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Frustrations and Irony

Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I'm sitting here at Panera Bread...my home away from home two days a week while the kids are at Mango's Place. I come here to work so I have a chance to write without tiny adorable, yet often distracting children.

The last three times I have been here, some mom has been here with a screaming child. In fact, about 20 feet away is a mom with two young kids having lunch with a friend. The younger child (looks about one) has been screaming almost nonstop for the better part of 15 minutes.

She doesn't seem to care.

At all.

I don't say that in that she doesn't care about the kid. She's picked him up a few times, she's offered him food and drink...she's not ignoring him.

She simply seems to be ignoring the fact that she's out in public.

Now I understand that moms need to get out. I'm a mom of toddlers myself and believe me, I GET the need to go out. But one thing I have been hard core about since day one is removing my children from the situation if they start fussing or screaming. I have left many a restaurant meal get cold while I took one of my kids outside or to the car to settle them down. After all, other people are paying good money to go out and enjoy a meal. They shouldn't have their experience ruined by the fact that my kid is having a bad day.

You can't "look away" from a crying or screaming baby. You still hear them.

So why is it that moms figure the rest of us should just ignore their screaming and fussing kids?

Am I just being really grumpy from lack of sleep, or is this not a little on the "rude" side? And seriously, even if you are desperate to remain engaged with the people you are keeping company with, how much can you really be enjoying yourself with a screaming kid in your lap? How much can your company be enjoying themselves?

Give me a reality check here folks. Am I missing something? How long do you let your kid fuss or scream before you remove them from a restaurant? From church? (I say this because there has been a crying kid in church the last two weeks...as in crying for 10+ minutes during the sermon because neither parent got up to take the kid out of th sanctuary.)

Incidentally, I find it oddly amusing (in that ironic and sad way) that people seem less bothered by this than they would be if she'd lift her shirt and start nursing him.


  1. Blogger Amanda T | 9:29 AM |  

    In a resaurant setting I would never let my child cry/fuss for longer than it took my to get him out of the high chair. Not in a place with other paying customers who will be bothered by it.

    In church, as long as he's not so loud that people can't hear what's going on, I am more laid back and if he jabbers or makes noise I don't think it's a big deal. I would be more willing to try to sooth him right there in the pew than to rush outside to do so. I'm sure some people would disagree with me but I think normal baby noises should be welcome in church (I'm not talking about screaming fits here..)

  2. Blogger MKM | 9:35 AM |  

    Hearing a screaming baby makes my gut wrench. As in, I want to pick up your child and cuddle/nurse/soothe him/her if you can't.

    My immediate supervisor has an almost two-year old. Whenever we run out together to grab lunch and we hear the telltale sounds of a distressed child both our heads whip around to locate said sound.

    I'm with you. When my kid can't be immediately calmed down we go outside and find something to play with. :-)

  3. Anonymous Anonymous | 9:39 AM |  

    There's no excuse for subjecting other people to your screaming kid. It's unfair to other customers and unfair to your kid. I'm willing to sit through a little whining, but once the screaming commences I'm done.

    I leave the store as soon as I'm finished paying if I'm at a grocery store. If I planned on eating in at a restaurant I ask to have food wrapped to go.

  4. Anonymous Anonymous | 9:51 AM |  

    I know just what you mean. And I have to say, I was way, way more tolerant of screaming children before I had kids!! Part of it is that screaming kids now bother my "mommy hearing" - the function of being a mommy that makes it so I feel the need to DO SOMETHING when I hear a kid screaming. It was much easier to tune it out before I had "mommy hearing." Now it drives me to derision! It's really irritating to have to sit there and not do anything :)

    The other part is that I enjoy my peace. I remember when my 1st was 3mos old and it was our anniversary. We arranged to have grandparents come sit with DS, we got all dressed up, we drove to an expensive (for us...we have a pretty low bar! :) ) restaurant. And we listened to someone's baby cry the whole time. I was REALLY upset. I made special arrangements to NOT have to listen to babies scream and here this couple was, bouncing their screaming baby and making me listen to it through my meal! I agree with you - step outside. Or better yet, eat at home which is what we do 364 days a year ;)

  5. Blogger Melissa | 9:56 AM |  

    I tend to give parents the benefit of the doubt- depending on the age of the child in question. Infants get the most amount of time, and by the time a child is walking and talking I have less patience for mom and dad to let them run crazy.

