Neither seen nor heard

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.


3 thoughts on “Neither seen nor heard

  1. Kari says:

    Despite having taken my girls with me nearly everywhere since they were born, which means I’ve been doing this for well more than a decade now, I admit I look forward to September when we can again do our grocery shopping in peace. : / I don’t mind the rambunctious behavior, the dancing around and singing in the aisles, or the sometimes loud and even occasional whiny kiddos. It’s the temper tantrums I can’t stand: foot stomping, red in the face, indignant, threat-making tantrums. Seriously…what exactly do those parents think they’re accomplishing other than making themselves look more ridiculous than their kids?


    But so glad there’s grace for the likes of them – and me. I’ve had those days myself. Is it something about WalMart that causes parents to morph into their worst selves?!

    Anyway…I was really shocked to encounter this kind of attitude from my in-laws when my children were born: Children should be seen and not heard. Seriously? Completely new concept to me! While my girls don’t remember those days when my my MIL and FIL thought restaurants were only for adults or grown-up-acting children and that all parties involving adults should be adult-only parties (relegating my children (their only grandchildren), and any other children, to the basement with a sitter they’d never (and we’d never met) on the rare occasions we visited for any such “to-do”), it really made me sad and more than a little frustrated. If we had lived nearby and saw them very often, I wouldn’t mind the occasional adults-only events. But when we visited only a couple of times a year, I was really taken aback that they didn’t want to spend time with their grandchildren!

    I’m very thankful my girls don’t remember and that they have a good relationship with those grandparents today. But I can’t help but think they really missed out on some great times with their grandchildren….and it makes me wonder how many good times they may have missed out on with my husband and his sister when they were children!

  2. Beth/Mom2TwoVikings says:

    I’ve thought this was more of a generational thing but, with this attitude on the uptake again, I’m concerned. While I like adult conversation and an occasional date night alone with DaHubby as much as the next person, and I also understand the value of a little kid-free quiet time once in a while, across-the-board banning of children in public places is ridiculous.

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