Childrearing

If I Wanted To Hear Children’s Screams, I Wouldn’t Have Left The House To Work In This Cafe

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I worked as a waitress for a few years, which means that I’m now both more sympathetic and less sympathetic to waitstaff. I mean, I am much more understanding of how difficult it is to manage things on a super busy night at a restaurant. And yet, I’m much less understanding of someone’s inability to bring my cocktail after three requests.

That’s how I feel about becoming a mother. I am so much more understanding of the difficulties of managing children who think the middle of church is a good time to get into a wrestling match. But I’m much less understanding of the parents who let such activity happen without any intervention.

Right now, I’m sitting in a cafe outside Washington, D.C. I came here to work and get some free head space away from the demands at home. I owe several thousand words by the end of the day. But for the last half hour, three children have been screaming at some unbelievably high-pitch and frequency in a way that pierces deep into me, prevents me from working and, yes, makes me feel slightly violent.

The two mothers who are managing these three children are chit-chatting and checking their text messages. The working folks here seem like they might be parents. The kind of people that are usually understanding of a brief meltdown. But the collective group is giving looks at the ladies who, apparently, think their children can do no wrong and someone seems like he’s about ready to go say something.

I don’t blame the children here. They’re children. No one has told them to be quiet. No one has even suggested to them that their squeals from hell are anything other than angelic. This is one of the most simple jobs of parenthood — explaining to your children that they need to be quieter and enforcing the rule as needed.

One of the girls just put a trashcan upside down on her head and ran into a window. Should I alert Child Protective Services?

2 Comments

  1. TStanton

    September 19, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    “…yes, makes me feel slightly violent.”

    Only slightly violent? When that starts at home – I have to take “do not hulk out” pills.

  2. jmcgladr

    August 9, 2013 at 9:13 am

    I guess I don’t understand why people who want to work in a quiet environment, and don’t have an office, don’t choose a library? A cafe does not come with an expectation of quiet.

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