These days, if you read the internet at all, you learn that kids are basically not allowed anywhere unless you, the parent, agree to tie them to your side and hover about them at all times, while they remain still and quiet, and are only in public between the hours of 9 am and 6 pm, because anything earlier/later than that is just bad parenting.
We’re also supposed to stop being helicopter parents and let them enjoy freedoms and the simple pleasures of life as we wax poetically about how in OUR day, we stayed out playing until the streetlights came on.
People, we can’t have it both ways.
The Great Movie Incident of 2016 has really brought this to light for me, with the amount of people saying “Well, if the boy couldn’t sit still in the movie, he shouldn’t have been there.” At a children’s movie. For children. Ooooookay? One person even commented during the Facebook live chat I had with the reporter on this “Children shouldn’t be at movies!”
Um. So why make children’s movies then?
Another blessed soul stated that people with “issues” shouldn’t be out in public at all. Which means that, with my matching baggage of issues, I myself can’t leave the house. Forget taking my child with her issues out.
And then, these master parenters, the keyboard quarterbacks, will say “You need to teach your child how to behave in public.”
Well…I hate to burst your bubble there, but that requires going out in public.
“Only take her out in a good mood.”
Well, that would then also require me being psychic. Because I’d have to predict that she might go from being cheery to melting in a puddle because I am trying to explain that the “Frozen” themed clothes are too small for her, so no, we can’t buy them. An argument she understands 95% of the time.
“Well, you need to-”
Stop telling me what I need to do to make your world a more comfortable place. Guess what? I’m not in charge of your happiness. I’m not put on this earth to keep you from feeling uncomfortable. I’m not the sole cause of your day being good. All I can promise is that I won’t go out of my way to be an ass to anyone, and hope people treat me the same. I can’t promise my daughter will behave perfectly on every outing, because she is a fully formed human being with her own sets of likes, dislikes, and free will. I don’t control her. As her parent, it is my job to guide her, teach her, help her learn her way through this world. But I don’t control her.
I can control myself. You can control yourself. I will teach my daughter how to behave in different situations, explaining how to be quietly excited, or when she needs to be seated. What I don’t need is someone who doesn’t know us, isn’t helping us, telling me how I should do these things. You don’t see how I have mentally prepped for every possible scenario, checked the exits, watch for her cues of doneness, the many times I’ve stated “Okay, she’s done, meet us at the car.” and I’ve left the rest of my family behind to finish enjoying the outing while I take Maura to the car to chill. You have zero clue the effort we both put into each outing.
“Well, you should only take her to places designed for her.”
That is ableist talk. I’m sorry, but the world just really isn’t designed to cater to disabilities, as much as some keyboard quarterbacks think it is. It’s why all people and parents of people with disabilities are experts at creative problem solving, because we have to do it every dang day. And we have to be good with the fact that some places will never be for us. Like Costco. Costco is a sensory overload place for Maura. It makes her twitchy and cranky. So we don’t go. Crowded malls can be too much for her. Too many choices, too much going on. It’s just too much for her to be able to process. I respect it. But as there are no sensory-friendly malls or Costco out there, sometimes, we have to dive in and go and make the best of it. Because we have to. Because there is almost no place designed for her.
We spend our lives adapting to the world. Only to be told that we can’t or we shouldn’t by those who think “those kids” shouldn’t be in every day places like a children’s movie.
Well guess what?
You’re not that high on my priority list. My daughter has every right to be in public places as you do.
I can promise you, we will always be trying our best. I am more than aware of all of you out there, judging our every move. You’re not very subtle about it honestly. But while we’re learning to adapt to a world that isn’t designed for us, I ask this of you – that YOU learn to adapt to us. YOU learn to put your comfort aside for one minute and allow my child to be herself. YOU have to accept that moms like me aren’t going to hide away at home with her child. Moms like me are out there, showing our kids the world, teaching them in the trenches of life, doing our very best. We are all citizens of the world – you, me, my daughter. We all have equal rights to enjoy life. Let’s cut each other a little slack out there, okay?
And to answer the original question – Where can I take my kid?
Anywhere we damn well please.
See someone with a child having a rough time? Here’s a great way to react…