• Mon, Jan 6 - 1:00 pm ET

An Open Letter To The Mother Who Can’t Keep Her Kid At Her Own Damn Table At The Coffee Shop

186372811Okay, this isn’t really an open letter, because I freaking hate those. Let’s just call it a rant.

Yesterday, I dropped my kids off with my mother and wandered down to a coffee shop. It’s rare that I get some time alone out of my house and I always love it. I’m not one of those people who expects silence in public. Having lived in New York City for over a decade, I’m not even one of those people who expects to never be bothered. I understand that when I go out in public – there are other people there that I will have to deal with. But for a mother stealing a few moments away from her kids, there is nothing worse than encountering “Oblivious Mom” in a public place. Oblivious Mom is the worst. I hate her so much. This is really saying something because I’m used to seeing things like this on my commute:

Back to Oblivious Mom. We happened to decide to go to the coffee shop at the same time yesterday. She had an adorable 2-year-old boy that was actually behind the counter when I walked in. I thought he belonged to the person working there. Nope. Mom just let him wander around – and didn’t seem to mind when he wandered behind the counter. The counter person shot me a look that said, “I have no idea why this kid is back here.” I shot him a look back that said, “Because his mother is clueless.” It was a bonding moment of telepathy.

I sat down and opened my computer. That’s kind of the universal sign for “I’m working,” right? I think so. Two-year-old gets bored behind the counter with the steaming hot milk and knives and such, and saunters over to my table. He just stands there, staring at me. Then he says, “hi!” I say, “hi.” I don’t say it in the way that sends the message to mom that I think her offspring is the cutest thing ever. I say it in a short, annoyed way that says, “Come get your kid, lady.” She doesn’t understand the subtle nuances of passive aggressive communication. Again, toddler says, “hi!” He’s staring right at me. I’m beginning to see where this little game is going. As long as I respond, he’s never going to stop saying hi.

Mom is busy texting, but she looks up long enough to say, “Honey, I think the lady is working.” As if this two-year-old understands what the hell that means. Again he says, “hi!” Mom is actually giving me one of those, “Isn’t he the cutest?” Looks. Gah.

Here’s the thing: yes, he is cute. But he’s not as cute as the two little beings I actually had sliced from my womb – whom I love more than anything else on the planet and left at home. If I need to get away from them for a few minutes, you can sure as shit be assured that I don’t want to fill my time up playing the “hi” game with your chatty toddler.

I don’t care if kids are loud; I know they don’t come with volume buttons. But I don’t think asking parents to keep their offspring at their own tables is too much. Seriously. The general public does not think your kid is as cute as you do – and probably doesn’t want to spend their time out entertaining them. Especially those of us that have our own kids to entertain all day.

Oblivious mom continued being oblivious. I took my coffee to go.

(photo: Getty Images)

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  • candyvines

    Not only can it be super annoying to other patrons, it is incredibly dangerous for children to be away from their tables at restaurants (behind the counter? For real?) I think there is nothing wrong with employees telling parents that their children are welcome, but not welcome to run around.

    • Lackadaisical

      I always assumed that there might be things that could be dangerous there because it isn’t designed with toddler safety in mind and coffee is hot out of the machine.

    • Roberta

      Not to mention the health violations. If you work with food you have to wash your hands and your station roughly a dozen times a day. A biological hazard like a toddler is just asking for it.

    • Kay_Sue

      Biological hazard is exactly the term for it. I’ve seen what comes out of my kid, no way do I want him or any other near my coffee (or food) or anyone else’s. Ick.

    • Rachel Sea

      I wince so hard anytime someone sits their baby on my bar. Ass is not a garnish, and should be nowhere near people’s drinks.

    • Roberta

      I feel like that is wisdom for everyone. “Ass is not a garnish”

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      My mom has always said, “Tables are made for glasses, not for little asses.” Don’t know if that will help you, but you’re welcome to use it :)

    • Shea

      Yeah, I once worked as a cook on a guest ranch, and several times I had parents come to the kitchen to ask me if their kid could “help me make cookies”. I always told them no and gave as the reason that it was a health code violation for the kids to be in there (don’t blame me, blame the state of Colorado!) but really the fact was that the place was fully of knives and heavy cast-iron pans and hot things and open flames and also I’m not just in here making cookies for fun, this is my damn job and having your kid in here “helping” is going to result in dinner being served at 9:30 at night.

    • candyvines

      I’m as worried about the safety of the worker. Kids aren’t usually in your normal field of vision – you could trip over one of those tiny bastards.

  • Lackadaisical

    I bet her typing on her phone was really one of those annoying rants that often make it to STFU parents about the mean lady on her laptop who doesn’t take the time to smile and chat with her adorable angel. How dare you not give her child attention, that is what complete strangers were invented for, you aren’t expecting her to distract and occupy her own child were you?

  • Amanda Rene Slinger

    Feral children like that are so much cuter before you have one at home. And who lets their kid wander around in a strange, not toddler proofed kitchen type area? You know if some poor barista making $10 an hour had tripped over that kid behind the counter and spilled scalding hot coffee on him that mom would be busting out a law suit before anyone could say ” buy a leash if your too lazy to parent”.

    • EX

      Agreed. I rarely think other people’s kids are cute these days. Funny how that happens.

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      One of the major reasons I am hoping my new insurance policy covers tubal ligations is that I don’t find any children cute, no matter if they’re feral or domesticated. But I do appreciate the (parents of the :p ) latter–at least they aren’t creating hazards to their own health and the health of those around them!

  • Janok Place

    Seriously as someone who has worked long term in hospitality… it’s down right dangerous letting your kid run wild in a restaurant/coffee shop etc. I once tripped over a toddler who was ducking in and out from underneath tables. When I lost balance of the tray it was either A) Chuck it or B) Drop it on his head. I ended up sending a full tray of steaming hot coffee mugs down the aisle. His mother’s response? To laugh at me, and say “Haha, Having one of those days are you?”

    Loved working in my mom’s restaurant. Her anti-child attitudes were legendary in our small town. She had no problem lecturing the customers on responsible parenting and pointing out the 101 ways a child could be maimed or killed in her establishment before not-so-politely asking them to leave. I remember when I was young, I was sitting unattended at a table and she would tell them “If my kid can’t run like a wild thing on my property, neither can yours. I’m going to have to ask you to leave.” Now THAT was embarrassing as all hell from the perspective as a kid, but I totally get it now.

    • Kay_Sue

      That’s not anti-child. Not wanting kids to be hurt, maimed or killed is very pro-child. Unfortunately, it’s also pro-common sense, which often seems to be lacking in these cases.

    • Janok Place

      She’s definitely pro-child-safety… But any kid walked in the door and one of the waitresses would do their best to block the parents view of the chef. Hands in the air, eyes rolling, exclamations of “Who want these things in public? Who?!?!?”

      She had the pleasure of holding my daughter while she made her first ever very serious constipation face at the next table in a nice restaurant…. It was fun watching the tables turn. She had nothing to say but… “One of the days, you know?” with a pile of nervous laughter. Granted, our child is not a feral beast (*ahem* in public)

    • Kay_Sue

      I have to confess that I, too, sometimes think “Who wants these things in public?”, lol!

      Your mom sounds hilarious though, I can’t lie.

    • Yo yo ma

      Smart business woman too. If one of those children had been seriously hurt you can bet your pretty little ass that they would have sued hers. It’s a shame that you have to be that way but you do.

    • GPMeg

      Your mother is my heroine. I love her!

    • Snipe

      Your mom is awesome. I would eat at her restaurant regularly if it was local.

  • VĂ©ronique Houde

    Ugh this reminds me of the times where I go to the park in the summer and am bombarded with other people’s kids who want to “play” with my then 6 month old. One day we were in the wading pool, and an entire group of 5 year old daycare kids came over and started swarming around me, trying to talk to me, touch the baby… The workers did NOTHING to get them away from me – in fact, they were sitting on the side of the pool, probably enjoying the break they were getting because the kids were all around me… At one point, I just told them that I wanted to have some alone time with my daughter so that we could play. Thank god they understood…..! Another time, an annoying three year old was telling me my 9 month old couldn’t go down the slide and was acting all know-it-all-y and his mom came up, kind of admonishing him but in a way that begged me to tell her that he wasn’t being bad… which I didn’t do ;). I just smiled at her and allowed her to take him somewhere else ;). That didn’t stop him from showing me his bike before he left. Ugh. Other kids can be so annoying…

    • EX

      You just reminded me of a time I was at the park this fall with my 2 year old and my pregnant belly and this 3ish year old boy was grilling me about the baby in my belly. The conversation was getting pretty uncomfortable. I mean, it will be awkward enough having the “birds and the bees” talk with my own kids, I definitely don’t want to be having it with a strange kid at the park. The whole time I was just thinking “where are your parents?!?”

    • Psych Student

      I am a sufficiently terrible person (who is currently childless, so that may be part of the reason I’d opt for the terrible person option), but that would be about the time I’d teach the child about sex, the penis, the vagina, and the vulva. As well as the various options for sex. Or I might just teach them to yell various profane words for penis and vulva. It would be funny. For me. :)

    • bl

      Yes. Yes. Yes. I was out walking my dog and two houses down an unleashed dog and a 3-yr-old come running out of the house. The kid asks to pet my dog, which I agreed to because he had already scooped him up and because I was sure an adult was coming right out after him to disengage. Nope. Kid proceeded to tell me about his Christmas presents, ask where I live, beg to come visit me at my house right that moment/OK, later?/Tomorrow?, come on my walk with me, etc. I had to insist that he return inside with his dog until his mom or dad could come out with him.

      I never saw the parents for that whole conversation. Meanwhile, that kid would have happily followed me or anyone home that day. I hightail in the opposite direction when I see him out now, and he’s three! (He’s always been in his own yard. If he were unsafe I’d intervene.) But I don’t want to deal with the hassle of physically forcing a child not to follow me around or engage with him and encourage him while also looking like a kidnapper.

    • Meg

      Reminds me of a neighbor that allowed her middle son to wander without supervision practically as soon as he could walk. The kid would wander our small neighborhood, and get into another neighbors backyard which is kinda junky and rather dangerous.
      The mother was talked to several times.
      Eventually, a lady almost hit the kid with a car because he was hanging out on the (usually busy) road. The kid was about 2 at this time. The lady got out of the car, and when she couldn’t find the kids parents, she called the police. Not long after that, those parents build a fence around their yard

    • SarahJesness

      For a long time, people in my parents neighborhood would let kids walk around unsupervised. If the kids had common sense I wouldn’t have cared, (though some of the kids were like, three, which seems too young to be out running around unsupervised at all) but these kids wouldn’t look before crossing the street, and would frequently walk in front of or (in the case of cars backing out) behind moving cars, with no reaction when they realized they almost got hit. Eventually someone (or some people) started calling the cops over the matter, so it did stop.

    • MrMelly Gigglewiggle

      I go to the park by myself because swings calm me down when I have bad anxiety attacks. I’m 22 years old, but I look 12, so I always have kids coming up to me trying to talk to me and play with me and because I have social anxiety, that gets a lot worse around children, I just sort of stutter and look down at my shoes and nod at whatever they’re asking. Then the kids start asking me “Why are you so quiet lady?!” and it gets 10x worse. The mothers always just nod and smile at me and have that “Aren’t they cute?” look.

