We hear about discrimination every day against women, homosexuals, minorities, and religions, to name a few. But what about the discrimination families face every day? Mothers get the stink eye for breastfeeding in public or, God forbid, having a baby crying next to the person who can't stand children.
The idea for this post came from a good friend of mine who is flying with a newborn for the first time (I hope you don't mind that I'm referencing you! I just feel strongly about this one). She is very concerned that her baby will disturb the people next to her. I remember going through the same fears when Alex was a baby. I was overly polite and wanted to kill people with kindness because my baby was doing what they do naturally - CRYING. Flying with a baby is stressful enough as it is, between packing enough diapers and making sure they're entertained. Add into the mix the hatred radiating from people's eyeballs as you can't stop your kid from crying or kicking the seat, and you've got one super stressed out parent. It's a shame that parents have to be so concerned about doing simple things with their children in public, such as flying, going out to restaurants, or going grocery shopping, just so they won't piss off the person who "hates kids."
I've heard people suggest things like separate seating in restaurants and planes for those with children, or separate flights altogether. So we are being discriminated against simply because we have children. Segregation much?? Let's just put them into a separate area so we don't have to deal with them and never have to practice the virtue of patience. Yes, some people's children are hellions. But some adults are too, yet we allow them to coexist in society. We don't ban adults from restaurants or put them on separate flights simply because they behave like children. Children are small people. We can't banish them to separate corners simply because we don't like the noise they bring. If you don't like it, YOU'RE the adult, and you can find elsewhere to go. To be clear, that's not to say it's appropriate to bring children everywhere. This is why I and most other parents will choose not to bring children to an upscale restaurant where others are enjoying a quiet meal. But to be told you don't have a choice in the matter is ridiculous, unless of course we're talking about a safety issue.
Many will also argue that they'd like to see kid-free zones because the majority of parents don't know how to control their children. I completely agree, there are many parents out there who let their children run rampant. But I think the majority of parents are, in fact, concerned about their children's behavior and are more embarrassed than they let on. Did you ever stop to think that the 5-year-old who is acting like a baby may have autism? Or that the parents have simply tried everything else and don't know what to do? How about instead of casting nasty looks, try to put yourself in their shoes and imagine how stressful it must be to go to places and be constantly judged.
Those who know me well know I'm not on the mommy crusade bandwagon. I don't think we should be entitled to anything or be given special treatment simply because we're parents. But I also don't think we or our children should be shunned because of this fact either. All I ask is that we be treated equally. Most of us are respectful of those who don't love children - now acknowledge that and show us some respect in return.