    My SIL would let both of her girls run crazy through restaurants and I found it quite embarassing,(they were both 5 when they did this- on separate occasions) so if DD needs to get up and stretch her legs (depending on the type of restaurant) she and I will either walk around outside or we'll go check out the decor or the restaurant. But if she starts crying/yelling/fussing and I can't fix it in about a minute (she's 20 months) I will take her outside for some fresh air.

    Of course we try to go places where a little 'unruliness' is okay/expected. Like the mexican restaurant with a one man band- DD wants to go dance, or somewhere with lots of televisions. Our other rule of thumb is if they don't have crayons, it is not the restaurant for us.

    We've never had to leave because of behavior, but we've come close. I know my parents were not shy about expectations in public and were not afraid to revoke our appearing in public privleges. (Maybe that's the key, treating trips to the store like it's a privlege?

  6. Blogger Unknown | 10:16 AM |  

    Oh Sister - you are preaching to the choir! I am all over this one. We let real fussing go on about 10 seconds before we pick up and move. Blessedly, we are are AP's, so we don't have too much trouble, but if someone has on his crabby pants (and at 22 months that's happening a little more than in the past) we get right up and have a talk or offer a distraction.

    Honestly, sometimes my heart breaks for those little kids who are so unhappy and their parents just don't understand how to handle them. I want to walk over and pick up the child, console her and offer a fun distraction.

    You might be overtired, but you are not hypersensitive.

  7. Blogger jenn | 10:16 AM |  

    We just celebrated our 2nd anniv yesterday and celebrated w/brunch on sun. For our FIRST post p. date we dropped of Giuliane at a friends house and were thrilled to have a few hours to ourselves! Then, perhaps your Panera family took a trip to DC b.c. we sat next to them the entire meal. I too understand the whole screaming child thing, but...at an expensive jazz brunch? And I swear if i heard - "oh its no big deal, kids cry" one more time and then get one more dirty look at the mall - someones gonna get hurt.

  8. Anonymous Anonymous | 10:37 AM |  

    LOL...kids screaming can be very annoying. You are annoyed, nothing wrong with that. You are also in the public sphere, where there is noise, and smells and sights some of them appealing some of them not. That's public space. you don't like it, finish your drink/food and go somewhere that is more pleasant for you. Not worth your energy to get worked up about. :-)

  9. Blogger Renata | 10:39 AM |  

    It doesn't bother me when it's someone else's kid. But I do agree it is rude, after all she is in public. Then again, when I'm out with my kids at an eatery, I'm not thinking that I'm in someone's office either.

    I don't think I'd wait but for a minute or two, but sometimes I get distracted. Just yesterday my daughter started crying in the grocery store. I already didn't want to be there with 3 kids, but it really didn't work out to go by myself or with my husband over the weekend. And this grocery trip should have happened the weekend before. I am trying to plan my meals out and track how much I was spending and was hoping she'd settle down on her own. With all the other things I was concentrating on, I let it go on longer than I should. I really didn't want to have to hold her because it would be harder to track things the way I was trying to. I jsut wanted to get out of there. An employee stocking in the aisle I was in started talking to her and she settled down. Then as I was talking to the employee, I was able to make the connection that maybe I could give the poor child some orajel. I thanked the employee for talking to my daughter because it brought my attention back to her (and not what I wanted to do). In the end, I ended up carrying her in my sling but although I was deeply disappointed about spending more than I had hoped, my daughter felt better (and was quieter) and I did accomplish everything else I had set out to do.

  10. Anonymous Anonymous | 11:03 AM |  

    Hi Jenn sorry to hear you are cranky :-)
    I actually feel quite strongly about this.I agree with you but for different reasons. I don't think of it as being rude to inflict your crying kids on others- I think it is cruel to put your child into the situation in the first place.

    I can well sympathize with a mom who needs to sit down a minute for a quiet cup of tea- but chances are of the child or baby is fussing or crying its because they shouldn't be in that situation. Maybe the mom has schlepped her kids all over the mall that day or been running errands and the baby/child has been in and out of car seat for hours or strapped in a stroller or tied into a shopping cart. They are bored and pushed to limit and chances are they need to eat/sleep/have attention.
    Sometimes a well meaning mom will have handed their child a pack of M%M's to amuse them and then they get buzzed up on caffeine.. . Mom may in fact be frazzled and kids are picking up on it.