      I did also have one woman get really upset because I wouldn’t play with her kid, and she asked where my mother was, and why I was out at the park alone, so I looked at her and said “I’m 21 years old, I’m allowed to be here by myself” and she got offended that I would lie to her and I just got fed up and left.

    • Elizabeth777

      Well, to be fair, you do say that you look 12 and go to a park. You can’t really fault the children for looking for someone to play with at a playground. I’d say that’s an area where you can’t get mad at kids for being kids.

    • JLH1986

      If she’s clearly uncomfortable the parents should be telling their kids to ease up. If she was 12 and uncomfortable I would still expect children not to bombard her. Though I agree I think that’s an unfortunate risk you take if swings are what calms her that is going to invite kids.

    • MrMellyGiggleWiggle

      I am not getting upset with the children, I didn’t want it to come off that way, I’m upset with the parents who get mad when I awkwardly answer the kids and say no thanks when offering to play. One asked me if I thought i was too good to play with her kid. :/ I will answer them and say hello and stuff, but sometimes they get really nosy too, like asking me if I have a boyfriend and if we kiss a lot.
      It’s cute, but at the same time I feel the parents should do more than sit there ignoring their kids…
      I do expect to attract kids at a park, but when I was a kid, my mom told me not to keep asking questions if the person is uncomfortable/quiet. Especially nosy ones.

    • MrMellyGiggleWiggle

      I also forgot to add, lately I only go to the park with my little brother, he’s 5 now, but when he was younger I got asked a few times by little kids “is that your baby!?” “how did you have a baby!??” “my mom says that teenagers who have babies are going to hell!” Maybe the parents in my area are just crazy. o.o

    • CrazyLogic

      I wish I could upvote twice. First, because I know exactly how you feel, and second because you have goomy as your avatar and goomy is awesome.

  • Amanda

    I agree that kids should not be allowed to wonder around aimlessly especially in places where there are hot beverages and other dangers lurking. That said, I do not understand why coffee shops are viewed by many as a library or their own personal office space. Just because you have purchased a coffee and opened up your laptop, does not mean you have been afforded a quiet, uninterrupted place to work.

    • http://www.benwhoski.com/ Benwhoski

      I don’t think she’s demanding a “quiet, uninterrupted” environment. She stated she doesn’t expect quiet, and she understands there will be people around. However, if a person is reading or working on something, and an adult stranger stood there yammering at them and demanding their attention for their own entertainment, we’d all think that person was obnoxious and rude, because reading a book or working on laptop is pretty much the exact opposite of a “come and talk to me” signal.

      We can’t hold that behavior against the kid because the kid isn’t old enough to know better, but we can hold that behavior against the parent who doesn’t come and get their kid to stop them from pestering strangers who want to be left alone.

    • CMJ

      Eh, I would still expect my personal space to be respected at a coffee shop as it relates to a child coming up to me and constantly being in my business.

      Maria even said she doesn’t expect it to be quiet….”I don’t care if kids are loud; I know they don’t come with volume buttons. But I don’t think asking parents to keep their offspring at their own tables is too much.”

    • Kelly

      Where did the author say she expected quiet? She specifically said she didn’t.

      It’s not outrageous to expect not to be bothered by strangers. If an adult acted like that, it would be completely appropriate to tell him to go away. Perhaps even to tell him to fuck off if he couldn’t get it through his thick skull that you didn’t want to talk to him.

    • Kay_Sue

      She specifically said she didn’t expect complete quiet or even to remain entirely unbothered.

      People still have a right to be unmolested by children in public. There are standards of behavior that are acceptable, and as parents, it’s kind of our job to instill that in our children.

    • VĂ©ronique Houde

      LOL one day Kay_Sue I am looking forward to asking you to stop your child from molesting me in public. Mouahahaha

    • Kay_Sue

      The wording is ironic, no? Alas, though, the only person my kids seem to molest and harass is me.

    • Momma425

      I agree, a coffee shop is not a library. It is, however, a resteraunt. I personally would be very irritated if I were seated at a diner, or heck, even Red Robin and someone was letting their kid come and stand in my booth, or right at the edge of the table. Even if I wasn’t working- maybe I want to enjoy a meal by myself or with my family without having to play games with some kid I don’t know.
      I have been to many a coffee shop, resteraunt, mall eating area with my child. If my daughter wasn’t sitting at the table, and was instead wandering around and disturbing others while they were trying to eat/text/work on their laptop/talk at their tables, I would scoop her up and bring her back to my table and make her sit down. Or at the very least stand at my table. If she wasn’t able to do this for whatever reason, I would leave and bring her home. Sitting at your table texting away and expecting someone else to play “hi” games with your kid is rude.

    • keelhaulrose

      No one is asking for quiet and uninterrupted, that’s what a library is for.
      But I should not be expected to entertain other people’s kids just because I’m out in public.

    • Sara

      I have to say I’ve had a mother let her three children harass me and my teacher at the library even after we had told them that we were having a class, go find their mother, etc.

    • Meg

      I go to the local library often. More then once I have gone to find young kids running around (even in the adult sections) and screaming like it is a playground.

    • Sara

      Yes! And they completely destroy everything, run into the study cubicles even when they’re occupied! It’s ridiculous and makes me wonder why their parents don’t correct them!

    • VLDBurnett

      Parents allowing their children to treat the library like a playground (especially the parts reserved for research) is my own personal pet peeve. I’m much more forgiving in other spaces, but libraries are sacred to me.

    • Sara

      Me too! And when they damage the books I get so mad!

    • VLDBurnett

      Honestly, most coffee shops (that aren’t part of a major chain) sort of cater to the idea of people being able to do work while they drink their coffee. I mean, I don’t think that makes them libraries and, of course, you are going to encounter other people, but I do think that the average coffee shop is trying to create the sort of environment where people can do light work. It depends on the individual coffee shop, but those which I have frequented definitely tend to be quieter places were people respect that those around them are trying to get work done.

    • VĂ©ronique Houde

      agreed. a coffee shop is a place where you go when you want to sit and relax – while doing your work, or read a book, or have a discussion with a friend.

  • Kelly

    I despise those parents. I once went to a coffee shop because I had just learned my grandmother had died. I needed a few minutes away from my own family to collect my thoughts and I actually encountered one of these bitches who then proceeded to tell me off for not acknowledging her child.

    I can’t remember exactly what I said to her in response (not the innocent child, just her bitch mother) but she grabbed her kid and ran like hell a few seconds in. I hope she learned something from that experience.

    • keelhaulrose

      I had a similar experience a few months ago. My husband and I, exhausted from driving 1750 miles in two days and spending eight hours at a hospital watching his father pass, stopped at a chain restaurant for drinks and something to eat. A child came up to our table and started asking questions about the team sweatshirt I was wearing. I entertained the first couple questions, then asked the kid to go back to his mother. She asked if all Bears fans were so rude, and her son was just curious because he hadn’t met a Bears fan before (like we are rare and totally exotic because our football team is greatly different from the other 31). In an admittedly rude moment I told her it was rude to expect other people, who want nothing more than to deal with their grief and exhaustion, to entertain her child, and no where on the door did it say I had to put up with interruptions to my dinner.
      Of course, my husband didn’t make it better by saying “just leave us the fuck alone, lady”. Luckily she did, otherwise it might have escalated.

  • AP

    This used to happen at my old pool all the time. Kids would sneak into the Staff Only area (fair, because they can’t read the sign yet) and start messing with dangerous stuff. I’d politely say, “Oh, no, put that down. It’s dangerous and you could get hurt! Go back to your grownup!” only to get attitude from the parents asking for an explanation as to WHY their child wasn’t allowed to “explore.”

    Your toddler does not need to explore the circuit breakers, play the drums on a barrel of shock chemicals, or wave around a razor blade like a conductor’s baton. And if for some reason you’ve deemed this a core element of your parenting philosophy, you can do it on your own time, because I don’t want to deal with paperwork, insurance, and lawyers when the kid inevitably gets hurt.

    • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

      Good grief. Explore! Like a toddler needs to get into everything or else they won’t expand their minds enough to go to Harvard one day. Maybe it’d be nicer if they weren’t electrocuted or poisoned in childhood at the cost of not doing a little extra poking around.

    • Kay_Sue

      Maybe that’s the master plan–they get electrocuted or poisoned and no need to worry about Harvard tuition someday.

      I feel like that should be a bit in the Louis C.K. “Of course…but maybe…” monologues…

    • Psych Student

      Well, their precious baby is *super* brilliant anyway and is already only a year away from admission to Harvard. You clearly wouldn’t understand because you’re child is average. It’s such a chore having a brilliant child. You are so lucky you don’t have to worry about a Harvard education. It’s just exhausting to deal with such smart children. (Please see the sarcasm and mockery!)

  • Kay_Sue

    I may have mentioned it a time or two (that’s sarcasm) but I worked retail for many (or several) years. Oblivious parents were the worst. It’s just the truth.

    The toy store I worked at was an absolute nightmare. There was the time that someone’s child peed all the way through the store, and they had no idea. I get potty training, and accidents happen–we’ve had them–but when your kid is saying “I have to go” and you’re pulling them along talking on your cell phone and they finally wet all the way up the aisle? Yeah, I’m not blaming Junior for that.

    Or the kid that went through the shoe department and knocked every single pair off of the last few rows in my last store while Mom was walking a few feet ahead (again on a cell phone).

    NOTHING tops when I was setting up two kids with a wish list scanner, and the mom goes, “Do you have people to monitor the children while they scan?” And before I could stop myself, the words “Yes, we do, they are called parents”, left my mouth. Luckily, my DM could only laugh at the nasty survey she gave us…

    • MerlePerle

      My daughter has been taught not to touch anything we’re not buying and not to make a mess unless she intents to clean it…

    • Kay_Sue

      Once when my sister put something down where it didn’t go in Wal-Mart, my son (who was four at the time) said, “Auntie! These people are not paid to clean up after you. You should put that back where it goes.”

      While we had to have a discussion about being respectful of grown ups, part of me was proud that he had internalized what I’d taught him….

      I promise, most retail employees are grateful to see parents that have your philosophy.

    • MerlePerle

      I know, I used to be a waitress and coming across people who don’t treat you like their personal slave was always a pleasent experience! There’s this quote floating around ‘a person who is nice to you, but isn’t nice to the waiter is not a nice person.’ I believe in that with all my heart and so will my children!

    • http://www.benwhoski.com/ Benwhoski

      At one of my previous retail jobs, our restroom was out of order (not shockingly because a customer had tried to flush a diaper and it was not lodged firmly in the piples). Even the employees had to go to a nearby store to use the restroom. One customer with a daughter (who I’d guess was around 6 years old) had been shopping with her child telling her for an hour that she really, really needed to use the bathroom. She wouldn’t stop shopping long enough to take her next door to use the toilet (even though we told her we’d even hold her shopping cart while she did so). FInally, the woman was checking out and the poor girl couldn’t hold it anymore and peed right where she stood.

      I have to hand it to the girl, though, she took it in stride. She just shrugged and said to her mother “Well, I tried to tell you I had to go.”

    • Kay_Sue

      I feel for these kids. I mean, it’s embarrassing for them too.

    • ZbornakSyndrome

      I work retail during the holidays some years to pick up extra cash. Three out of four years in a row, I’ve found dirty diapers in the changing rooms (I know they’re called changing rooms, but I promise they’re meant for changing clothes, not excrement filled diapers).

