Monday, 2 November 2009

Parenting Trials - Prepare to be Judged

As promised here are my 30 week pictures - a close up of bump and shot of T&D and me during our weekend explorations.  T&D live in Holland and T tells me that home birth is very common and accepted there.  Following my research into the differing views on home birth in the US and UK, I was interested to hear of another Western country that champions home birth.  T, if you have any more information to share on this point please add a comment!

I was interested to read Kate Harding of's comments on this story about a mother who was booted off a Southwest Airlines internal US flight with her 2-year-old because he wouldn't stop shouting "Go, plane go!" and "I want Daddy!"  Looking at and beyond this specific incident, Kate both suggests that parents have a responsibility to act like adults and proactively encourage appropriate behavior from their children in public BUT that sometimes even parents' best efforts are in vain and in those instances the greater public needs to understand and accept that kids are kids who can't always be reasoned into socially "correct" behavior.

I initially read this story because Chris and my transatlantic life is going to involve frequent plane travel and I'm anticipating needing to develop a bag of tricks for soothing an infant, then toddler then child when we take to the skies.  We are aware that confined spaces at 30,000 ft and screaming children are not an ideal combination, and I'm sure we'll do our best to make our journeys smooth for our family and our fellow passengers.  From this story's headline, Southwest's actions seemed pretty harsh at first glance; but then again, I wonder how much this mother did to soothe her little screamer?....

Little children attract attention, for themselves and for their parents.  They often can't be reasoned with and don't conform to social norms so I'm prepared to become less inconspicuous as a parent than I am now (or than I was before passers by started clocking my pregnant belly).  I don't know how I'll deal with this but I expect I probably won't have time, energy or the focus to really care, but I do agree with Kate in that parents need to be adults and encourage decent behavior from their kids.  If my little one is screaming in the middle of a supermarket and I'm more concerned with what brand of oatmeal to buy than quieting her, I will probably deserve dirty looks.  In fact, I'm sure I've dished out those same looks to women who ignore their crying kids and barge through crowded train stations running over people with their weapons, aka strollers!  But on the other side of the coin, if parents are genuinely trying to soothe their tantrum-throwing mite in the corner of a restaurant, I think fellow customers should cut them some slack.

As at parent every day is going to be a journey and trial, at home and in the public eye.  Chris and I are gearing up to enter an arena where everything from vaccinations to bathing to blankets to transatlantic travel will be debated and often judged, and we're just going to have to get on with it through all this white noise.  Having said that, I do feel it's important that parents act like parents and set some boundaries for their little ones whether at home or out in public.  As long as we are trying, hopefully others will recognize that and not be too harsh in their judgements!
blog comments powered by Disqus