My kids and I did a major shopping trip today that included stops at three stores. Simultaneous mothering and shopping is tiring and requires constant attention, but my kids are nice people, whose company I generally enjoy and who always try to be as helpful as they can be. My six-year-old pushed one of the shopping carts for me today and he and the four-year-old seem to be in some kind of door-holding-for mama- and-other-old-ladies competition. They’re not perfect and had to be reminded a few times to stick close to me, keep a hand on the cart, etc, but they’re kids and they’re just learning. We must have done alright because we received smiles and compliments everywhere we went.
Now after reading another article like this one, I’m wondering if some of those people were secretly wishing our grocery store had child-free hours. Apparently, those nasty, noisy, disruptive children must never be allowed to mingle with the adults, but must be herded into peer groups and confined in institutions where they will be monitored closely and from whence there is no escape. An adult’s right to a noiseless environment trumps the right of a child to be treated as a person. They have their fun and we have ours and never the twain shall meet.
They must not learn correct public behavior from eating in a restaurant or grocery shopping or corporate worship, but must learn socialization from the other children with whom they are confined. Does no one even consider that children might be lacking in manners because they never get to learn from real grown-ups in the real world?
I know that because I have children, I have less disposable income than some other folks, but I still do have a little cash and I am careful where I spend it. I don’t go to Trader Joe’s because the lay-out of the store I visited did not allow a stroller to pass through easily. And one day my children will be grown, but I will still remember – with my heart, mind, and dollars – every snub from every store, restaurant, airline and church. So nyah.