      But what really gets me is this: Each year, I’ve seen at least one parent tell their kid “stay with this nice lady” and then leave them to shop. I’m not you’re babysitter, and I’m sure your kid is cute, but you don’t know me – I could be a psycho killer or something (I’m not, but still). Don’t let your kids wander around unsupervised and don’t leave them with strangers. Can we all agree on that?

    • Kay_Sue

      I know, right? I didn’t start in retail until my older son was 5 months old…I remember just a few weeks into my first position, this woman just left her infant, in a carrier, at the service desk while she ran to put something in the car…I didn’t know whether to be horrified or admire her balls, because I had trouble leaving my kid with people I knew and trusted with my own life for the longest time, let alone with total strangers…

    • ZbornakSyndrome

      EXACTLY! I mean, I think I look normal, but I’m not leaving my kid with some “normal looking” woman I don’t know and hoping for the best. That’s how you end up on the news, pleading for the return of your child.
      Also, I’m not getting paid enough to take responsibility for your kid, I’m being paid to help you find a cocktail dress.

    • whiteroses

      Right there with you. I worked at a popular tourist spot, and I can’t tell you how many times people would park their kids in a stroller next to costumed me and say, “We’ll be back in a moment.”

      I finally reached the point where I said, “Can I have your car keys?” When they said no, I’d say, “You don’t know me. Why would you leave your child with me? At least a car can be replaced.”

    • A-nony-mous

      There seems to be this presumption that just because someone is employed that they’re a good and safe person. Sometimes I want to tell people that Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy, Dennis Rader (BTK), Gary Ridgeway (Green River Killer), Robert Hansen and Robert Pickton all had jobs too.

    • whiteroses

      Exactly. And I, not being a psycho killer and actually being trained in CPR, would have been perfectly fine with their kids- but how would they have known that? For all they knew, I was in costume because I thought it was cool and I wasn’t even an employee.

      I was an employee—- but again, not the point.

    • Shea

      That happened to me when I worked in a bookstore as a teenager. It was raining out, and the woman walked up to me as I was working on a display, informed me that she was “going to get the car” and shoved her swaddled baby into my arms. I was only about 17 and it happened fast, so I just kind of stood there with my mouth hanging open, hoping to god that the woman would actually return. She did come back within five minutes, but who the hell does that? Forget me being a total stranger and therefore potential kidnapper/axe murder, she had no way of knowing if I even knew how to properly hold a very young baby who couldn’t yet hold up her head by herself!

    • ChickenKira

      I’m a librarian and I get this daily. I even had some random 3yr old come up to me with her sippy cup “More juice please” “Uhh, where is Mummy or Daddy?” “Shops”
      Looked all around, no parents in the library, half an hour later Mum comes along with some groceries.
      Have to hand it to the kid, I didn’t believe her and she was telling the truth, but who just leaves a 3yr old in a public library and goes to the supermarket? Do you have any idea of how many weirdos hang out at public libraries?

    • Snipe

      Tell me about it. I used to work in a downtown urban library and if I was a parent I wouldn’t have let my kid out of sight in that place.

    • Louise

      I would be quite tempted to call the police and say the child and been abandoned.

    • Louise

      HAD

    • Emil

      That warrants a call to CPS

    • A-nony-mous

      I would’ve called the police. Most of the libraries around here have the same automatic sliding doors as grocery stores, so kids don’t even need to have the strength to pull open a regular style door. They can literally toddle right out and onto the street if they’re not supervised.

    • ChickenKira

      I’m not sure about where they set the sensor everywhere, but at my work it’s set at the height of about 4ft. So anyone under 4ft can’t trigger the doors to open.
      Now if they slide in past an adult who was triggering the doors, that’s a different story.

    • A-nony-mous

      That’s more what I was picturing. I’m short and light and sometimes I can’t always trigger them myself but I can absolutely see a toddler or small child sneaking out with a group of adults or behind an adult. :-/ I’m not a paranoid parent, but I just know that kids tend to get bored pretty easily and once they see an opening with more exciting things beyond…they tend to go for it and it’s really easy for distracted adults to not notice a child that isn’t their own and that they never expected to follow them to do just that and follow them outside.

    • WoW

      that’s when you call police, or defacs, or at least security if there is one. I used to work a retail childrens store in the mall and people would bring their kids in and drop them off while they went shopping in the rest of the mall. As soon as they walked out our doors we called mall security who would come and get them, then call the police, and then page the parents on the loud speaker to report to the security office. I like to assume many of them never did anything that stupid again or if they did they no longer have those children

    • LiteBrite

      Former long-term retail minion here too. Oblivious parents suck. Well, let me rephrase that. People in general suck when you work retail, but oblivious parents ESPECIALLY suck.

      And yeah, what is up with parents who think the retail employee is an unpaid babysitter? I’m not standing behind this return desk twiddling my thumbs. Do you see the long line of people waiting for service?

    • Kay_Sue

      And yet, if you didn’t give them that service that’s being interrupted by others so you can keep one eye on their kid, they’d be the first to raise heck and kick up a storm…*Sighs*

    • sri

      When I worked retail, I had a customer come up to me, tell me to watch her kids, and then immediately leave the store while I was saying no! It wasn’t a store with a daycare or playground, either. I worked in the women’s clothing department. I didn’t know what to do, so I called store security. Security comes, asks the kids their names, pages the mom, no mom. The kids are too little to know their phone number, so we can’t call mom. Security calls the police, since some lady just abandoned her kids. The police wait a few minutes (kids were left over 30 min ago at this point) and then take the kids to the nearest police station after over an hour, assuming the lady abandoned her kids. After another hour (!) the lady comes back in, asks for her kids, and called the police to have me arrested for kidnapping when security explained what happened. Seriously, lady? You don’t know me. You just left your kids who are only 2 and 4, and who only speak Spanish, for 2 hours. You weren’t even in the store. And you’re going to call the police on me?

      Thankfully, that was the worst story. It wasn’t the only time some lady expected me to watch her kids because she couldn’t be bothered, though. I was a magnet for lost kids, I swear. One day, I found a lost 3 year old, brought her back to her mom, who didn’t even know she was missing, went on break, and found a set of lost 4 year old twins sliding down the escalator banisters while their parents were putting their shopping away in their car in the parking lot on the other side of the mall, again, without realizing they were missing 2 whole children. Oh, retail…

    • LiteBrite

      Hopefully the police were more concerned about this mother’s abandonment of her kids than they were about you “kidnapping” them.

      Ugh. You and Kay_Sue have reminded me why I hated retail and don’t miss it for one tiny second.

    • Sri

      One day, not long after this, my car got stolen while I was at work. I shit you not, the cop who came to file the report and drive me home said to me “Hey, you’re the one who kidnapped those kids!” and then opened the door to the back of the car and told me to get in. I thought it was hilarious, since I knew he was giving me a ride home, but some of my coworkers looked genuinely concerned.

    • Snipe

      I bet your story will be told in the station for years to come. I hope the cops gave that mother some serious grief for abandoning her kids, too.

    • Snipe

      The worrisome thing is that the lady acted as though you were the problem and that her irresponsible behavior was perfectly acceptable. I shudder to think of the example she’s providing for her kids.

    • Momma425

      When I was in high school and early college years, I lifeguarded. I can’t tell you how many parents would sit on the side of the pool deck texting/listening to ipods/reading books/NAPPING and expecting ME to babysit their kids. It was ridiculous!
      One time in particular, a little girl comes up to me (she was maybe 9 or 10) and said that I had to hurry because her friend got shot and was bleeding in the bathroom. So I went running to the ladies room and found a 11 year old girl who mostly didn’t speak english, and upon further investigation discovered she had just started her period. I found her mom, who was tanning on the pool deck. Her mom couldn’t even be bothered to roll over and look me in the eye when I explained that her daughter was in the bathroom, just started her period, and seemed really upset and frightened. The mom simply said, “Well give her a tampon and tell her to get back out here.” I couldn’t even believe it! Who wants their daughter’s first period experience to be explained by some random lifeguard at a pool. So frustrating when people decide to check out and make others deal with their kids even though it is not their job.

    • LiteBrite

      A friend of mine used to be a lifeguard at one of our local public pools. He said it was astounding how many parents would drive up, dump their kids at the pool, then drive off not to be seen again for hours. Some of these children were young, like 6 or younger. Most of the time the parents expected the older ones to mind them (of course the older ones didn’t), but he was shocked at the number of young kids without older siblings who were dumped off.

      Last year we went to an indoor pool at a local hotel. There was a young girl, maybe 7 or 8, who went to the lounge area for a towel. The woman behind the counter asked the girl for her room number. The little girl didn’t know. The woman then asked where her mom was. “She’s in the hotel room, sleeping. She’ll be down later,” the little girl said. Unbelievable.

    • WoW

      And that’s how little kids, like Madeleine McCann get kidnapped and never seen again, because they have lazy parents who think they don’t have to watch them

    • ElleJai

      I hope the police got extremely stern with that mother. Fancy trying to do you for kidnapping! Ugh, the human race some days makes me ashamed.

    • Wow

      I would have punched that b!tch in the face

    • VĂ©ronique Houde

      BRAVO!!!

    • Kay_Sue

      I’d like to claim credit for it, but it was really just the sheer and utter shock of what had come out of her mouth. Our district manager really couldn’t stop laughing when he read it though. I started with, “I’m sorry sir, but…” and he was like, “No, I’m a parent of a four and a two year old, and I’ve been in this business for 25 years–I get it. I am going to frame this one though…”

    • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Maria Guido

      I used to work in a restaurant and couldn’t believe some of the things that went on! I think parents honestly do expect you to kind of keep an eye on their kids. It’s weird.

    • Bebe

      Yep. Retail puts a whole new spin on the concept of “parenthood”. Lets see…there was the horrible woman who used to bring her toddler son into the beauty supply store I managed and proceed to ignore him while yakking loudly on her cell phone the entire time she shopped. He used to routinely destroy things like carefully stacked pyramids of merchandise…finally, one day, I caught him in the act of lifting a bottle of hair BLEACH to his little mouth about to chew on the cap. I ran over and took it away from him, I was not mean, I was concerned about bleach consumption being bad for the average child…but Super Mom was so horrified that I would presume to correct the behavior of her precious little angel that she called my boss and complained about my “attitude”. Luckily they never came back.

      Then there was the horrible woman who used to bring her child into the bookstore where I worked and leave him strapped, screaming, in his stroller for literally hours while she sat in the floor and read paranormal romance books. He would beg to be taken to the bathroom, she’d ignore him, he’d pee his pants and the stroller and the floor, she’d leave the puddle, we’d have to clean it up. Finally, my manager told her that if she didn’t start taking the child to the bathroom instead of letting him pee all over the floor, she wasn’t welcome in the store anymore. They never came back, so I guess listening to the kid when he said he needed to pee was too much like parenting for her tastes.

      I could go on, but I think you get it..

    • Kay_Sue

      Dear lord, between all of you responding to this post, you have definitely steeled my reserve to stay the fuck out of retail even though I’m going back to work (and even though I loved it most days). I’m having flashbacks.

    • Alexandra

      I’ve worked in restaurants and every time I think “oh it would be nice to have some extra money maybe I”ll go back to waitressing a couple times a week” I hit myself over the head with a hammer because it’s less painful. :)

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

      There was a small shop I was a near-fixture at. There was one semi-regular custy who would bring his daughters in — the older one was there to buy more trading cards, fine. The younger daughter has an unspecified developmental delay, and is in diapers.