    I know you aren't talking about high end restaurant or place where kids might not normally be- but everyday situations where there is extended crying or fussing. Taking a new baby to elegant evening out or adult movie is rude... and setting your self up for failure.

    Sitting in Starbucks or in Church sanctuary isn't so much rude to me as unfair and cruel to CHILD. Then making it worse by trying "to shush" them and getting aggravated is unnecessary. Mom can go to church nursery- my church has speakers outside so you can hear sermon...
    If you start to look at the situation 99 times out of a hundred its parents fault.

    When out and about time and pace yourself- do you really NEED to make that stop at dry cleaners? Carry lots of snacks.. If baby is cranky that day or been out of sorts then a bustling coffee shop will not make it any better.

    Sometimes the mom may be a mess herself and need to get out her sanity.. I have often turned to frustrated mom to see if I could help.
    This is another topic all together - but new moms are often on the edge because of societal pressures.. House needs to be clean, supper made, other kids tended to, endless breastfeeding that gets in the way of STUFF THAT DOESNT MATTER, the need to get her figure back on and on...
    Sorry about the diatribe. I get so ticked when I am out at Target or somewhere and mom has screaming kids who do not want to be there and shouldn't be there and mom is yelling at them to stop, etc or shoving fast food at them to keep them amused.
    The problem isn't a mom being rude- but unrealistic expectations of what children can handle and not anticipating their needs.

  11. Blogger Jennifer Laycock | 11:05 AM |  

    Just to note...

    Kid noises don't bother me at all. Kids squeal, they talk too loud, they fuss, etc.. That's part and partial to being a kid.

    Noises don't bother me either. Panera is far from a quiet spot to work. That's cool though, I like people being around.

    This crying (picture a kid with actual tears reaching and stretching and being a squirmy worm) went on for more than 30 minutes. No joke. She finally stood up with the kid and I thought "praise God!" and then I realized she was just packing up to go home because they were done eating. At least they were leaving.

    Also, I give WAY more leeway in grocery stores and other places. You HAVE to grocery shop and as someone who has to take her kids with her every time she goes, I get that. I have left a cart once and taken the kids to the bathroom to get Nora calmed down and I would leave my groceries if one of them had a melt down, but that hasn't happened yet.

    Plus, I think I generally feel like people in grocery stores are there because they have to be, not because they are trying to relax and take a break, KWIM?

    So glad to hear I'm not being totally heartless here. ;)

  12. Blogger Jennifer Laycock | 11:09 AM |  


    Based on your post, isn't the mom still being rude, she's just being rude to the kids? ;)

  13. Anonymous Anonymous | 11:19 AM |  

    Jenn- touche!

  14. Blogger Unknown | 11:22 AM |  

    No, you're definitely not being totally heartless! I have a sliding scale for putting up with screaming in public--an infant makes my milk let down, but I understand sometimes they cry and take a little while to settle. I can't stand it when I see an infant screaming in a carseat--I want to yell at the parents and tell them car seats are for cars! For a toddler, if the child is that unhappy or having a meltdown, as a parent it would be your responsibility to remove them from the situation. I don't say that so much for the sake of those around, but more so for the poor kid. My baby, who is 13 months old, needs to go outside to walk around a lot when we go out to eat. I feel bad when she lets out her frustration shrieks in restaurants, I would never let her go into complete hysterics. It's easier on everyone if we just go outside and play. I figure I'll eat hot food when I'm old and the kids are grown...

    It seems like a lot of parents put unreasonable expectations on kids. What toddler would want to sit still through a long, quiet meal? Or during a church service? (My daughter yelled "blah blah blah at the top of her lungs during the sermon one week and I haven't taken her back since, hah.)

    The grocery store is excused in my opinion too, for the most part. I understand how we all just want to shop and get out. More than once an understanding person has let us cut in front of them in line so that we can pay and avoid a total meltdown. But it kills me when I see a little kid being spanked or yelled at for fussing in the store when they obviously are just bored/tired/hungry and in need of a change of scenery. There's no excuse for completely ignoring your child's needs, or worse punishing them, for the sake of your shopping.

