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Motherhood

Your kids (and therefore YOU) are not welcome here

Have you noticed this anti-kid movement gaining steam in recent months and weeks? Large corporations and small businesses alike are beginning to impose bans on small children, preventing parents and children alike from patronizing particular establishments. Hey, we live in a free world and capitalist society and businesses are allowed to admit whomever they please on their premises. After all, it wasn’t too long ago that local pubs hung signs reading “No dogs No Blacks/No Irish allowed” in their door ways. I grew up accustomed to racial bigotry and it’s never really bothered me – but these are KIDS!

It all started with Malaysia Airlines instituting a policy saying they would no longer allow infants and children in first class. I’m not unsympathetic to that at all. If I paid 4 grand for a one-way ticket to Dubai, I expect to travel in peace in comfort as well. But from there, it has snowballed into restaurants, hotels and even grocery stores banning children before they hit the threshold. Having been single and childless not too long ago myself, I understand the impetus – that being many children are incapable of self-control and silence and that any good business owner wants their paying customer to enjoy their shopping/recreational experience. Rowdy children certainly do little to provide a serene atmosphere; but I don’t think an all-out BAN on kids under 6 is the answer! Surely if we employ a bit of common sense there can be some sort of compromise.

Take my kids for example: all four of my lovely, loquacious children. I know my children are outdoor kids, and so I do my best to keep them precisely in that environment – outside where they can run and scream to their hearts content. I don’t take them the Ritz for dinner (can’t afford it) and I would never take them to the Fox Theater (can’t afford it) unless there was a 6 week run of Tinkerbell and the Lost Acorn, where I would expect 80% of the audience to be 10 and under. I’ve been that parent in Barnes & Noble who’s had my four year old running helter-skelter all over the book nook and as a result had steely eyes glaring at me. I have enough shame to make my purchases quickly and then leave, explaining on the way out that because of his/her unacceptable behavior we now have to leave the premises and cut our fun short. Next time, my child does better. Do you ever wonder why some 4 year olds are capable of sitting peacefully and respectfully in church or at the library? It certainly isn’t because they were born that way, but rather because they were bred that way! Social interaction with other adults is key for that child to grow into a personable and responsible adult in the future…and turning 6 does not magically make that happen.

A ban on kids does not affect me personally, because I don’t have enough discretionary income that would allow me to ferry my children to establishments in which their presence would be a distraction (like the Ritz). My behavior will largely remain unchanged. I do feel for those parents – like the Jolie-Pitt family – that want their children to accompany them to such places however. It just seems so…rejecting.  It’s like you’ve got lice or bad body odor.

“You’ve got kids? Ugh. GROSS.”

On the other hand, who’s really going to ask Angelina and her latest designer orphan to leave their table at Flame in the event of a baby meltdown?

And like those “No Dog/No Blacks Allowed” signs of old, the signs are everywhere that kids are best kept out of sight and mind; until they’re needed for something useful like fueling an advertising campaign or busy being not born at (i.e. abortion). The irony today  is that Fido stands a better chance of getting into Whole Foods than Jr. does.

But businesses be warned! This generation will remember this day when THEY are the ones with the discretionary income and YOU are trying to coax those dollars off them. Nobody likes a hypocrite.

What do you think? Is a ban justified or should we all just try to get along? We were all kids at one point after all.

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