      Every time, without fail — EVERY TIME — Daughter 2′s diaper would need a change while they were there. And EVERY SINGLE TIME, the restroom ended up completely trashed. Poop everywhere. Everywhere

      Now, I get that it’s difficult to change a diaper on an older non-cooperatve child, for a number of reasons, but… really? I’m sure it can be done without making it look like a shit-bomb just went off! And if you do make a mess, have the decency to ask for cleaning supplies, and clean up after yourself! It’s not that difficult!

  • Tess

    I agree, if I can keep my six sons sitting down and not disturbing people, why can’t she?

  • Rachel Sea

    I work special events bars, and it makes me completely insane when kids goes under the curtains, or tent wall, and wander into the back bar area. We’re dashing around hauling kegs, 50lb bags of ice, knives – we could actually kill a kid if we lost control of those. And yet their stupid hippie or hipster parents invariably give us a ration of shit when we evict the kids, and tell them to stay out.

    • keelhaulrose

      My husband works in an auto shop, and he said you’d be shocked at how many people leave their kids in the car or let them run around the shop area. They’re letting them play around a million things that could kill them, and they don’t understand why the mechanics tell them they need to watch their kids or leave. Some parents even try to go shopping in the attached mall, leaving their kids in the and expecting the mechanic to babysit.

    • Rachel Sea

      At $25-$100 per hour, that’d be one expensive daycare.

    • keelhaulrose

      But a steal when it comes with free installation of your new alternator!

    • Kay_Sue

      WTF? How do you even expect to get your car serviced in those circumstances? Those are crazy people.

    • keelhaulrose

      He and his co workers have taken to checking through windows as they walk through the lot because a couple times idiotic parents would leave sleeping kids in the car in the parking lot, once when there was a three hour wait for service. If the mechanics weren’t paying attention… *shudder*
      People are stupid when they bring their cars in for service. Pets are common, too (including a 12 foot snake). As are illegal drugs.

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

      The snake was probably loving it, though — they love warm.

    • cabecb

      I stopped going to dinner with my cousin and his fiancee because they allowed their son to run all over the place. It was embarrassing especially since I hate it when people allow their kids to run wild. I didn’t want to be associated with what I thought was rude behavior.

  • reblit

    What all parents need to understand is this: No one thinks your kid is as cute/entertaining/adorable as you do.

    • VĂ©ronique Houde

      well, except for my kid. Everyone thinks my kid is special ;).

    • brebay

      She’s GIFTED!

  • JLH1986

    Agree to all this. And don’t most parents teach kids not to talk to strangers? This kid walks straight up to one? I know mom was right there but I remember “no strangers” meant no strangers unless my mother said “Jen say Hi!”

  • rrlo

    In this particular situation, would it have been okay if a) the kid was
    not wandering around and b) the mother made a quick apology and brought
    him back to her table? Because I could also see my son making a quick
    escape while I was distracted – like picking up something off the floor
    or wiping up a spill.

    And I ask this with NO SARCASM.

    What’s acceptable behaviour from a toddler? It is unreasonable, in my opinion, to expect no interaction from a toddler – as many toddlers are very friendly people (and are frequently engaged at the grocery store and other places especially by old ladies.).

    My assumption is also that saying hello to someone should be okay. I say hello to people all the time (smile/nod etc).

    • Kelly

      Yes, that would be totally acceptable. What you describe is good parenting. Saying hello to someone once is also fine.

      The problem is when it becomes the hello game and the parent just ignores it, probably because they don’t feel like playing the hello game so they impose it on a stranger.

    • Amanda Rene Slinger

      Oh I love when other peoples kids say hi to me and my 3 month old. I will even give kids and curious adults a peek at him if the car seat flap is closed and he’s sleeping if they ask to see the baby, but my kid is a heavy sleeper.

      I would say the interaction you describe is totally adorable and normal for a toddler, maybe someone having a bad day might be annoyed but for the most part I think most people appreciate a friendly hello, but I’m also from the Midwest and most of from this area are friendly as a general rule.

    • rrlo

      I am Canadian. And although I live in a big city – it’s common-place to be friendly – probably very similar to the mid-west (I am told).

    • Sara

      Just don’t get upset if someone doesn’t respond right away. I have Chronic Bitch Face that sometimes takes a minute to unstick itself. Just keep that in mind!

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      Or doesn’t respond at all. As an antisocial person who nonetheless has no patience for cooking, it’s my usual policy to ignore everyone who’s not waitstaff and, therefore, deserving of all the nice I can muster in a given day. But small children in particular have these high-pitched voices that can be hell on people with sound sensitivities and other sensory processing issues, so I generally try to encourage kids to redirect their attention to someone with no such problems by not engaging in the first place.

    • keelhaulrose

      Saying hi is totally acceptable, but the onus shouldn’t be on others to entertain your child. Hi is one thing, the hi game is another.

    • Rachel Sea

      As long as people can tell that you are being reasonably attentive, I don’t think there is anything to complain about. The problem is the parents who let their kids roam businesses as though they were playgrounds, and expect everyone to drop what they are doing in order to fully engage and entertain their kid.

    • Psych Student

      I think what I would like from parents is the understanding that I may not have it in me to be nice to your child. I won’t bitch at your child if you don’t bitch at me for not engaging with the child. Not to say that you in particular would do that, but it’s just for parenting in general. I will try to engage pleasantly with small children (my uterus is quivering constantly now-a-days, so that helps), but there is the occasional day when I can’t talk to anyone, regardless of age.

    • rrlo

      I totally get that.

      I won’t lie, it might make me a little sad if I see my bright eyed kid saying hello or wave to a stranger and the stranger not say anything. But that really is my problem…stranger is no obligation to engage.

      I do expect everyone to treat me and my child with normal, civilized society courtesy. Like if my two year old bumps into someone in a crowded subway – I don’t expect the bumpee to call him stupid etc.

    • Psych Student

      Very well said! If a child bumps into me, I respond the same way I would if an adult bumped into me – I apologize and make sure their alright. Because that’s just what I do. But I think that even if someone is in a terrible mood they should forgive being bumped into. It happens. Be an adult and don’t get all pissy just because someone ran into you.

    • Alexandra

      This is exactly what parents are for! Toddlers do not know what acceptable behavior is, honestly, the parents should take the cues from the place they’re in – some places are just more kid-friendly than others.
      Honestly, I’d be worried about my kid getting hurt more than bothering other people, but since I’ve worked in restaurants I know how dangerous they could be ESPECIALLY hot soup/coffee/knives situations.

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

      Dude, I barely have the spoons to get my shit done — forget keeping a small child occupied!

  • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

    In my city there are four kid & baby cafes where if you don’t bring your little one it’s weird. They have toys and craft stations and parents can sit down with a coffee and let their child explore and do whatever. No one minds this one bit because only parents with children in tow frequent these places; it’s the catered-to clientele.

    There needs to be more of these spots everywhere, where parents can take their kids if they want to relax out with a coffee without worrying about being a dink. But of course, this mom doesn’t sound as if she was terribly worried about being a dink in the first place.

    • Rachel Sea

      They exist where the population supports them, but they are no substitute for parents and children having appropriate manners in non-child-centric spaces.

      My family owned coffee houses when I was young, and my sister and I worked at them from 5 years old and up. We often played there when not working, but quiet, adult-friendly games, that didn’t involve any mess. Part of growing up is learning situationally appropriate behavior, so parents might as well start when their kids are little. It’s tedious to teach a 3 year old to sit still, but doing so means they’ll be good at it when they’re an awkward 11 year old who can’t fall back on cuteness as a substitute for good behavior.

    • pixie

      Spending a ton of time with my grandmother when I was growing up and having my parents treat me like a person and not something to be oogled at when I was a child really helped with my behaviour and learning how to act around adults at a young age. I know all children are different, but my parents didn’t baby-talk to me or encourage childish things, so I could sit still and quiet at a restaurant from a really young age. Plus it helped that I usually had a small sketchpad and pencil with me if I got bored. There would have been no way for me to try to use “cuteness” to get out of something (not that I wasn’t a cute kid if I do say so myself lol).

    • A-nony-mous

      One mom-and-child type cafe just recently popped up in the city and their profit must be through the roof, it’s *constantly* jam packed. It’s a very cute little place and they have simple items for kids and funny things like a kids tea where you get a little teapot and teacups but it’s apple or orange juice in it (since most kids don’t like tea). It definitely keeps the kids out of the more adult places like Starbucks.

  • Lawdy lawdy lawdy

    I teach preschool (4-5 year olds) in a small town and there’s a woman who is NOTORIOUS for being oblivious. Drives me nuts, no matter how nice she is.
    My coworker was at a town activities thing one day and saw the woman and her family there. They were having a drunk driving test course where you would put on drunk goggles and drive a golf cart or something on a track. The woman’s kids were running around in it, playing, and she didn’t realize or care that she was literally putting her kids in front of drunk drivers. The cops had to come over and explicitly tell her that they weren’t allowed to do that.

  • Sara

    I had a mother let her child run into the handicap bathroom as I was walking into it and then got pissed off when I wouldn’t just let her take it. Pro-tip if a woman starts screaming at you that you have no right to the handicap bathroom and you a handicap/disability card, pull that bad boy out and see her her face turn white. It feels good!

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

      See, that’s when I want to take my chair and smack people over the head.

    • Sara

      People harassing me about the severity of my handicap is fucking great. I’m eighteen with an invisible illness so I don’t look “sick” enough to most people. The fun thing is this little old lady put her hands on the woman’s shoulder, looked her dead in the eye and told her, “Ma’am, please stop being such a twat-waffle.” And then walked out to presumably fly back to Heaven.

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

      I love badass little old ladies.

    • Sara

      They make life so much more tolerable!

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

      I think they’re so effective because they’re, you know, little old ladies, and nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.

    • Sara

      Yes! And if you see a little old lady dressing someone down then you think “I bet they deserved it!” But if you see an eighteen year old doing it you jump to “Ill-mannered hooligan!” So little old ladies are great!

  • AlexMMR

    Ok, I gotta ask this of all you commenters because I’m new to having mobile toddlers and I really don’t want to be “that” mom.

    The other night, my husband and I took our 19 month old twins out to a chinese restaurant. Usually the girls are perfect little angels, never doing anything more than clacking their plates on the table when they’ve finished eating, but this time one of them decides to get whiny and threatens a meltdown. I pick her up and take her to the lobby to look at the water fountain and she gets squirmy and decides she wants to roam free. Can’t go outside, it’s dark and a dangerous parking lot. Not seeing much choice, I pretty much let her, toddled right behind her, and did my best to steer her away from people (the restaurant wasn’t very full) or server stations. It wasn’t possible to keep her completely away from other diners, but she only got close enough for people to smile at her and remark how cute she was without her being able to actually touch anybody or linger in their presence.

    So yeah, I spent a solid 15 minutes wandering around the restaurant behind my roaming toddler. Am I “that” mom? What are we supposed to do in that situation?

    • Sara

      To me as a childless person what you did is completely fine. If you let your child run wild and harass other people then that’s a problem! But you supervised your kiddo and that’s good

    • Kay_Sue

      There’s a difference between letting your kid run wild and you supervising them while they have a “moment”. Toddlers have moments. They have more fucking moments than any diva, let’s be real. But you showed consideration to other folks by trying to steer her away when possible.

