Thursday, November 03, 2005

Blame the mothers

When I go to a restaurant with my baby, I spend much of my time there stressing out about whether or not she will behave. Even if I am in a family restaurant with my child, I often feel extremely unwelcome. Not by the serving staff usually, but the other patrons will occasionally look at me and my baby like we have no right to be there. Most of the time I don't enjoy my dining experience, I'm too busy worrying about Mary, and about the other people in the restaurant. I mean, I try hard to be a good mother, but sometimes, my child gets cranky, and I'm certain it's going to get worse before it gets better. If we have ordered, our food is on the way, and my baby (or older child) gets crabby and whiney, am I required to get up and leave? Aren't family restaurants designed for families? I mean, I certainly won't be bringing Mary to The Keg for the next decade at least, but I really think that I should be able to go to a family restaurant with my family, and not feel bad if my baby cries. Certainly if, when she is older, if she gets up and tries to run around the restaurant I will deal with it, and punish her...but if she's just crabby and whiney, I don't know. I'll do what I can to hush her, but I'm not going to leave a meal that I have paid for. Anyways, that's what is on my mind today.

There seems to be a culture of "Blame the Mother" going on, and it is really starting to bother me. Being a Mum is hard work, and most of us do our best. Yes, there are bad mothers out there, I'm certainly arguing with that, but society seems to be pleased to put near impossible expectations on mothers. You need to be there for your children, but you should be working and bringing in an income too. You should breastfeed, but no one wants to see it, so don't do it in public. It's important to get out and run errands, but for heavens sake don't bring your crying baby, or crabby toddler, or whiney child out, we don't need to see that. Don't complain, you chose to do what you're doing. We can all talk about our jobs, but you cant, you're just a mother, no one wants to hear about it. Some once said to me "Boy, you talk about your baby a lot. Can't you talk about anything else?", not really. I live with her, she is my job, 24 hours a day. I don't mind it, but why is it acceptable for you to complain or talk about your day in the office, but I'm being boring and selfish when I talk about my baby.

Christ, and now on "The View" (why oh why do I watch that show?) they are comparing smokers being allowed to smoke with crying children in public. If crying children are allowed in public, why shouldn't smokers be allowed to smoke in public. Jesus murphy.

Anyways, I seem to be crabby, and I'm not sure that I have expressed myself properly here, but I guess it's my blog, and I can be as disjointed and cranky as I wish. So there.

Oh, in other news, it looks like Ethiopia and Eritrea are possibly heading back to war. Lots of movement along the border, troops in the demilitarized zone, and Eritrea has banned UN movements there as well. It does look like the rioting has calmed in Addis though, possibly because today is a national Muslim holiday called Eid al Fitr (the end of Ramadan. I can't help but worry about my pen pal, Tigray is far from the Capital, but fairly close to the border with Eritrea I think.


Anne R. Key said...

So, I take it my blog today made you cranky. That's too bad, cuz i certainly didn't intend to make any passive aggressive comments about you and Mary. In fact, last night over supper, I said to Janet, "Man, Mary is NEVER like this." This child was a total jerkoff, and the mother did utterly nothing.

There is--and always has been--a trend to blame mothers. They are mostly voiceless and powerless and cannot defend themselves when attacked. It is neither fair nor right. But some mothers--such as the one I saw last night or the one who appeared in Emmett's blog--are really incompetent. I like to blame those ones personally, rather than make blanket statements.

As for the person who was bored by your ability to talk about the baby exclusively, those are the kinds of comments you can expect from persons who have never had children themselves. For myself, I have always found that you are able to speak on lots of different subjects, like gaming and prairie politics and other stuff.

So there you have it.

Jenn said...

Well, I didn't think that you were being passive aggressive at all, Anne, I know that you like Miss Mary. Between your blog and those C U Next Tuesdays on The View, I had enough. The fact is that I am extremely self conscious about taking Mary out in public, because there is such a nasty attitude towards crying babies and rambunctious children out in public. You may not have a problem with Mary, you know her, and us...but how do I know the people at the table next to us aren't pissed off cause she keeps throwing her toys at them?

I guess it's just a raw nerve, just like religion.

Anne R. Key said...

Oh, well, religion! Christians suck and that's all there is to it.

I'm yanking your chain, obviously. Christians suck, but Anglicans RAWK!

But seriously, I've never seen Mary--or too many other kids, to be honest--act as self-indulgently as this one little shit the other night. And you and Ian are very mindful of Mary's moods and how they might impact a social situation. That's responsible parenting I can get behind.

But omigod, woman, do yourself a favour and shut The View off. Those screeching harridans give me an acute rectal pain. Screaming babies and smokers are so NOT the same issue. While both are noisome, a screaming baby will not give me lung cancer!!!

Goody said...

No matter what you do someone will find fault with it-some jerk felt the need to leave a comment about my parenting at my blog and you know what-I deleted it. Yes I did. Furthermore, I don't feel bad about it.

I really doubt that you would let Mary behave in a way that exceeded the social norms. It's the few parents that permit their children to run about like feral cats, screeching and tearing at anything they can grab hold of that give everyone else a bad image.

The View reminds me of the level of stupidity and cruelty that takes place on that I Village board...wait a minute..."Feral Mothers." That's it-excuse me, I have to go set up a parody blog.

But really, some people seem to suffer a sort of amnesia when it comes to childhood-they can't ever imagine that they weren't smiling angels every single second.