Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Kids and Babies and Mothers. In Public.

This is cross-posted on the BABS Blog, but I wanted to invite my regular readers over here to comment/discuss as well!

So there was this local cafe kerfuffle.  Maybe you heard about it, along with half the internet?  Well, I’m not going to go into detail here.  The specific events involved are fascinating from a social networking perspective, but I want to start a discussion about some broader topics.

Answer one or several questions.  Give it some thought.  Pass it along to your child-free friends – it’d be nice to hear some varied perspectives.

1. What constitutes/identifies a kid- or baby-friendly restaurant?  What does it mean to be kid-friendly?

2. What is the proper etiquette in a restaurant for parents, staff, and other diners, when there is a noisy baby or child?

3. What about in the case of happy sounds?

4. Is the responsibility of mothers, when taking their children out in public, to not allow their children  to disrupt the experience of anyone else?

5. What about fathers???   Are people more likely to step in to help a father, but sit back and criticize a mother?

6. Can you judge a parent by their child’s behavior?  If so, at what point in observing the child (how much time?) and at what age of the child (from birth?)?

7. Is there a generational lack of agreement about the appropriateness of babies and children (and various behaviors of those young people) in public?  If yes, where does that stem from?

8. Do you, as a mother, feel that too much responsibility is put on you for how your children behave, or do you feel you should be able to manage them?  Do you feel you should be embarrassed or ashamed when your child is disruptive?  Regardless of whether you think you should feel embarrassed or ashamed, do you feel embarrassed or ashamed?

9. What kinds of sacrifice are involved in motherhood?  How much sacrifice?

10. Are mothers people who deserve the respect of others in public?

11. Have you seen a mother be disrespectful in public, in regards to how she handled her children?  How should she have handled it?  Can you think of any factors, looking back, that may have contributed to her not handling it that way?  Did the type of venue influence your opinion of her?

12. Have you ever offered to help a mother who is struggling?

13. When you see a mother alone with a disruptive child, is it the mother’s sole responsibility to deal with the situation?

14. Do you think unfair snap judgements are made of mothers in public?

15. Have you, as a mother or parent, ever reached the tipping point of your child (or yourself) and wondered where things went so wrong?

16. What standards of conduct should be in place for children in public places that aren’t child-centered?  Whose responsibility is it to enforce those standards?

17. Do we feel welcome to bring our children to most restaurants and other public places in Bloomington?  Does Bloomington need child-free zones and restaurants?  Is that an unfilled niche?

(For my own part, I am really enjoying the word “kerfuffle.”)

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