      Half of my issue with it is absolutely the safety of the kid, the staff and everyone around them. A kid that is unsupervised is below the normal field of vision, and a tripping hazard–over and above the fact that they could slip, fall, bump their heads, touch something hot…in a store, they can knock things over on themselves or somewhere else, they can get their fingers caught in things, they can break things…if you are right with her, you are mitigating all of those potential outcomes. Totally not the same thing as what Maria (or any of us in the comments) are talking about.

      I do, however, really want to give you a hug, because we’ve mostly all been there (I have) and it would be nice to have the bloody meal in piece, wouldn’t it?

    • AlexMMR

      That’s why I never take the girls to a restaurant by myself. As much as I’d love to have dinner ala Denny’s when my husband works late, there’s just no way I can keep two toddlers happy long enough not to bother other people. Fortunately, my extended family does a weekly Sunday brunch so the girls have lots of aunts and uncles to entertain them while I eat!

    • Ana

      My daughter is the same age and I’ve had to do the same. Usually people are polite and smile and/or talk to her, while giving me that “been there” look. I never let her touch them or their things, and I don’t expect them to entertain her. Letting kids explore a little with supervision is better than letting them have a meltdown or ignoring them. At least you are there to steer her away if the people look aggravated or the situation gets dangerous.

    • ChillMama

      I’ve been there too! Our little one is usually really good, but the other day when we were finishing up our meal she decided she could NOT sit still any more. So I let her walk, with me literally holding her shirt (or hand, if she would let me) while my hubby finished and paid the bill. She’s at the age where she likes to wave and say “hi” to people, so hopefully no one was bothered. I apologized to the servers, and I didn’t let her try and engage/play with anyone, I swear!

    • Psych Student

      Saying “hi” and then moving on is adorable. I’m at the point in my life that something like that will make me smile ear to ear. It’s if a kid hangs around and won’t stop talking to me that problems happen (I have the same negative reaction to adults who won’t move on, so it’s not an age thing, it’s a I don’t really like other people thing (yeah, I’m going to make an *awesome* therapist *shakes head*)).

    • break_time

      High five, toddler twins buddy. I have a boy & girl who are almost 19 months, and we have done the same thing on occasion. We are always careful to choose restaurants that are mostly empty, and it helps that our city has a large population of elderly residents who like cute, happy kids. We also hover over them like a dense fog, :) Needless to say, we dont go out often.

    • Mel

      That’s a tough one, to be sure. I’ve been the patron whose dinner was distracted and irritated by the mom chasing her toddler around a cafe/restaurant. It was annoying, yes, but I wouldn’t say it was ruinous of the experience. I think when you’re between a rock and a tantrum, you have few choices. Ideally, you’d finish speedily and be on your way for everyone’s sake, but I very much appreciate your efforts to keep the kiddo(s) from really causing a disturbance.

    • Blueathena623

      I am that mom whenever we go out to eat (very, very rarely, because I don’t want to become *that* mom). Like yours, my kiddo is very social. I think the key is trying to steer them away from patrons as much as possible (which sometimes is almost impossible), make sure there is NO touching, and trying to keep my face and words really neutral to try and convey a sense of “I am not encouraging him and I don’t expect you (other patrons) to respond in any way.”

    • pixie

      That wouldn’t bother me at all. If the parent is with the toddler while it roams around I either assume they’re on their way to or from the bathroom, or the parent is avoiding a meltdown. I might not have kids, but I do know that sometimes even well-behaved toddlers can get a little fussy. I would rather a parent walk their small child around than hear ear-peircing screeching from a bored/tired 2 year old.

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      Yep. Anything reasonable that nips the shrieking in the bud is all right by me.

    • Psych Student

      You are wonderful! What I picture is a mom who is taking her darling baby (shut up uterus, it’s not time yet!) around while keeping close track of her to make sure she isn’t disturbing anyone or getting into anything. It sounds like you did a great job and did exactly what you needed to do in a way that allowed your toddler to be a toddler while still being a parent to her. I can picture the cute little girl go toddling along and it is adorable!!! (shut up you stupid uterus!)

  • Snazzy7

    For all of you sanctimonious, my child blah blah blah would never and as a mother I would never blah blah blah: STFU! Maybe the mom at the coffee shop is a single mom who needs time off and uses the coffee shop for a place to de-stress. So her kid looked at you and said hi. Big deal you miserable b_tch. Get over yourself and write your crappy blog at home with your own kids. Be thankful you’ve got someone to dump your monsters off on instead of ranting about a mom in the coffee shop. Why are women so f__king nasty to one another? Why?

    • VĂ©ronique Houde

      Seems like the one being nasty here is You, Meg. ;) No matter your issues, if you need time off, it’s not by going to a public place full of hot liquids and burning appliances and letting your kid run around free-range and do whatever he likes that you’re going to accomplish that without looking like a gigantic, common-senseless idiot.

    • Snazzy7

      Blah blah blah. Go alphabetize your soup cans and pin things on Pinterest. You Americans are way too uptight. A child walked behind a coffee counter and said hi to someone. Get the pitch forks and kill the mother. Whose watching your kids while you type your perfect parenting views on mommy boards?

    • VĂ©ronique Houde

      HAHAHAHAHA I’m not even American!!!! Nice try though… ;) And actually, I’m at work, which requires me to wait for the phone to ring in order to help teenagers who are in need of help. No guilty feelings for entertaining myself in the meantime on a parenting board ;).

    • Snazzy7

      See my above response. I’ve worked hotlines too. It doesn’t make me a better person who is more qualified to judge mums in coffee shops. Stop tooting your own horn.

    • sri

      Ok, I’m pretty sure you’re just a terrible troll, but just in case you’re really just dense: She never claimed to be better because she works on a helpline. She only said she works on a helpline to explain why she isn’t currently working or watching her kids.

      I’ll come right out and say it, though. IDGAF if a mom just “wants some downtime” after their double shift or if they’re texting the codes to stop nukes from launching all around the world. Nothing, nothing, gives a mother the right to just let her kids wander in dangerous places, like behind the counter at a coffee shop. If it were just the hi game? Maybe I would cut her a little bit of slack. It’s annoying, but a lot of people are annoying. However, she is putting her child, the coffee shop workers, and possibly customers (because kids are germy and like to touch things) at risk because she can’t be bothered to pay attention. If you can’t be bothered to make sure your kid doesn’t get cut or burned, take them home where they at least won’t hurt anyone else in the process.

    • VĂ©ronique Houde

      Thanks sri :)

    • Snazzy7

      You and your self righteous band of banshees win. I’m converted. Let’s find that mum and break her fingers for texting. And then let’s beat her with sticks for letting her kid step behind a coffee counter. This feels so great. This has made me a better person. This has made us all better people. We’ve managed to mummy bash and puff ourselves up at the same time. I feel so complete now. Squeeeeeee!

    • sri

      Oh, but you didn’t even call me a stroppy cow! How am I supposed to feel bad about not wanting to see a kid get hurt because their mother is too self obsessed to protect them if you don’t call me a stroppy cow?

    • VĂ©ronique Houde

      If it helps, I’ll call you a stroppy cow.

    • CMJ

      Do you want one of mine? I think I got called stroppy at least 3 times.

    • Sara

      Can we trade them like Pokemon cards?

    • Snazzy7

      If the moo fits.

    • Sara

      Wait, so I’m just a cow? Lovely!

    • Snazzy7

      No you’re definitely a stroppy cantankerous cow. I sincerely apologize for the lapse in bovine analogy etiquette.

    • Sara

      I would much rather be a cantankerous cow than a smelly old troll :p

    • snazzy7

      I’m assuming a person is deemed a troll if they have a different opinion than the mums who claim to own these boards. So by that definition then yes I’m a troll. I shall now go back under my lovely bridge and leave you all to your cyber ego stroking. La.

    • keelhaulrose

      Did you change names for the third time?

    • http://www.benwhoski.com/ Benwhoski

      Yes. It’s the “having a different opinion” that gets you labeled a troll, rather than the immediate launching into name-calling you did with your first comment.

    • Sri

      Or the insistence that we want to flog the mom for texting, despite most of us saying that the texting isn’t really that big of a deal, just a little annoying. Or the claim that working hard and being a single mom (which I can’t fathom how hard it must be, to be fair) means that you aren’t responsible for keeping your child safe.

      I mean, that’s what trolling is. It’s taking a completely silly point of view to try to rile people up. If Snazzy honestly thinks that people should be ok with kids playing in unsafe conditions just because the parent is a single parent, and they aren’t just trying to stir up a rash of shit, I weep for the future.

    • aliceblue

      As with most who assume you got it wrong. Trolls combine a mix of willful ignorance and actual stupidity with their unpopular opinions. Often they add needless profanity and/or make baseless and illogical claims.

    • Mel

      Fear not, no one would ever accuse you of following any standard of etiquette.

    • Susan Denim

      Well, done: It’s only the 7th of January & you’ve already qualified for “Tedious Internet C*nt of the year, 2014″. Congratulations.

    • sri

      I’ll own it and wear it with pride. I just dealt with 100 12 year-olds acting like they had never been in a school before because 2 weeks is forever to a tween. I AM ill-tempered, angry, and cantankerous right now.

    • CMJ

      Middle School/Junior High teachers are national heroes in my eyes.

      You own that shit, you stroppy cow, you.

    • aliceblue

      My mother taught everything from 3rd grade to H.S. Her favorite was H.S. but she even like the 3-6 over the middle group. She claimed that Jr. High kids were nothing but vocal cords and hormones.

    • VĂ©ronique Houde

      cantankerous… nice one

    • Gangle

      Where on earth do you come from that ‘blah blah blah’ is considered a valid rebuttal? I am NOT from America, and where I come from a child that wonders behind a coffee counter and is not pulled up by their parents is swiftly escorted back to their parents by staff, and the parents informed of the workplace health and safety rules that stipulate children and patrons do not have access to those dangerous work areas.

    • Psych Student

      Where is this lovely place you live and is there any available room for a couple more people?

    • Gangle

      Australia. I can’t vouch for EVERY cafĂ© and restaurant.. but all the ones I’ve worked had this policy. It wasn’t ever to be bossy or mean to patrons, but to keep both them and the workers safe. You are most welcome to crash at my house if you make me a cup of tea and a snack. I really wish someone would bring me a cup of tea and a snack.

    • candyvines

      HA HA HA HA

    • Kay_Sue

      Yeah…if you and your child are out in public, you aren’t getting “time off”. When your kid is awake and in contact with others, and you are the only caregiver there, you are parenting. Period. It’s kind of the way parenting works. Are you okay if the kid wanders up to some stranger while Mom is destressing and winds up on a milk carton also? It’s as much about the safety of our kids (as well as that of the establishment’s staff and other patrons) as it is about the convenience of everyone else.

    • Snazzy7

      Blah blah blah. More sanctimonious noise. I’m off to the cafe now for an espresso. If I see children being children I will be sure to smile and encourage their curiosity and joy of life instead of being a miserable self glorifying cow. I’ll also smile at their mum. Who knows what common curtesy might elicit. Now back to your mummy bashing. Blah blah blah. You’re just noise. Cheers!

    • CMJ

      Blah blah blah. What if you see a kid get a hot espresso poured on them because their mom wasn’t watching them? You do realize it’s kind of a safety thing, right? It’s also not a stranger’s responsibility to watch someone else’s kid.

      Blah blah blah.

    • Snazzy7

      Stop living in what ifs. You want to dog that mum out to make yourself seem better. You’re not a better mum. Your kids aren’t better than hers so stop with the what if hot espresso fear angle. The writer of this blog was in a stroppy mood with nothing better to complain about. Get over it. Move on.