  15. Anonymous Anonymous | 11:25 AM |  

    You're not being rude - I had to get up and leave shortly after my appetizer was served at the Caesar's Palace Cheesecake Factory due to my son deciding that it was HIS menu to chew on and I could NOT take it away without a fight. A quick "check please" and we were outta there! This, I might add, was after one (childless) couple asked the server to be moved to another area *before* my son even started fussing!

  16. Blogger Eilat | 12:06 PM |  

    Jen, you clearly hit a nerve!
    I agree with "Lisa- Radical Unschooling Mom". I see parents ignoring their children's needs at the expense of their surrounding all the time. Sometimes it takes a little patience and getting down to the child's level.

    I struggle to communicate with my son every day. Some days are easier than others. But I think a lot of parents think that their kids' tantrums are something that the kid is doing TO THEM. So they react in a defensive manner, like "Im going to ignore you, or punish you, or just be annoyed with you and treat you brusquely."
    But almost always there is a reason and the child is going through something. Just the simple act of getting down to eye level and showing compassion, while trying to understand what is happening can make everything at least a little better.

    Of course, if the tantrum is about having yet another cookie, then its time to go.

    But, if leaving is not an option then parents MUST bend the rules for the sake of surrounding people. An airplane or restaurant is not the time to enforce rules. Bring toys and activities and snacks. Parents must be prepared and be considerate of their surroundings, while showing compassion for their children.

    Parenting, its hard work.

  17. Anonymous Anonymous | 12:41 PM |  

    I agree. It drives me crazy when a baby is screaming in a restaurant, store, mall, whathaveyou, and the parents don't even notice or care. I shopped at Goodwill recently and the entire 45 minutes I was there, a mom pushed a cart through the aisles with a screaming baby in it while she shopped and IGNORED IT.

    Kids have meltdowns, we all know that. But don't just pretend like it's not happening. Try to console your child - that's why they're fussing, they NEED SOMETHING! If it doesn't work, then take them outside until they relax. It's common courtesy.

    -Jill (nsi)

  18. Blogger Ahmie | 1:10 PM |  

    my thoughts exactly, especially your last sentence.

    our church, we discourage babies making noise in the sanctuary (it echos and there are a lot of people with hearing issues to begin with, a hearing aide makes it very difficult to tune out one noise and tune in just to what you're trying to listen to, so crying or babbling are both issues for some of our members. We have a section in the back reserved for families with small children for this reason, so they can escape quickly if they need to). Our church, generally a few loud sobs or loud babbles (I'd estimate a minute at most) is all that happen in the sanctuary before an usher will approach the family and ask if they'd be more comfortable comforting the child in the crying room next door (where the service is viewable on closed-circuit TV).

    My hubby's usually the one to run the kid out of the room pretty quickly since he moves faster than I do. New baby hasn't caused that issue yet, he sleeps through the sermons as much as my hubby does when he's not in the Sunday School room with our toddler already.

  19. Blogger Corin | 4:36 PM |  

    I remove my babe from a restaurant as soon as I realize 1. drink 2. food 3. toy 4. boob will not fix the problem. This takes me apx. two minutes.

    Your frustration is very valid!

  20. Blogger JudyBright | 8:49 PM |  

    My 9 month old has been in church, in a restaurant, and at the grocery store.

    I guess I have the least tolerance for noise in church, since I've always found it very distracting to see babies and toddlers in the service fussing, crying, talking or whatever. Our church has an excellent nursery and classes for these kids, so I don't see the point of keeping kids in the service in most cases. Catie had a cold once so I kept her out of the nursery. As soon as she peeped I was out of the service. There's an expectation of relative silence, so my tolerance is low for any noise, including babbling, squealing, or talking.

    If I am in a restaurant, I will remove her if she is fussing or crying loudly, loud enough for her to be a distraction to those at surrounding tables. If she does not calm quickly, we're gone. I took her home on Mother's Day because she would not be consoled.

    I am the most tolerant at the grocery store. I let a little crying and fussing happen because I have to shop. My cart was nearly full today when Catie got tired and started crying. I picked her up and then let her sit in the cart like a big girl and thankfully it worked. I do intervene if there's loud crying or an impending tantrum. I haven't had to leave a store yet, but it would take a lot.I know I looked goofy with a cart full of groceries with a car seat on top with a little baby holding on for dear life in the front of the cart, but whatever works baby!!!

