes. Don’t go to the library, or the supermarket or a shop of any kind for that matter. You may inconvenience me while I am buying my single basket of groceries (because I shop daily, because I can). Go to the doctor’s office if you really have to, but shut that brat up will you please while you’re waiting for your 40 minutes late appointment. I’m trying to read my Marie Claire.
There used to be a cafe not too far from where I live and it appeared to be designed for kids to go there. It was called Mums and Bubs I think. The name alone infuriated me because of it’s clear gender emphasis. I also hate the term ‘bub’ for baby. Hate it. It was doomed to fail for a few reasons. First, I suspect a person with no kids designed it. There was this area, just a space, where presumably you were supposed to put your kids while you sipped your long black. No toys in it, nothing for the kids to do, and even better, no containment. The little monkeys could just walk right out. But the main reason it was doomed to fail was that you weren’t allowed to bring your own baby food in! They conveniently sold it there at insultingly inflated prices. Fail fail fail.
Perhaps you may call me a hypocrite, but despite my rant, I do not like kids in cafes. Especially my own. I’m not, after all, completely insane. Actually, when I am without kids and have a rare moment to sit alone in a cafe, the last thing I want is screaming bloody kids disrupting my precious moment (especially my own). It’s like ex-smokers I think. Don’t bring that stinking thing near me. No mercy, no forgiveness. I have taken my 5 year old to cafes, but only a fool would take 2 x 2.5 years old to a cafe. My twins would simply own the joint. I’d love to do it just to see the mortified look on the face of sanctimonious couple however. I have been to cafes with one half of the twins and, like pretty much every other parent, I have common sense and sensibilities and am able to determine when an outing had gone to shit and I need to bail. My kids need to learn public behaviour however, they need to learn how to sit still, show manners and have a conversation with an adult and they won’t learn it if they don’t leave the house. It’s my job to choose times, places and durations that they can handle. I very much want to take all my kids out to a restaurant, but up to now this would have been like throwing a lame goat at a hungry lion. Noisy, messy and upsetting for onlookers.
So for my morning latte, I choose the park. You’ll have to suffer me on public transport because I’ve spent enough time being confined to my house so my kids don’t embarrass me (and you) in public. You can thank online grocery shopping for keeping me out of the supermarket. As for learning social behaviour, I’m taking my whole tribe to a restaurant tomorrow for the first time. We chose the local Sizzler, so be forewarned, it’ll be loud, messy and possibly upsetting. But really, if you don’t have kids and you are eating at Sizzler, my mess isn’t your primary problem.