    • VĂ©ronique Houde

      says the person who started her first message with a what if ;). maybe you’re not tooting your own horn but you sure are being a nasty bitch ;) not sure what is better in all honesty.

    • Snazzy7

      I might be a nasty bitch but at least I’m not a self righteous one. ;) and for the mum who felt the need to type never in all caps. Calm down. Your parenting isn’t better than that mums it’s just different. I’m sure you’ve done something in your role of a mum that people on this board would shred you for. Doesn’t make them right. Doesn’t make you wrong. It makes you a mum trying your very best.

    • Mel

      Stop making assumptions about everyone. You’re clearly a rude bitch who doesn’t know anything. And I would argue there is a very clear division of right and wrong here. Right is parenting your child and not letting it pester everyone in the room and wrong is letting your child run amok in a business, especially one that presents a clear danger.

    • Sara

      But you just did the what if thing in your earlier comment. And besides people can get pissy and rant. That’s what you keep on doing.

    • CMJ

      I would NEVER allow my child to wander behind the counter at a coffee shop. It’s rude and dangerous.

    • ChillMama

      I would agree if the “what if” in question had very little probability. But in situations where bad outcomes are all too likely (i.e. a child running behind a counter and under servers’ feet while that server works with extremely hot beverages), I think it is a fair consideration.

    • Mel

      You started the whole “what ifs” thing by assuming that the mom is on her own and her life is hard. (Yes, I just pulled the “she started it”!) Please take your own advice and MOVE ON.

    • pineapplegrasss

      What if the mom got off her ass and said ‘you don’t work here, you cant go back there…oh look a highchair, with a strap!’

    • EmmaFromÉire

      And you’re just our entertainment.

    • VĂ©ronique Houde

      In all honesty, don’t we all love it when a bitch-face sanctimommy comes on our forum? It’s total entertainment – it happens so little. All I’m missing is my bowl of popcorn.

    • CMJ

      You know I do!!!

    • Kay_Sue

      It does keep things interesting.

    • http://www.benwhoski.com/ Benwhoski

      Also, many of us learned the word “stroppy” today, so that’s kind of great.

    • keelhaulrose

      And maybe I’m a single mother who managed to get a babysitter for an hour or two so I could get out of the house for the first time in three months. Why should I be required to entertain your kid? Better yet, why should the worker who is there to serve all guests, have to worry about dumping hot coffee on your special snowflakes head because you won’t watch them?
      I don’t get many trips out of the house alone. When I do I don’t mind saying hi to someone else’s kid, but I’ll be damned if I spend my couple hours away from my kids taking care of someone else’s.
      Get the fuck over yourself. You don’t know what the person in the coffee shop is doing, but unless they brought a kid in I’m sure they didn’t expect to be entertaining a child.
      If you want to sit and not do your job as a parent take your kid somewhere where they can entertain themselves, and don’t rely on others to do your job.

    • Snazzy7

      Blah blah blah. You’re judging that mum. In the great scope of things that mum texting while her child walked around a coffee shop didn’t end the world. Who knows what that mum was texting about. Get over yourselves. You’re not a better mum than her. You’re just different. Remember your nasty attitude the next time your out with your kids and one of them does something kids do and someone gives you the fisheye look of being a bad mum.

    • http://www.benwhoski.com/ Benwhoski

      You’re right. I’m totally judging that mom. I’m judging her as being rude and inconsiderate for knowingly allowing her child to wander into employee-only areas and bother other patrons. It’s irresponsible behavior.

    • Snazzy7

      Blah blah blah. More static from the I’m a perfect parent brigade.

    • http://www.benwhoski.com/ Benwhoski

      Damn straight. My imaginary children would never bother anyone.

    • Kay_Sue

      Imaginary children are the best children. Although, if you play the hi game with them in public, people do look at you weird.

    • http://www.benwhoski.com/ Benwhoski

      Even worse, sometimes people say “hi” back, totally interrupting my conversation with my invisible kids. RUDE!

    • aliceblue

      But it does tend to get you your own seat on the bus.:)

    • keelhaulrose

      I’m sure she would have said “oops, my bad” if there was scalding milk dropped on the kids head, or if he followed someone out.
      If someone expects me to babysit their kid in a coffee shop I’m buying the kid a double espresso and walking out. Have fun, lady!
      My kids are my responsibility, and that ends only when someone voluntarily takes over. You can’t force it anyone, and it’s fucking rude to expect everyone around you to tolerate your kid because you don’t feel like coralling him.

    • VĂ©ronique Houde

      Add some chocolate covered coffee beans on the side ;)

    • whiteroses

      This. I have a cousin who’s deaf. Her deafness isn’t obvious (she reads lips, speaks and signs, and if you didn’t know her you wouldn’t recognize it right away), and we were once out together when we were approached by a mom and her toddler. Little Sneuflakye tried to play the hello game with my cousin, and the mom reamed my cousin out for a few minutes (“You’re such a rude bitch”) because my cousin didn’t respond.

      My cousin signed and asked me to translate. This is what she said- verbatim. “I’m deaf. I can read your lips, and I would say hello to your daughter, but I would probably scare her. Sorry you’re mad, but it’s not my job to entertain her.” Then she spoke, “It’s a lot ruder to call someone a bitch than it is to not say hello.”

      You should see how quickly that mombie backpedaled. It was a thing of beauty. My point? If you want to be offended, you’ll find a way. And you don’t know what’s going on in someone else’s life. It’s never to early to teach your kids decent behavior- if you wouldn’t expect it out of an adult in public, don’t encourage it from your kids.

    • AlexMMR

      Had that child played the Hi game with someone who would walk out with him and hurt him, or if that toddler had been burned so badly by scalding coffee behind the counter, the world for that mother and child would have ended. Just because it didn’t happen this time doesn’t make her smart, just lucky.

    • CrazyLogic

      Maybe we are, judging something. Her behavior. Maybe bad behavior deserves to be judged. Letting your kid go behind the counter and risk getting injured deserves to be judged. Letting your kid talk to a stranger that might kidnap them deserves to be judged.

      I have a right to judge a persons behavior however the hell I want to, thank you very much.

    • Sara

      Just because you’re a single mom that doesn’t mean you or your kids get to be inconsiderate to other people.

    • Snazzy7

      Yes it does. I’ve the dearest friend in the world with two fabulously loud annoyingly beautiful children in the world. She gets a pass because she works her arse off each and everyday to provide for them and if she wants to sit in a cafe and allow her children to explore while she sends a text then I say do it! She’s earned 5 minutes off. I’m not going to judge.

    • Sara

      That is such complete and utter bullshit. Just because her life is a little bit harder her kids don’t have to behave and she doesn’t have to parent? By that logic as someone who will have a double knee/hip replacement and probably have my finger, shoulder, and spine worked on then I can demand that everyone bow to my needs and carry me everywhere and just hand me everything I need and nobody can judge me. Oh wait, Life doesn’t work that way.

    • Snazzy7

      No it doesn’t. But wouldn’t it be a bit better if we did stop judging so much?

    • Sara

      I”‘me not judging this woman. I’m just asking that she correct her child and help it learn to behave in public.

    • Snazzy7

      You are judging. You judged that her allowing her kid to walk around a coffee shop and say hi is wrong and she therefore needs to correct her child. Ta.

    • Sara

      Not what I said at all. I’m not judging her. I want her to pay attention to her kid. Saying hi is fine. Running around behind the counter is not ok. I’m not calling to woman a horrible mom or anything, but maybe tell your kid to stay in your bubble is all.

    • Gangle

      Letting a child wander around unattended in a coffee shop and talking to complete strangers (strangers who you know nothing about – they could be perverts for all you know) IS wrong. This woman needs to correct her child.

    • Sara

      And honestly if the kid is running around all over the place and I tripped over it chances are I would hurt it because I am probably bigger than said child. So I’m going to be hurt, the kid’s going to be hurt, I’m going to feel guilty, and chances are I’m going to be pissed when I pick myself off the ground because someone wasn’t paying attention to their kid.

    • keelhaulrose

      You’re making the assumption that she has it worse than anyone else in that shop, and they owe her that consideration.
      You’re judging everyone else in that shop for not wanting to deal with the kid. What right do you have to judge them for that?

    • Allyson_et_al

      Are you utterly lacking the ability to recognize irony? You have done nothing here but judge and name-call.

    • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Maria Guido

      Ha. It’s pretty amazing, isn’t it?

    • CMJ

      Question – if I work my ass off everyday to provide for myself and my family do I have a right to ignore said exploring child??

    • Snazzy7

      Only if you’re a stroppy cow.

    • VĂ©ronique Houde

      stroppy. I love that word. Here’s challenge for us: each one of us should try and use the word at least once in one comment this week.

    • keelhaulrose

      So I can be an entitled brat and ignore my kids if I work hard?
      I’m a caretaker for my grandmother. That entitles running her home (shopping and all that), getting her out of bed, changing her diaper, and showering her. I also run my home, which includes my family, my parents (and their various medical ailments) and my brother. So I’m essentially running three homes, plus wiping my 80 year old grandmother’s ass, all while dealing with a probably autistic 2 year old and a rambunctious 5 year old. How much ignoring my kids time does that earn?
      (J/k, if I need a few minutes to myself I get someone else watching the kids. If I can’t I’ll take them somewhere like the park where they can entertain themselves and I can get some rest if I just keep an eye on them. I don’t feel like the world owes my a favor because I’ve got a lot on my plate.)

    • Psych Student

      Wowsa, I hope that you’ve looked into services to assist you. I know you know this and don’t have any spare time, but make sure you take care of yourself. As you know, you can’t do much to help others if you are so fried you can’t hardly function. I wish you the best of luck and am sending you my happy thoughts!

    • keelhaulrose

      Yes, we’re actually just between caretakers for my grandmother for right now. She’s not very easy to work with, especially since her condition, caused by an accident, was so surprising she’s still having a hard time dealing with it six years later. We think she rejects caretakers for two reasons, one because she’s still rejecting that she’s not independent anymore, and two because she gets to see her family every day when she doesn’t have a full-time caretaker. I don’t mind doing the shopping for everyone, and I don’t mind seeing her, but I have enough on my plate I’m putting my foot down on the caretaker and giving her a deadline. I have therapist visits for my 2 year old, and I can’t keep devoting every morning to her. I told her I’m going out of town to visit my in-laws at the end of the month, gave her several phone numbers, and told her she best have someone by then.
      Thanks for the concern, by the way!

    • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Maria Guido

      Oh my god – that is SO much to deal with. I’m sorry xo

    • AlexMMR

      There are coffee shops designed for that very thing. Toddler play coffee shops. If she wants 5 minutes to herself, take her kids there where they have activities and safe places to roam. The one closest to me costs a whole dollar per child.

    • Ana

      Then how about you offer to watch the kids for a little while and let everyone else have some peace?

    • Emptynesterthankgod

      Snazzy7 are you fucking kidding? I hope so. There is never a reason or excuse to be inconsiderate to other people. Did you actually read the article? The problem the writer had was not that the mother was texting in a coffee shop. It was that her texting made her oblivious to her child wandering around, getting in the way, going into a dangerous area and being annoying to someone who was not there to entertain this child. Hot water could have spilled on the child causing severe burns, someone could trip over him causing harm to both the child and the adult. This is not ok. Part of being a parent is to actually parent your children whether you are a single parent, a low income family or have a chef and a nanny. You teach them that they can’t always do what they want, they have to behave in public and not be a nuisance. It is not ok for a child to bother other people. I’ll be a stroppy cow for you, I’ve raised two children, I don’t want or need to entertain yours. And I’ll get all judgmental for you as well, if you can’t parent your children than I think you’re a bad parent.