  21. Anonymous Anonymous | 4:54 AM |  

    what bothers me most is when people flat out ignore their screaming baby. like in a store while shopping, and the baby is just sobbing it's little head off in the carseat in the front of the cart.
    or like the other day at the park, the dad was watching the baby, with grandma near by and mom playing with their other daughter. baby is screaming in the carseat and yet neither dad nor grandma do anything about it. even mom came to see what was up. then shrugged and walked off.

    is it illegal for me to go comfort? ugh i wish i could.

  22. Anonymous Anonymous | 5:43 AM |  

    I'm with you Jen- I mean, I have days where for my own sanity's sake, I meet a girlfriend at Starbucks w/ our kids to chat and reach sanity- But once they're restless and unhappy, we know it's time to go. For their sake, and the sake of those around us. The church one bothers me much much more though- BUT only when it's someone that I know regularly attends the church. I would NEVER say something to a person about their child being disruptive if I thought that this may be the 1st time they were in church in forever and they're trying to hear about God's love and they're child is upset and they just desperately wanna hear what the preacher has to say. I might let them know we had a nursery, but only if they were comfortable w/ that- and obviously every parent is different w/ what age and how they'll separate from their child. Now if it's a regular attendee- I woudl come at it from the angle of that they are getting in the way of someone (like that 1st person) listening to what the preacher is saying and possibly changing their lives- and THAT bothers me more than anything.

  23. Blogger Shay | 9:39 AM |  

    I think what that mother did was rude. My babe is 10 months but I still remove him and calm him down, then bring him back.

    I do think worshiping should be done as a family.We sit by the back side door so I can slip out the second he gets too loud or starts crying. No more than thirty seconds of frustration. Kids have to be taught how to behave properly in different situations. They can't be taught if they aren't allowed in said situations. Removing a child until they can act how we know they should is teaching them.

    I get annoyed when people IGNORE their crying or screaming children. Even more so if they are in public and on a cell phone.

  24. Anonymous Anonymous | 2:24 PM |  

    I think the problem isn't that the parents are inconveniencing others around them...it's that they are ignoring their children's very obvious distress.

  25. Anonymous Anonymous | 5:41 PM |  

    As far as children in church, I like to worship together as a family, and we do, unless my baby is crying. Our congregation used to have no children in it, and in the past year it has grown to where there were over 12 babies born in 12 months. The noise of babbling and cooing is wonderful, and the pastor has said so when my daughter squeeled during his sermon. But I understand it's not the same in all churches. And as good as the nursery is, I want my child with me. If she's crying, I'll pull her out and comfort her.

  26. Blogger Darlene | 6:25 PM |  

    Oh, this is sooo timely. I know my response isn't but I've been out in Vegas since Thursday. To the point, I flew back yesterday from Las Vegas to south Florida and there was a little girl onboard, about 3 yrs old. She alternately screamed, cried, and whined that 'I'm really tired and trying to wind down' whine for 1 1/2 hours. Seriously. And the whole time, the child was in a car seat and mom was next to her. I was sooo tired from 4 days at a tradeshow and was so looking forward to sleeping on that flight. I gritted my teeth and had all I could do not to get up, go to the mom, and say "PICK YOUR KID UP AND CUDDLE HER....SHE'S Scared/ tired/ uncomfortable/ overtired/all of the above." I simply could not believe she just left that baby in that carseat with an occasional 'shhhhh'.

    Then I read this post and realized that I'm not the only one who really gets frustrated at parents who ignore the fact that the child is unhappy and try to do something to calm the child.

    On the upside, there was a new mom with a 7 week old child and when I went to the rear of the plane to the..uh relief room...they were both sound asleep, the baby at her breast and looking so contented. This was one flight where there was no fuss about a breastfeeding mom. Hooray.

  27. Blogger Jennifer Laycock | 6:29 PM |  

    To clarify, I have no problem with kids in church, nor with "kid sounds."

    Both my kids spent at least the first six months of their lives in the sanctuary with us. I shifted them to the nursery at some point between 7 and 9 months.

    But if they CRY or fuss loudly, we're out of there in about 30 seconds. It's one thing to hear a baby coo or gurgle in church. I'm fine with that, as is our congregation. But when your child is actually screaming, it's time to take them to the lobby or nursery until you get them calmed down.

    (Or just pop a breast in their mouth like I used to do...he stays in the nursery now though, so not an issue.)

