What We Have Here is a Failure to Communicate

I’m getting the distinct impression a good many of you think I am some sort of evil monster child hater and that I despise anything on the planet that might even HINT at having anything to do with a child. That is not the case at all. Either your reading comprehension isn’t working properly or my writing comprehension isn’t. So, let’s get this straightened out, once and for all.

The gospel truth is, no, I’m not a big fan of kids. I don’t HATE them, per se, but I AM intolerant of their shrieking, running around like monkeys on crack, and the general level of noise and mess they seem to make wherever they go.

That said, I take my interactions with children on a case by case basis. Pretty much under the age of five I don’t want to be anywhere near them, for the reasons stated above, but after that age, some of them can be interesting to hang out with. I tend to like the ones that are well-behaved, articulate, and a little precocious. I know two (both girls, ironically) that I find to be a lot of fun for a couple hours here and there. I’m pretty sure when they get into their tweens, if they keep going at the rate they are now, they’re going to be pretty cool kids.

I like books written for older children and teens. I read a LOT of them. I never discount a book because it’s centered around characters who are children or teens, unless the person writing the characters sucks at it (Stephenie Meyer, I’m looking at YOU). Same thing for movies. If the central character is a child, that’s cool, as long as the story is good and believable. So no, I’m not some frothing-at-the-mouth OMG THERE’S A CHILD IN THIS BOOK! IT SUCKS! person. At all.

Now, let’s get down to what I DO hate, because I think this is the part some of you interpret wrong. What I hate, with the heat of a thousand suns, is crappy parenting. The parents who allow their kids to do the shrieking, running, and mess-making in a restaurant that is NOT Chuck E. Cheese. The parents who bring their toddler (or baby in a carrier, THAT one never ceases to amaze me) to the Tuesday 9pm showing of an R-rated movie. The parents who bring five kids under the age of ten into a bar and allow them to play tag and hide-and-seek all over and under the furniture, and don’t look up ONCE to see what the kids are doing. The parents who, when you give them the stink-eye for this stupidity, get all up in your face and want to know how DARE you not adore everything their precious hellspawn are doing.

It’s not the kids’ fault they’re behaving that way. It’s the PARENTS’.

Kids will do what they can get away with. They’re KIDS. They don’t know any better. I can’t hate them for that. What I CAN hate, and what I DO hate, are these stellar examples of crap parenting (and lately it seems to me this is happening more and more) who have this super entitled attitude and think that having a child should not change their lives one iota. Well, I got news for you, people…

…it changes EVERYTHING. It’s not about YOU anymore. You want to go to the bar? Get a babysitter. Can’t? STAY HOME. Your child should not be exposed to what goes on in a typical bar, and frankly it’s bullshit to think that the people there drinking, WITHOUT kids, should have to censor their behavior because you think you should be allowed to do whatever you want, and the hell with everyone else. That’s the equivalent to me going to to Chuck E. Cheese and telling all the kids to sit down and STFU, because I want to have a beer in silence. Makes no sense, right? Well, newsflash, the reverse doesn’t either.

I’m also sick and tired of the many instances of parents coming into work late, leaving early, and just generally expecting everyone to cater to them and pick up the slack because they have kids. Hey, you have an emergency, great, I don’t mind covering for you. But this entitlement attitude has to stop. Whatever the hell you’re doing after work is no more important than what I’m doing. Just because you have kids and I don’t, doesn’t make your activities more important than mine. And for the love of God, DO NOT bring your kids to work. This is a place of business, not a daycare, and it is NOT my job to babysit for you. Now, I know you think I’m a pushover because I just can’t be mean to the kid because his parent is an entitlement-minded asshole, but that doesn’t mean I enjoy having to have a twenty minute conversation with Addyson or Brayden or whateverthehell other trendy name you just had to give your kid. (The name thing is a rant for another day, however.) I’m here to WORK, and I’m pretty sure when I took this job babysitting was not listed in my job description. Plus, trying to have a phone conversation while your kid is shrieking in the background is really fucking unprofessional and makes me look like an asshole. I don’t appreciate that. At all.

Now, I’m pretty sure a bunch of you are all popping blood pressure pills like Pez about now, thinking HOW DARE I not love all children and HOW DARE I say it out loud! I MUST be an evil bitch and of COURSE no one loves me and my life sucks, because I’m a bitter old woman with a shitty attitude because I don’t worship at the altar of the almighty child. Well, I’ve got news for you. I’m in a long term relationship with a man who also does not want kids and who treats me like I’m the best thing that’s ever happened to him. I’ve got a bunch of friends who are witty, smart, and damn fun to be around, and like me in spite of the fact that I’m not perfect. And I am a cat owner who probably takes better care of her pet than most of you do your kids. At least I KNOW where “my” child is right now. (And no crazy cat lady jokes, people. Honestly. *eyeroll*)

But some of you, SOME OF YOU, the ones who PAID for a babysitter to have a nice evening out and had it ruined by the people mentioned above, the ones who DON’T expect their coworkers to pick up the slack for them, even though you have kids and boy wouldn’t it be nice to have brass ones big enough to pull that off like the shit parents do, but you have STANDARDS, and couldn’t take advantage of your coworkers like that, YOU are the ones nodding your heads right along with me.

So, evil child hater? Not really. No, I’m not a fan, but I could no more be mean to a child than I could kick a puppy. But some of those shitty parents out there – yeah, I’d love to smack them with a clue-by-four.

6 thoughts on “What We Have Here is a Failure to Communicate

  1. So many people equate childfree with child-hating. We live in a society where being a parent is really the default and opting out of that default opens you up for suspicion, derision, and insult. It would be nice if people understood that it tends to make you a little defensive. Good post.

  2. Don’t believe a word of it, Daghain ate my baby!!

    No, seriously, I get what you’re saying Daggers, and I would also like to add that it’s not just the childfree who rant about other people’s children and crappy parents – that’s like, my hobby!

    From the other perspective, ineffective or plain “I don’t give a shit” parenting from others pisses me off as a parent because it undermines the good behaviour and manners I expect from my children. It often tars parents who do give a crap, with the same brush, which is why I think you get good parents being equally defensive.

    In the UK, pubs differ quite greatly from the US bar. I think our social culture here is very much centered around pubs, so they are seen as more of a family venue – although you will find alot of pubs have a restaurant/lounge area for eating and families and a separate bar for the drinkers. However, that being the case I don’t really like taking my children to the pub because that’s MY getaway place and don’t want to associate it with my children. I’m perfectly fine with other people’s kids being there and I accept that if I’m going to sit in the beer garden, which has a play area, then there will be kids there – but I’m not going to be in mum mode – and if you have your kids there past 9pm, I’m not even going to be in polite mode (or sober mode for that matter, but hey!)

    So yes, I do get you 😉

  3. Seriously, if I were a parent and paid for babysitter so I could have a night out without my kids, and some asshat let theirs run all over hell’s half acre and annoy the shit out of me, I would not be responsible for my actions.

    And, just as most parents get painted with the same brush, most childfree-by-choice people do too. I think we ALL need to start putting pressure on the crap parents to straighten up.

    Also, I totally agree with the bad parents undermining your good work. That would make me postal.

    I long for the days when there were kid places and adult places. Sadly, that’s not the norm so much over here anymore, and I think we’re doing a disservice to children by giving them everything right away – some things need to be earned.

  4. Most amazing blog post EVER. Seriously, I have many times been accused of “hating” children, just because I too don’t “Worship at the child-alter” as you put it. LOL.

    I love this so much. You just said everything I want to yell in some people’s faces.

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