    • Gangle

      You know what? I work my arse off everyday to provide for my husband, my dog and myself. We both work our butts off to get ahead and stay ahead. Our time off is precious, and we don’t deserve to have to spend that time off watching out for and entertaining the children of inconsiderate parents who choose to relinquish the responsibility of taking care of their own children.

    • whiteroses

      And the dozens of other parents in that public space also deserve 5 minutes away from screaming kids. I give my son everything I’ve got. Asking me to parent some random’s children because they can’t be arsed to actually parent themselves? No. Try again.

    • SarahJesness

      Here’s the thing about being a parent: until the kids are older, and unless someone voluntarily decides to watch them, you don’t get to stop being a parent whenever you want, even for a short amount of time. It’s not just a matter of kids bothering people, it’s a matter of safety. What if a parent drops a kid off at a pool with no supervision and the kid nearly drowns? What if a kid running around in a restaurant or coffee shop runs in front of a waitress, causing her to trip and spill scalding hot food or drink on the kid? What if an unsupervised kid goes outside and runs in front of and behind moving cars?

      There’s “taking a break” and then there’s downright being negligent. Having a hard day doesn’t mean you should expect or try to force strangers to watch your kids.

    • pineapplegrasss

      Or take the kid to McDonalds? They serve coffee and have a playplace

    • CMJ

      You sound kind of nasty.

    • Snazzy7

      I only sound nasty to stroppy perfect mums who bash a mum for texting at a coffee shop.

    • CMJ

      Sigh. No one is bashing her for texting at a coffee shop. We are all saying it’s ridiculous, rude, and dangerous to allow your child to wander around a coffee shop unsupervised.

      http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_luhyslsPV01r317bvo1_400.gif

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      I know, wtf, it’s not like it’s a family friendly place like a bar, sheesh

    • EmmaFromÉire

      No, you sound nasty because you’re a miserable cunt with nothing better to do than troll a forum…

    • Kelly

      Hey, it’s cool. You go ahead and ignore your kids and leave them at my table in the coffee shop while you get your break.

      I’ll just go ahead and teach them lots of fun new words and phrases that you can deal with explaining later. :)

    • Psych Student

      If that kid doesn’t leave knowing “penis”, “vagina”, and “********” (insert naughty word of your choosing here), then you really aren’t doing your job.

    • meteor_echo

      I’d teach the kid some song by Garfunkel and Oates.

    • LiteBrite

      Oh man. That right there would make me shelter my kid. :)

    • Gangle

      It is really unfortunate that some parents don’t get time off. But this does not absolve them from parenting. It is not the baristas, the waitresses, or the other patrons responsibility to care for and entertain this mothers children. None of them are being paid, nor are qualified, to watch her children. And if Maria should just ‘write her crappy blog at home’, then this inconsiderate mother can just ‘text her crappy text messages at home’ too.

    • aliceblue

      Hit a bit close to home did it? Guess we can list you in the “oblivomom” category.
      Regarding your butthurt rant, sorry, but just because a mother might need “time off” does not justify her expecting others to entertain (and protect) her sprog, particularly if those others are the waitstaff.

    • meteor_echo

      Lady, I’m childfree. I’m obviously not coming to any family-friendly cafes, because those cater to kids. But, if I come to a coffee shop or a restaurant and your frackin’ kid decides that I’m a nice target to harass, believe me, I’m going to be a venom-stuffed cunt towards its parents. Teach your little Mowgli some basic manners before you take it out to any public place, or buy a coffee machine and drink your stuff at home.

    • Jayess

      At least Mowgli had very nice jungle manners. “We be of one blood, you and I.” How polite!

    • Allyson_et_al

      You call the author a “miserable b_tch” while bemoaning the fact that “women [are] so f__king nasty to one another”? Wow. Hypocrisy much?

    • http://www.benwhoski.com/ Benwhoski

      Also, is it me, or is it just really hard to take someone seriously who censors their own swearing? Like, why even bother swearing if you’re going to to censor it, and why bother censoring it if you’re doing it in a way where it’s still obvious what you’re saying?

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      srsly, what the fuck?

    • Alexandra

      fuckin-A :)

    • A-nony-mous

      It has nothing to do with the gender of the parent. I would be equally annoyed with the behaviour if the child was with Dad. And just because you also possess a vagina doesn’t mean I have an obligation to support you and the way you behave.

      I’m also a single mother and I would never allow my child to act like this. It has nothing to do with your relationship status. It’s common sense and common courtesy. Teach your child to behave and respect public places, respect property that is not theirs and respect personal boundaries.

      Whatever happened to “stranger danger” as well? Coffee shops, retail stores and playgrounds are not immune to dangerous people. People have been shot, stabbed and maimed to death in many fast food places and other restaurants by patrons. Hundreds of kids have been abducted from playgrounds. And do I even need to say James “Jamie” Bulger or Adam Walsh to discuss retail kidnapping even while the parent was “right there”?

    • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Maria Guido

      I do write my crappy blog at home with my kids, actually. I work full time and I am also their primary caregiver.

  • Justme

    My husband and I went out for his 40th birthday dinner last weekend. It was 8:00 on a Saturday night at a trendy restaurant in the “cool” part of town. Lots of adults and lots of drinks. And a four-year-old who was screaming, “I want my daddy!” And her mother kept saying, “when you stop screaming, I’ll take you to daddy.” Around and around these two went. My husband and I were fuming. We didn’t get a baby-sitter and get dressed up to listen to your kid scream at an upscale restaurant at 8:00 at night.

    I know this post will get lost among the comments, but I just had to vent about parents being idiots.

    • Blueathena623

      I saw it. The husband and I rarely go out to eat with the kiddo because he is so squirmy and excited and not that interested in food, so we just take turns switching off and walking him around.
      Soooo when Hubble and I finally got to go to a really nice place sans bebe, there was a big crowd with several kids and babies, and they were all going wild. Thank god by the time we got our appetizers they were gone.

    • Guest

      This happened to me a week after my ex came back from being in Afghanistan. We went out to a really, really nice restaurant around 8:00 to celebrate our anniversary/birthdays/all holidays we missed while he was deployed and had to deal with a screaming toddler and parents who kept taking flash pictures of him in a dimly lit restaurant for most of the meal.

    • PrairieCoast

      This kind of thing doesn’t bug my husband and I at all. We’re always like, “Sweet! Not our kid! Isn’t it great to be out without our kid?”. Somehow other people’s screaming children make us appreciate our child-free time even more. :-)

    • Justme

      6:00 at the neighborhood chain restaurant? Not a problem. 8:00 at a hipster, locally-grown, gourmet, no kids menu restaurant? Not the best parenting choice.

      I teach middle school and my mantra is “set them up for success,” which means I outline my material, instruction and classroom management in a way that allows the students to be naturally successful. Parenting is the same way – taking your child to a fancy dinner at 8:00 at night is not setting them up for success – it is inciting a disaster.

    • Spiderpigmom

      Hah! I feel the same. If my kid was trying to pull this off, my stress level would go through the roof, but other people’s kid? Not my child, not my responsibility, not my problem. If anything, I take comfort in witnessing other kids’ antic and in realizing some are waaay worse behaved than mine.

  • ChickenKira

    When I was a teenager I had a weekend job at an ice cream shop (for any Australians, Wendy’s, completely different from the American Wendy’s, we just do ice cream, hot dogs and icy drinks, but mostly ice cream).
    Like most Wendys stores the one I worked at was located in a shopping centre food court, we had a little door to get into the store that was magnetised, but any child could commando-crawl under it pretty easily.
    During one of our busier periods of the day a child must have crawled under and no one realised until my boss stood on his hand and he screamed. The mother was hysterical, yelling that we should have known that her toddler was crawling around under our feet because she realised, so how could we have not?
    Gee, I don’t know, because we were busy serving the queue of customers in the loud food court and not looking for toddlers on the floor behind the counter where they don’t belong?

  • Robert

    The Childs are really very innocent but http://bit.ly/1dKXDbm

  • Krysta Dey

    I think the only thing worse than a child-free encounter with oblivious Mom, is an outing with her. It’s so hard to explain to your children why they must sit at a table and act like the well behaved children they USUALLY are, while she lets hers run amok, which encourages your children to do the same. UGH. The poor kiddos don’t understand why Billy & Sue are allowed to “have fun”, but they aren’t.

    • A-nony-mous

      A very close friend of mine is like this. I love her to death but I only see her a couple times a year because of this. I remember being at a very crowded event with her and her older child got upset because he couldn’t have some sweets right *now* and bolted a good 60+ feet away. It may not sound like that far but when you’re crammed into an outdoor field with 2000+ people you can lose sight within 3-5 feet. I had an eye on him but she was all “Whatever, give him his space.”

      Older child has a couple of mental issues, but there comes a point when you’re coddling the disease/mental issue at the expense of safety. I understand that traditional methods may not work so well but you can’t “give space” when your child is almost just a tiny blip on the other side of a very crowded field.

      Later we tried to eat at a cafe and her son was having his umpteenth meltdown over…pretty much everything and instead of dealing with it she was at the counter chatting to the cashier and basically going through item-by-item of *everything* on the menu and whether it was gluten free or not, for herself. And her way of dealing with anyone who even casts a glance in her direction? Screaming at them and yelling that they “Don’t know anything” about this particular mental issue and that it’s not nice to stare. *sigh*

    • Maria T.

      When I met my now-husband, his son was about 4 1/2. He has since been diagnosed with ADHD but even still I was shocked at how he would behave in restaurants. He’d run all over the place and just be rude and obnoxious (zero table manners, would eat with his hands, never closed his mouth when chewing, would throw food and napkins on the floor and leave it there) and my husband wouldn’t bat an eye. He would also take him swimming and say “Oh, there’s a lifeguard here, I don’t have to get in the water with him.” And the kid didn’t even know how to swim! As you can imagine, all that has changed!

      We now have 2 more sons under the age of 3 who have far better manners than their older brother did. And my stepson still struggles with manners, but understands that my expectations are far different than his mother’s. My husband thinks I “nitpick” but goes along with my instructions to use silverware and a napkin (and he’s almost 9!!!)… I feel badly for the poor kid – it’s not his fault and he is getting judged for his parents’ laziness.

  • whiteroses

    Personally, a chance for me to be out on my own is pretty rare. I’m an introvert (according to the Meyers-Briggs, I’m an INFP), and as the mother of an extremely active 18 month old who would live in my pockets if he could, I don’t get a lot of personal space. My alone time is at a premium.

    When I’m out on my own, I find myself ignoring other people’s kids. I give everything I’ve got to my son, and the entire reason I’m out on my own is to recharge. I want a few hours of being an adult, being antisocial if I want, and not having to censor my conversations beyond polite behavior. If I don’t know your kid, I don’t feel any obligation or desire to entertain them. They are not my responsibility. If they’re in immediate danger, I will certainly step in. But just because I am a mother does not mean that I am part of your village. I will treat your children with the courtesy and respect they are due, but I’m not pulling balloon animals out of my purse to entertain them because you can’t be bothered.

    I don’t expect other people to parent my son when we’re out in public. It’s beyond me why other people would expect me to parent their kids.