  28. Blogger Mama-To-Be | 9:26 AM |  

    I think the location really does matter. I was in a library the other day, and a mother let her toddler scream for 20 minutes. I thought that was rude since libraries are supposed to be quiet. On the other hand, I was at McDonalds a few days ago, and a mother was with her three children. Two of the children were eating quietly, but her baby was screaming. She was actively trying to comfort the baby. She was alone, so she couldn't just get up and leave with the baby while her other kids ate. She was in a family restaurant that had a kids playground, so I don't think she was being rude. I think it's reasonable for places like McDonalds to be kid-friendly since they sell kids meals and have indoor playgrounds. Most of the people there had children. However, I do find it rude when parents take screaming babies/toddlers to the movies and to expensive date-type restaurants. It's unfair to the other customers. I've also seen babies scream through weddings, which I think is probably one of the rudest things. The polite thing would be for one parent to take the child outside until he/she calmed down or the ceremony ended.

  29. Anonymous Anonymous | 2:24 AM |  

    My child has an autistic disorder and soemtimes behaves very oddly in public spaces. I used to be far less tolerant of people's children, especially those over the age of 5 or so ... I feel that children need loving, strong discipline. That is, until my own child was that age and acting really bizarre and sometimes unruly in public.

    I have to worry far more about my 6 year old acting up than my 3 year old or 2 month old. I always carry a secret stash of suckers or stickers for them, just in case there's a meltdown. And lately, I carry "autism cards" that I made up on the computer.

    The cards say "You are witnessing a child with autism. This behavior is due to a brain disorder, and is difficult for my child to control. Thank you for your patience." I rarely need to hand them out but occasions do arise. The response has been amazing.

    Just wanted to throw that out there, about older kids. (I know the post was about little kids, but if you're like I was, the older kids were the ones that really irritated me.) Sometimes those kids just simply can't help it and if it looks like the parents are ignoring it - well, in my case, disciplining my child when she is having an Aspie "meltdown" causes it to get much, much worse. We do out best to remove her from situations when these things occur but there are times when its just impossible, and that's when the cards come in handy.

  30. Blogger Jamie @ *that* mom | 3:13 PM |  

    Jennifer – I think the situation you described was absolutely unnecessary. That mother should have done something but I have to say I would be INCREDIBLY offended if people did things to me at church that other moms have suggested.

    Ahmie described that an usher would ask them to move to another room within a MINUTE of crying or babbles. I would be upset, offended, and I would never ever return to that congregation.

    I appreciated those comments of those who said that they believe in worshipping as a family. And Jennifer – I certainly understand your comment that screaming is a time to remove your child form the sanctuary, calm them down, and return or NURSE J

    JudyBright wrote that she doesn’t see the point of keeping kids in services. My husband is a pastor, and I have a masters degree youth and family ministry. In my opinion (and I know that’s all it is, although an educated one), children belong in worship – not in nursery, not in Sunday school, not in any other alternative program. Sunday school and other programs are excellent supplements to worship (as in not DURING worship).

    If children do not learn to worship by seeing others worship and being involved in it, they may not learn how. There is no magical age that worship is appropriate for children. Furthermore, children that are in worship from birth learn how to behave and enjoy worship much sooner than those brought once they are out of the ‘nursery’ age when they have been accustomed to being entertained and playing during that time.

    Others mentioned that they sit in the back so as to avoid being a disruption. The back of the church is NOT a place for families with small children to sit. Children who sit in the back have very little to look at besides the back of other people’s heads, whereas if they sit in the front few pews they can see what is going on in worship which is actually very visually stimulating experience. Sitting in the back of the church, kids are set up to be distracted and ancy. Sitting the the front, they can be more involved.

