To Stay Or To Go?
Have you ever walked into a place or event expecting it to be “kid friendly” and sadly it was not? Then you have to make the choice. Do you stay and attempt to make your children conform to the environment or do you make a mad dash for the exit before anyone notices you? Just recently I found myself in this situation. I tried to corral my three kids as best I could, but the predictable happened. My older two kids were given my husband’s cell phone to take turns playing games on. Any parents want to guess what happened next?
You got it. My older two erupted in a fight over the cell phone which led my husband to jump up and declare that we were leaving. After a family pow wow in the parking lot we decided to give it another shot. Then I spent the next hour chasing my 10 month old as she tried to crawl absolutely everywhere and when I tried to hold her she started to shriek so I would put her down. What can I say? She is discovering the world for the first time. That’s some pretty exciting stuff and who would rather be strapped in a stroller or held on a lap? My older two continued to fight, although at a more respectable decibel. But as much as I wanted to enjoy the event I couldn’t. I felt invisible eyes on me. Even if it was all in my head I just could not relax and be in the moment.
What Does It REALLY Mean To “Be Kid Friendly?”
It got me thinking, what does it REALLY mean to be kid friendly? Is it crayons on a restaurant table? Is it the expectation that it will be a lot louder or that breakable items won’t be in easy reach of anyone under five feet tall? Does it mean there will be an appropriate place to change a diaper or breastfeed a baby? It actually kind of makes me a little sad that we have this term at all. It means that we have to make our environments suitable for children and that of course means that not all environments are prepared to do that. If a public location didn’t have access for a wheelchair they’d be fined, but no place to feed or change a baby and that’s okay? REALLY?
Little People Are Still People
Why aren’t all events and venues people friendly? That means ALL People, children included. I didn’t have my kids so that I could call ahead and see if a place could accommodate their childhood. I also didn’t have them to drop them off at a sitter every time I want to go out with my husband. I’m a Stay At Home mom by choice and I do find myself at home a LOT because I don’t want to make that choice.
Not everyone chooses to have kids and I get that. I also try to make sure my children behave in public because it’s the polite thing to do. BUT if I’m going to teach them to behave like an adult, which is sometimes far above what I can reasonably expect for kids their ages (7, 5 and 10 months) then I think the world needs to just start thinking of them as people. Just because they are little doesn’t make them any less deserving of space, time, patience, and a place to eat and go the bathroom.
You and I were children once too. Someone made room for us in this world. Let’s make room for our kids in this world too because honestly any place that isn’t “kid-friendly” isn’t the place for me. If I have to leave my kids home well then you know where you can find me.