Ok, so I know how what I'm about to say is going to sound mean. And some of you who are parents might disagree with me wholeheartedly, but this is a pet peeve of mine and I feel like talking about it today. So here goes...
What is it with people who have kids and then all of a sudden (and for years afterward) the whole wide world is supposed to revolve around their precious little snowflake? And they just expect everyone to be as enamored of their offspring as they are, and to overlook any inconvenience they cause. I like kids, I really do, but I also have the old fashioned (and very much out of vogue) opinion that there should be some limits on how much children should be seen and heard when out in society.
I don't like having children and their behavior forced on me in certain situations.
Here's a recent example. Last week an old friend of mine and Marla's was in the area. She moved several states away a few years ago but occasionally visits her in-laws who still live in South Carolina. The three of us hadn't seen each other for two years. We made plans to meet her in a town halfway between us and her in-law's house to have lunch, and I also suggested that after we caught up at lunch we ought to go visit a museum or something, and just spend the afternoon together. Well.
She showed up with her husband and two small children.
I couldn't believe it. There was no reason whatsoever to bring them. The kids (aged 2 and 5) were rowdy, and had to be minded the whole time. There were stinky diapers to be changed (dad refused to take the toddler boy to the mens room to change him so our friend had to go) and messy finger food with ketchup ending up everywhere, and a kindergartener yelling "BUTTCRACK!" about 5 dozen times because it's her new favorite word, and a couple of mini tantrums to quiet....etc etc....you get the idea.
Not only was an adult conversation between the three of us impossible, what with the crazy kids and the husband sitting nearby, but I'm not sure our friend would have talked about anything but her kids even if she had come alone. It's like there's nothing else at all going on in her life. She's a stay at home mom, and I get that she doesn't have a job, but you'd think she would have a hobby or two outside of her children. But nope. Everything, and I do mean everything, is about them. I feel certain that she actually thought we'd want to see her kids. And while I have nothing against them, or her husband, Marla and I wanted to see her. Not her family. And we certainly didn't want to watch her struggle to keep everyone fed and clean and occupied for an hour. Because that's all the visit lasted--just long enough for lunch. We left immediately afterwards, having had enough.
I should also add that I thought it was a bit insensitive of our friend, bringing her little children and making them the center of attention when Marla just lost her baby 6 weeks ago. I'm sure it never occurred to her that it might touch a sore spot, but it should have.
Our friend is a good person, and I understand she's trying her best to be a great mom. But she's not doing her children any favors by treating them like the most special wonderful beings that ever walked the planet! And I see that same behavior everywhere--social events where kids shouldn't even be to begin with and public places where the kids are allowed to act out and disturb others. When I was the age of my friend's daughter (almost 6) I would not have expected to go to lunch with my mom and her friends to begin with, and if I had, I would have known to sit quietly and not make a spectacle of myself. By today's standards, my mom was fairly harsh with me and was quick to correct me, but I think I turned out better for it in the long run.
So, friends with kids can be a real drag. That's my Monday afternoon rant!