  31. Anonymous Anonymous | 3:43 PM |  

    I agree generally-it is rude to others if one ignores their child or only makes a halfharted attempt to calm or quiet them. It isn't fair to the child either. But would add that people should try not to judge-there are a few situations in which it's understandable.
    For the record, I have four kids and the only meltdowns have been in grocery stores(One for my oldest child when she was two and a few for my sons, though theirs are less meltdowns and more mischief-making sessions). In restaurants once or twice I've had to distract a bored child to keep them from getting too loud.
    A suggestion:If you're there trying to work, maybe you could stop for a few minutes and go try to talk to the child. Sometimes distraction from someone who is not Mom can do the trick and everyone is happy! It may not work, but what the heck, it's worth a shot.
    One Mom mentioned having a kid with Asperger's, it's not the same but I have a son who for the first 18 months of life just cried all the time. No problem anyone could figure out he just cried a lot. He wouldn't let anyone but me hold him for more than a few minutes either. He's three and still occasionally starts crying and can't stop. I didn't take him out in public often when he was a baby and was never in a situation where he had a public meltdown. But if I had been in situations where I had to be out with him I'm sure people would have assumed that I was ignoring him or wasn't taking care of him. But I would hold him, bounce him, rock him, nurse him and he would still cry. Also sometimes you can't leave the store (grocery store especially). I don't drive so I have no car to take the kids to when they act up, and with more than one child just going outside doesn't work well either(then you have to keep an eye on the other child/children while trying to calm the child having the tantrum). Plus I can't just drive back to the store whenever I feel like it so that one shot is it. I always try to plan ahead, make sure the kids have eaten have toys or snacks or drinks just in case....but sometimes it just doesn't work. And because I don't drive often when I do have my husband or mother taking us out to run errands it is a long day out. Which is very hard on the kids. It's not fair to them but that's what we have to do. I imagine many busy working mothers have limmited time to run errands and may not be able to leave the kids at home and may not be able to just leave the store and come back because it's their only time to shop. Or what if that parent is generally a loving caring parent but their child is teething or just going through a phase and they won't stop crying and the parent is sleep deprived-maybe they're just ignoring the child because they're at the end of their rope and just want to finish the food they paid for and hope the child will stop crying by then. This isn't good for the child and is rude to other patrons, but I could understand how it could happen. Modern society demands a lot from Moms and we do spend more time eating out than previous generations. My point is only that maybe the Mom could use some help or just understanding. Instead of just assuming that she's inconsiderate or just a bad parent.

  32. Anonymous Anonymous | 9:47 PM |  

    Personally I don't care what anyone thinks around me when my babies are crying...I don't even think the parents are being rude by having a crying baby--it has EVERYTHING to do with how they are trying to comfort their own baby. They need to try to make baby happy--even if that means a cold dinner, going home, etc. I've had people give me dirty looks because my child made a peep...then I've had others try to help if I have a distressed baby. Yes...there have been times where I've had to leave the store, my friends house, or a restraunt because my baby is just NOT HAPPY...and that made me a little upset that I miss out on the fun...but hey folks, that's PARENTHOOD! And really--shouldn't we care more about these little people's needs than we care about our own (usually)?
    Also...one thing I've learned about having kids...when people look at you and judge you, they aren't usually thinking about the kids actions as much as they are looking at how YOU handle it!
    Just my 2 cents...FWIW... :)

  33. Anonymous Anonymous | 10:55 AM |  

    Ok - I'm late to this but just wanted to say I have a different take on it. When I see a child acting out in public I actually feel so much empathy for the parent. We all know that we don't ENJOY dealing with public tantrums, and if we had a choice we'd rather the floor just swallow us whole. If we try our bag of tricks, people are going to look and judge and say we should just leave, if we leave instantly, people will look and judge that it was unnecessary. You could pick up and cuddle and people would judge saying you were spoiling him/her and coddling. People judge no matter where you are and no matter what you do in the situation. I've gone out at the urging of a single, childless friend several times when I KNOW my kid probably is going to meltdown at a restaurant. I try to tell her we can get take out but "He'll be FIIINE" she says. Well 15 min of her pouring over the menu and I know I have a ticking time bomb waiting to explode. The fidgity, restless and whiny stuff comes and the full blown tantrum explosion usually follows just as lunch/dinner arrives. My friend does not want to leave. She says "Oh, he'll calm down. Here, do you want this? You want some of this?" all to which my son ignores. She doesn't get the anxiety his public tantrums cause and, usually since I'm her ride out of there and she doesn't want to leave, I'm stuck there trying desperately to keep my sanity.

    Point is: We are all judged and we are all very judgemental. You cannot please everyone all the time. Sorry but while I agree with you probably 99.9% of the time, I do feel you were a bit harsh in this instance. If your kids are in daycare/preschool and you want a quiet place to work without distraction, you should probably be at home or in someplace where children/families are less likely to frequent. I personally enjoy going to Panera for lunch with my kid because they do offer healthy and organic options. Panera IS somewhat a kid oriented place, especially during breakfast/lunch hours.

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