If I Wanted to Deal With Kids, I’d Have My Own: A Letter to Parents Who Think Everyone Loves Their Kid as Much as They Do

June 25, 2012  |  

I have a really bad habit I’m trying to break: mean mugging kids. I know, it’s terrible, but I think I’ve found the correct place to redirect my anger—their parents—because most times the things that bring me to turn up my nose at these little ones really isn’t their fault. They don’t know any better. However, their grown parents should and that’s why I’d like to share a little knowledge with them. Nobody cares about their kids like they do.

Generally speaking, I don’t hate children. I hate children I have to deal with through no choice of my own. And since kids under the age of 4 or 5 are generally oblivious and innocent to the world around them, I really hate their parents who think everyone else’s world has to revolve around their kids just because theirs does.

What I’m really talking about here are random situations that possibly may not even bother the average American with a normal blood pressure, but for someone who was absent the day they passed out patience in school, these things drive me crazy. Take for instance waiting in line to order food from a restaurant. You know how there will be a mother-child pair in front of you and the mom doesn’t think to ask the child what he wants to eat until the cashier actually calls on them and then we’re waiting another two or three minutes for him to decide? The first 30 seconds of “umms” and I don’t knows” and “no, I don’t want that”s are cute, but when you’re about to make 10 people late for work just to give your 18-month-old child a choice of what he wants to eat for more breakfast, it’s not.

Or what about the parents who think the grocery line is the right time to teach their child math? I support learning and I’m definitely glad to see a parent being hands-on. However, when I have one item and I’m standing in the one line out of a possible 30 that’s open in Target and I have to wait for you to explain the difference in value between pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters the first time you let your child try to pay for a pack of gum, I have a problem. And then the parent always looks back at you with that half-grinned “sorry” that makes you look like a jerk if you don’t smile back and say, “it’s OK,” when in your head all you want to yell is “get out the emm-effin way!” At this point I really don’t care if they pass their first grade math class or not, go pick up a workbook on aisle 9 and spare the rest of us.

Now, like I said I have absolutely no patience so while those may seem like harmless examples of children being in the way, there are also the times when kids are literally in the way, like physically. I’m not a small person and I have no interest in trying to tiptoe around someone else’s child who actually is and I would appreciate it if other parents didn’t make me. Guess who looked like a jacka** a few weeks ago in the checkout line at the store when I went to walk away from the cashier and unknowingly stepped on a little girl who proceeded to collapse to the ground and cry and scream outrageously loud like she was murdered? All I was trying to go about my childless business and now all of a sudden I was getting stared down by angry onlookers like some sort of child abuser for not looking out for some unknown kid. And where was her mother? Over at another register completely oblivious to what was going on. I stood there saying sorry over and over again and asking was she OK til the mom finally looked up and was like, “oh, she’s fine it’s OK.” Well, glad to see you’re not about to flip on me or anything but how about you keep your child by your side next time?

Then there are the instances where you see a kid clowning in the middle of the floor, sidewalk, street, walkway, etc. from a mile away and maneuver yourself so that your paths don’t cross because you see their parent obviously doesn’t have sense enough to tell them something like I don’t know, be still, let this stranger walk by, get out the way, excuse me, stop doing acrobatics in the middle of the walkway. Without question, 99 percent of the time that child is somehow going to run straight into you, hit you with something, cause you to trip, cause you to cause them to trip, or something in the like. Now you’d be wrong to hit somebody else’s child back (right?) but for some reason, parents just think their child is free to roam freely in the great out- or indoors like the world is their oyster and throw adults off their path. Sorry, mom and dad, about 1 in 5 women are out in these streets without any bambinos, and like I said in the headline: if we wanted to be bothered with children we’d be bothered with children of our own.

I may totally feel different, should an amazing act of nature akin to the immaculate conception occur and I somehow become someone’s mother down the line, but I honestly don’t see it happening. You can tell the type of parents who think everyone should have to deal with their child, they’re the type of adults who think everyone should have to deal with their mess. I genuinely try to affect other people’s lives and wellbeing as little as possible on a daily. I’ve got my debit card out before I’m at the register, my metro pass stays handy, I know what I want when it’s time for me to place an order, and I’m not trying to waste anybody else’s time or my own. I know it’s hard being a parent and learning opportunities surround us 24/7 but um, I’m not trying to be a part of your social experiment. Keep that child rearing contained to you and yours, the same place where that child needs to be—next to you and away from strangers.

Do you get sick of dealing with other people’s kids in public?

*Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Brande Victorian is the news and operations editor for madamenoire.com. Follow her on twitter @Be_Vic.

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