Becoming a parent is a difficult choice, one not to be made lightly. It’s specific to each individual and what they want for their lives. Do they want to experience life with a mini-version of themselves or do they want to experience it without going down that road? There’s no bad choice here. And yet, there’s more judgement about the matter from both sides of the procreation line and personally, I don’t get it. Take this comedian’s tweet about a toddler slapping her feet which recently spurred a total war on Twitter. Everyone’s bashing everyone else’s choices, but seriously, like…why?
Jen Kirkman is comedian and author of a book called I Can Barely Take Care Of Myself: Tales From A Happy Life Without Kids (so you know she doesn’t have kids—which is totally cool and a life I sometimes still envy!) Anyway, Kirkman was out having coffee and a toddler crawler under her table and slapped her feet. Annoying sure, but who here hasn’t been annoyed before? Here, just, read the tweet:
Trying to have a quick coffee at a place. But someone keeps slapped my feet. I don't know this child. His mother is doing nothing. pic.twitter.com/YT9DVI4Lql
— JEN KIRKMAN (@JenKirkman) June 24, 2017
If you’re a mom, you’re probably just shrugging and moving along because no one’s got time for that. But whatever, Kirkman decided to post a photo of her personal struggle on Twitter. I think she was just bitching as well all do at times when we’re annoyed on Twitter, probably didn’t even expect a reaction. Totally fine. But…she’s got a ton of followers so it didn’t get ignored like most tweets. One parent replied with a totally reasonable response:
Mom should be doing something, but I think you can gently lead kid out from under and say “Excuse me, but you are in my space.”
— Sarah Orsborn (@erniebufflo) June 24, 2017
And another made a similar suggestions:
This is my dance space. This is your dance space. I don't go into yours, you don't go into mine.
It makes sense. If a toddler were doing that to me (be it my own or another), that’s what I would do. But maybe that’s just the sort of knowledge that comes with being around kids a lot. Anyway, just ASK THE KID TO STOP. If they don’t, then consult the parent, or, I dunno, switch seats. You can’t control everyone. Otherwise everyone smoking a cigarette would leave my vicinity whenever I walked down a sidewalk so I don’t slowly get closer to lung cancer (which in my opinion is much worse than getting your feet slapped by tiny hands for a few minutes). But they don’t, cause that’s life. We’re all stuck on this planet together.
Anyway, some of Kirkman’s followers were not about it, suggesting that the comedian had a lot of “restraint” for not stepping or harming the child in some way (like seriously GTFO with that, people):
Yeah, she CAN do that.
But why should she? Telling a child no when he's being rude isn't wrong.
Now, if she had drop-kicked him…
— Vanessa Brown (@heynessie) June 24, 2017
Right? I can't believe I read an article discussing this. Jen showed great restraint in not stepping on those lil fingers.
— Kathleen Conway (@KathleenEConway) June 24, 2017
— matt (@shotime40) June 24, 2017
Then some folks talked about how THEIR kid NEVER does things like that (because seriously? Your kid never tested boundaries? I call shenanigans):
I feel your pain. I can't stand when parents don't control their kids in public. Mine know better. Manners are KEY!
— Shaylene Morgan (@ShayleneMorgan) June 25, 2017
My kids were never allowed to act that way! It's called being a Parent!
— Wendy Sides (@wndcsides) June 24, 2017
Followed by the equally judge-y police that mistakenly believe that all parents are super-humans that should be able to only keep their eyes on their kids and do nothing else to ever even slightly bother or inconvenience them because they chose not to have kids:
And there's the whole issue. Watch your own dang kids. Don't have them. Don't want them. That's the parents' job.
— am (@angeverse) June 24, 2017
Parents should tend to their young.
— MeShell (@mdgee) June 24, 2017
News flash: Parents are tired, busy people just like anyone else. We’re not perfect. Yes, we chose to have kids, yes. But that doesn’t mean we have to keep kids wrapped in a sack away from all child-free people. If you don’t want to be around kids, stay in child-free spaces like…your home? Or bars? Or smokey pool halls? I don’t know.
Actually, wait, yes, I do know. People need to just get over their shit. We’re all inconvenienced. It happens. It sucks. I wouldn’t appreciate it if a kid was slapping my feet either, but I’d deal with it because that’s what people do. Maybe the mom really didn’t care or react after she saw her kid was doing that (which, hey, not cool). Or maybe she was sleep deprived because she just had surgery and has been in pain for days, or her sister just died and she’s grieving and her mind is elsewhere and she just happened to go out for a coffee for the first time, or maybe she was answering an important page because she’s a doctor on-call and happened to be with her kid for the day, or maybe it wasn’t even her kid? Whatever.
Point is, can parents and non-parents just learn to get along already? Just like child-free folks say they don’t think about kids ever or care what parents do (at least apparently until it inconveniences them in some way), parents also don’t spend their days thinking about child-free people and omg how dare they not have kids?! No, really. We don’t care (because no energy for such things). So let’s just all be on our merry way sans so much judgement, yeah?
(Image: Twitter / @JenKirkman)