Dear Parents: A plea from the child-free.

After spending another weekend mini-vacation poolside, I realize there needs to be an explanation and a plea from child-free killjoys like me to you, the stroller pushers. I realize you’re doing more for the continuation of our species than I am–that is unless one of us (not I) is raising a murderous miscreant. Forgive me. I haven’t hardened to the annoying sounds and antics of little people. When you bring your child around me, my honest initial reaction is, “How cute!” The problem is that reaction lasts seconds, after which I am forced to find my headphones, loud music, dark glasses, and a tall cup of sedative. Your offspring has inconvenienced me, hence, I am perturbed.

You don’t expect me to discipline your children. In fact, you’d probably take offense if I tried. Much as I wouldn’t attempt to discipline someone else’s dog, I know better than to ask your child to stop yelling/running/screaming/spraying. It only responds to its master, at best. What am I to do?

“It’s a child. You can’t expect him to sit quietly and read.”
“Yes, I can. You don’t set my expectations.”
“Well, that’s silly. You’ve obviously never been around children.”
“Incorrect. I have been around plenty. Just like big people, they’re pests when they can’t amuse themselves.”
“You know, you were a child once.”
“Indeed.”
“Do you honestly think you didn’t get on anyone’s nerves.”
“No, I’m sure I did. The difference is, when I was a child and I misbehaved, I wasn’t ignored; I was punished. Thereby, I learned to sit quietly and stack alphabet blocks or have my little, hairless ass handed to me by my father, or uncle, or teacher, or whomever.”
“We don’t beat our child.”
“Obviously. Let me guess: You punish him by taking away his iPad.”

People with children should be forced to go places with other people similarly armed. They should also be forbidden from entering the space of those riding solo. Perhaps a PFA of sorts, requiring the trainer and squealing beast to stay 100 yards away.

“Who brings a child to a bar?”
“Hey, I’m not going to stop living my life just because I have a baby.”
“Nobody asked you to die (yet); I’m simply suggesting there are more appropriate places to take your infant.”
“Oh, so I’m limited to going to Chuckie Cheese because you dislike children?”
“How about a drive-thru?”
“My kid behaves.”
“Well, kudos to you for your methods of discipline. Let’s see how your magic skills are. Make yourselves disappear. Do it.”
“No.”
“If you were here on a romantic date, and I sat at the next table, acting like a spastic lunatic, how would you react?”
“I’d probably move.”
“Right. I’m tired of moving. I was here first. Now, shall I spread Cheerios in front of me, stick them to my head, throw utensils on the floor, slap the table, scream, drool, and squirm in my excrement, or will you kindly remove yourself and this two-foot-tall creep from my vicinity so I can drink away my awful day in peace?”

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Author of humorous essays about relationships and lifestyles.

Comments

  1. Sooo recognizable! I wish there actually was a (safe) way to sedate myself so I don’t need to hear those little pests every night when I try to sleep and every morning when I still try to sleep..

  2. I have a child, and this was still hilarious to me. My method of discipline does not include only taking away the ipad. I will pop her little butt if she gets out of line. As a consequence, I don’t take my kid into bars and adult places, because that is just inappropriate, and she has excellent manners. She’s six now, and guess what? Sometimes she got on my nerves crying when she was a baby (and I love her to death), so I know it grated on other people who didn’t give birth to her. I love my kid, but I sympathize with childless people who deal with baby misbehavior and ruckus. Parents should be considerate, too.

  3. Something tells me that there are many with child or without child adults out there who spread something akin to Cheerios in front of them, stick them to their heads, throw utensils on the floor, slap the table, scream, drool and yes, squirm in their own excrement after several too many of those tall sedatives. I am sure it’s the children who drove them to this childlike behavior, correct?

  4. We parents want headphones, loud music, dark glasses, and tall cup of sedative as well. We’re just (mostly) not fortunate enough to get them!

    That said, I wouldn’t take my child to a bar. Or a movie. Or any other number of child inappropriate locations.

    But a pool – probably yes.

  5. I hear you man. I wish I could say I had no idea what you’re talking about, but alas I do. It’s to the point that when I see a child who is actually behaving, I’m shocked and amazed.

    Like you, when I was a kid, my parents had me and my siblings in check. Other people would constantly tell them how well behaved we were. At the time I had no idea what they were talking about, but now I do. Oh God, do I ever…

  6. Okay so can you “childfree” peeps please STOP coming to Disneyworld and staring in horror when you see a child with the table manners that you have just described?

    1. Although I see your point, it falls on deaf ears. Children misbehave sometimes, I completely understand that, and if I was at Disneyworld and saw a child misbehaving, it wouldn’t surprise me because it’s Disneyworld after all. What bothers me is when children go absolutely apeshit (even in a place like Disneyworld) and the parents just let them do it, let them run around, scream, break things, etc without even acknowledging their existence, without even TRYING to discipline them.

        1. Unfortunately, this is the way the world is, it seems to me. Quickly childless adults judge a parent of unruly children. Regardless, a parent still has to go into the public to live. We cannot hold them in bubbles. I have two disabled children, and it’s a lot for anyone to handle. I even have a tough time, as a single Mother. However, it’s experiencing people in the world that don’t like the bad habit behaviors that help them learn how to act more appropriately. So, thanks for handling the minutes of existence you’ve endured to help make the world more intelligent.

    2. What the hell? Most of us childfree know better than to go to Disney. That’s little carbon monster haven.

      It’s when I’m at the bar and I have to deal with this kid constantly running over and smacking into me and whining at mommy that I get mad. yes, this actually happened. The kid was like six, and mommy was too occupied with finishing her wine than to actually pay attention to the little brat.

  7. At first I was mildly offended (I’m a father) but then after reading through completely I realized that people with unruly children piss me off just as much. My kids aren’t angels 100% of the time but I’ve also walked out of certain venues when their behavior has warranted it. I dislike parents that condone disruptive behavior or try to explain it away as “kids will be kids”. Yes, they will, but you have to get them to understand that there are certain standards that people have come to expect, one of which is to not have their dinner ruined by some ill-behaved heathen that doesn’t listen to their parents.

  8. Just because a child misbehaves in public, does not mean they are likevthat all the time. There are a lot more factors involved in a child’s demeanor than the parents’ chosen method of discipline. Also, if your “bar” serves food, fair game. Part of being childfree is admitting you don’t know a whole lot about kids. Wish more of you could admit that.

    1. ..and part of being a parent is admitting that you dont know everything either. Your experience is limited to your child only and its quite biased because you have an emotional attachment to your child. In my educational career I’ve taught 242 children ages 3-13, I am ESL, SPED, and ECE certified, and have a Master’s Degree in SPED. Oh yeah, and I raised my 3 younger siblings to adulthood because my parents are fucktards. So, let’s guess who has more experience raising & teaching children: you the entitled pro-natalist or me the CF educator? what does the first three letters of the word ASSumption spell? ;)

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