    • Simone

      I like you very, very much :)

  • Kathleen

    Hmm, maybe the difference between you and (the other) oblivious mom is that you have a free place to dump your kids?

    • http://www.benwhoski.com/ Benwhoski

      That still doesn’t excuse the mother letting the kid run around the establishment unsupervised. Is it unfortunate if she doesn’t get a break from her kid? Sure. That does not absolve her of her responsibility as the parent.

      And as one who has worked in customer service for a good long while, I know all too well how quickly many of these “oblivious” parents will switch to threatening litigation if the establishment “allows” their child to be injured while they were unsupervised.

    • Kathleen

      Of course this sort of thing is annoying! But you know what is more annoying?! That we live in a culture where the workers and/or other customers can’t simply ask the woman directly to control the kid and resolve an irritating situation. Instead, someone gets paid to write a stupid blog about it and get people all riled up judging one another!

    • candyvines

      You’re right, most people react really well when told how to parent.

    • Mel

      Interesting that you are mad about judging and in turn are judging the writer and all of the commenters here…. Maybe if it upsets you so you should move on to something else?

      I’m just taking your advice and making suggestions to you even thought it will surely not be you your liking and we don’t know each other.

    • whiteroses

      Speaking as someone who worked in the service industry- I can tell you that the type of people who allow their kids to run free range around public spaces are not the type of people who’d respond well to that. They’re either oblivious or they just don’t care- so why would a polite request make a difference?

    • Mel

      Or the difference is the expectation of common decency? You don’t know that the other mom couldn’t “dump” her kids, you just want to judge b/c you’re probably the type of mom who commits this same offense.

    • Gangle

      Doesn’t really matter. Doesn’t give anyone the excuse to allow their offspring to annoy other patrons or bother people trying to do their job. I used to work in a cafĂ©, and any kids that decided wondering behind the counter was a good idea were swiftly escorted back to their parents. The parents would then be informed that children are not allowed behind any of the counters/bar areas for workplace health and safety reasons. I love kids, but having them wonder around annoying strangers who are not being paid to care for them is both inconsiderate and irresponsible.

    • CMJ

      What does that have to do with actually watching your kids and not letting them run around a coffee shop unsupervised?

    • keelhaulrose

      It doesn’t matter.
      If you can’t find a place to “dump” your kids that makes them still your responsibility. You’re not absolved of duty because you could use a five minute break to drink your cappuccino and text. Your job to make sure your child is safe and not bothering anyone. It’s not their job to parent your child, they have their own responsibilities (which may include writing a stupid blog) or they might want to relax, and they, as paying customers, have the right enjoy the coffee shop as well.
      If you don’t want to watch your child in public keep them at home, or go somewhere like a play coffee shop where they can run around and mom can sit and text.

    • SarahJesness

      This. I’m told that parenting is tough and I have no reason to believe that it isn’t. But unless you have someone who will voluntarily watch them for you, it’s not a job that you can stop doing whenever you want to, even for short periods of time. You can’t expect or try to force strangers to watch your kid. In addition to being unfair to the strangers, it’s also not safe for the kid. What makes you think you can trust the people around you to make sure the kid doesn’t wander off or get hurt? Someone who is working might not be able to watch the kid even if s/he wants to. Some people aren’t going to give a shit. Some people aren’t comfortable with kids and won’t know what to do.

  • Lindsay

    At the LA zoo in November, I watched a four-ish-year-old named Smiles run barefoot through the zoo. His mom chatted with a friend about fifty feet away at all times. When Smiles met the bird cage area, he climbed the metal fencing outside the gate, yelling “I WANT TO KEEP IT!.” His mom kept chatting and did nothing until he reached the top of the fence and went to climb over (the birds were caged in, he couldn’t have gotten in the cage, but that fence was a good four feet up, with a concrete floor below), when I told him that he needed to get down and that it wasn’t safe. As a rule I don’t get involved with other peoples’ kids, but it was possibly offend his mother or keep him from cracking his skull open.
    His mom came to get him, thanked me, and then brought him next to the gorilla enclosure to do barefoot push-ups to calm down.

    • pixie

      Smiles? Was that seriously his name? And barefoot? I mean, I’ve walked barefoot in places where I probably shouldn’t have (home from the bar at night when I can no longer walk in my heels without maiming myself horribly), but letting your kid walk barefoot at a zoo? Some people. *shakes head*

    • AP

      Boston’s Franklin Park Zoo’s gorilla enclosure is famous for being insecure. Twice the male gorilla has jumped the moat and the glass barricade, escaped, and mauled someone.

      The last time I was there, there was a line of children pounding on the glass and screaming at the gorilla to get his attention. The litigation re: the earlier maulings was still headline news at the time. I was childless and in my 20s, and I moved on past that exhibit quickly because the children were provoking the poor gorilla so badly. I wanted no part of that.

    • keelhaulrose

      We saw a couple teenagers taunting a rhinoceros last time we were at the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago. The outdoor enclosure is a large, flat area surrounded by a moat of sorts. My dad actually asked a nearby zookeeper if rhinoceros could jump when this one charged across the enclosure towards the teens, who screamed and ran off.
      Zookeeper’s response: “I’d have a mess to clean up just now if they could”.

    • A-nony-mous

      I feel so bad for zoo animals because of this. EVERY single youtube video of kids in these “viewing areas” is the same. 20+ kids screaming, shrieking and crying their heads off while pounding/poking/smushing at the glass and the poor animals that have to deal with it. Doesn’t matter if it’s a lion, tiger, gorilla, penguin or polar bear exhibit or an underwater aquarium.

      If we can’t even handle 2 minutes of conversation with a child I can only imagine the poor wild animals who basically have to deal with this for 12+ hours a day, sometimes 7 days a week. Yeah, they can move to other areas of the exhibit they can probably still hear it. Especially aquariums since sound travels through water so much better.

      I get that kids are curious and want to ask questions but…yeesh. I always tried to teach my child to have empathy for the animals and not to touch the glass, let alone pound on it or taunt and shriek at the inhabitants within.

    • Armchair Observer

      Same here. My father is an elephant trainer and the stories I’ve heard…Sometimes, though, the animals actually encourage/seek the crazy: At one zoo he worked for, the gorillas would throw their feces at the enclosure glass wall when there were groups of women to make the women scream. The gorillas got a serious thrill out of that. Boys will be boys? Oy.

    • SarahJesness

      I wish I had a little more guts, I really hate it when kids behave poorly at zoos. Took me like, two minutes to get up the courage to tell a kid not to poke the tiny monkeys with a stick and he just rolled his eyes. And his mom was standing right there…

  • brebay

    My “private space bubble” is not part of your free range kid’s range. I don’t know why people think that just because you have your own kids means you suddenly love all children, to the exclusion of everything else in the world. Guaranteed she thought you were a selfish, childless woman who hates all children and doesn’t get it.

  • MoD

    A few months ago, my husband, son, and I went out to dinner. My son, then about six months old, sat in a high chair and proceeded to creepily stare at the couple seated at the next table. And he stared at them for the entire meal. Even when we turned his high chair so he was completely facing away from them – he contorted himself so he could stare some more. He wouldn’t be distracted by toys or us talking to him. He just wanted to stare at this couple. I gave up and let him stare. He wasn’t crying or fussing, just staring. I think the couple was amused for about the first minute, and then seemed annoyed. They gave us a few “would you do something about this” looks. I gave up and just let him sit all contorted in his chair, staring at them.

    • CrazyLogic

      You mean like this?

      O_O

    • MoD

      Yup! Haha.

    • CrazyLogic

      Now you are encouraging me.

      O_O

    • http://www.benwhoski.com/ Benwhoski

      I’m not sure why, but this story (especially coupled with the comment below) made me giggle madly.

      And certainly different from the scenario in the article. Not only did you do your due diligence to try to stop him from staring, you certainly didn’t take him over and plop him down at their table so he could get a closer look :)

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      Not gonna lie, I’d have probably asked the waitperson if I could move somewhere away from the continuous observation. Then again, I also freak out at cars behind me if they’ve been stalking me (that is to say, following me for longer than two blocks).

    • http://www.benwhoski.com/ Benwhoski

      I thought I was the only person who got all paranoid about cars following mine!

  • SarahJesness

    I wish we had a society where it was more socially acceptable to publicly and openly call out bad parents. If nothing else, I want to be able to say something to the kids who harass zoo animals.

  • CrazyLogic

    There is a STFU parents post from a long time back where a parent was talking about how awesome her kid was for running behind the starbucks counter and laughing his head off.

    I need to find it and link it…

  • DanielCraigForevah

    I got stuck at a family dinner with Oblivious Mom AND Dad while their spawn ran in circles around the (very nice) restaurant, interrupted several people’s meals, and were finally ushered back to the table by a manager after repeatedly flicking the lights on and off in a private room. People were glaring at us, and it was so embarrassing. What were Oblivious Mom and Dad doing? This was before everyone had a cell phone glued to their hand 24/7, so they were making out in front of everyone, of course!

    • Kay_Sue

      Well, golly gee, if they don’t make out in front of everyone, how ever will they make more children to be oblivious to?? ;)

    • DanielCraigForevah

      And they did make more…sigh…

  • http://a1usalimo.com/ A1USALIMO

    I think parents should be more responsible. And if you aren’t you should have thought about that prior to having kids or prior to going out with your kids.

    http://www.a1usalimo.com

  • mama2rnj

    I put myself through college working in a restaurant. One day a young girl was running around the restaurant, while her parents completely ignored her. I was standing at a table, serving bowls of hot soup, when the girl came flying around the corner and crashed into me. I managed to move quickly enough that the soup only splashed onto me, but the tray caused a cut under her eye that required stitches. Her parents were yelling at my manager that I “ran over their daughter”. My customers stood up for me, even congratulating me for preventing the girl from being badly burned. My manager agreed I wasn’t at fault, but still offered to pay the girl’s medical bills. I never forgot that incident, and my kids were taught early on that restaurants are not playgrounds.

  • notLindaBurke

    You did the right thing. You left the scene. Had you been held captive in the coffee shop by the 2yr old and the woman who accompanied him, I’d be more sympathetic.

  • mewmew34

    I will always hate the parents who ignore their child’s bad behavior, or even worse encourage it. I used to work at a grocery store and sometimes I just really wanted to smack people. One time I watched a girl break a few candy bars, and when I finally said “Please don’t do that” the mother got upset that I dared say something to her child. Another time a woman was letting her child run wild, climbing in and out of shopping carts in the cart room, until I finally went and told them to stop. She got pissed and complained to a manager, but thankfully he was a pretty cool guy and told me not to worry about it. He’d dealt with the woman earlier and knew she was obnoxious.

    Another time when I wasn’t on register, I heard a child screaming bloody murder. It really sounded like this child was being brutally murdered right there in the store. Suddenly a shopping cart comes around the corner, pushed by a parent with two children inside. The little girl shrieking her head off like she was being stabbed. Suddenly the other parent comes around the corner and gives the little girl a mini bag of chips to quiet her down. Yeah, way to reward the kid for being a little demon. Encourager her to shriek even more in the future by giving her food.

    Then there were all the kids who would run around and push the conveyor belt buttons at the registers. We were a “bag your own” store, so all the registers had two belts with buttons to bring your items to you. Kids always wanted to “push the button!” to help out, sometimes leading them to walk up to a complete stranger’s stuff and just hold the button down, crushing groceries without a care.

    Yeah, needless to say I don’t like kids in public too much. -_-

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