Get therapy not kids!

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Seen this week on Post Secret:

The real reason I do want to have kids is that if I do get divorced or my future husband dies, I won’t be lonely and I can meet new people through them.

Really? You’re creating human beings because you have a fear of being alone and a fear of not being able to meet new people without a child in tow? Oh, that’s a GRAND reason to create a person. Why not get some therapy to get over your insecurity issues instead of having children to be your crutch? If you don’t have a better reason to have kids than that, DON’T.

I might not like Dr. Phil much, but he’s right about one thing: Children should not be born with a job!!

It just horrifies me that all too often, the people having kids are the ones who are so messed up in the head that they shouldn’t be having kids.

Let me tell you something about respect

ELSE ****

I got a little ramble-y on this one, but bear with me.

I’ve been hearing a fair amount of parenting whine lately that goes like this:

You childfree people refuse to respect our choice to have babies. You people say you want respect for your choices, but you won’t automatically respect me as a parent! *foot stomp* Grow up, childfree losers!

Okay, so some of them don’t say “losers” but even when they don’t, the “losers” is implied by their tone.

Here’s the thing about respect: Just because you do something, doesn’t mean you deserve respect for doing it. If you do a shitty job, no one is going to respect that.

If someone chooses to become a brain surgeon and they become a great brain surgeon, that’s worthy of respect. If someone decides they wouldn’t be a good brain surgeon, for whatever reason, that’s something we should respect as well. Opting out of something that you know you couldn’t do well, that’s a good thing. Would you insult and belittle someone into becoming a half-assed brain surgeon? I think not.

Now if someone decides to become a brain surgeon, and does a piss-poor job of it because they don’t really want to work all that hard at it, that’s NOT worthy of respect. That’s shameful.

Of course parenting isn’t brain surgery, but it’s still a huge job that requires quite a bit of maturity, responsibility, sacrifice and planning ahead. But all too often, we see many, many parents who think they can half-ass the job of parenting, and yet demand full respect and benefits for their half-ass job. I’m not going to respect that.

Here’s what’s really upsetting. Luckily for those of us grown, if we need a brain surgeon, we get to shop around. If the first brain surgeon we meet is a complete flake and probably someone who graduated last in his class in medical school, we can high-tail it out of there and find another brain surgeon. Kids don’t have that opportunity. Kids are stuck with whatever half-assed parent they get, and that horrifies me. Absolutely horrifies me!

Okay, one can argue that CPS (Child Protective Services) can come and take the kids away if the parents are too bad, but the problem is that CPS is overwhelmed with all the shit-parents they have to investigate every day, which leaves them with too few resources to do anything except in the worst cases. And let’s just dwell on that for a second: CPS is overwhelmed. This means there are a LOT of people fucking up the job of parenting. And you know there are a lot more people who haven’t even fallen on CPS’s radar yet. Obviously, there are a lot of awful parents out there.

So don’t tell me to respect you for having kids. ANYONE can have kids. If you want respect, you need to prove you’re not half-assing the job.

Now let’s just forget about all the severe abuse and neglect cases for a while, because I don’t need to tell you how awful and irresponsible that is. Let’s just talk about the everyday lazy parents who don’t want to be bothered to do the real work involved in parenting. Crappy parenting has become the norm in this society so much so that most people just overlook all the day-to-day crappy parenting. The stuff that won’t kill the kids, but certainly isn’t good for them or helping them to become productive citizens.

Let’s at least start with some basic qualities of good parents. Good parenting requires:

 

  • Maturity
  • Responsibility
  • Sacrifice
  • Planning ahead
  • Patience
  • Financial Responsibility

 

And of course, we’re often told we’re “selfish” for not being required to change our lifestyles to adapt to a child, so let’s add one more:

 

  • Change your lifestyle

 

Which really would fall under “sacrifice” but I want to highlight this as its own issue, since it comes up so damn often.

By that measuring stick, an awful lot is expected of parents. But are most parents up to it? When you are out and about, whether you are childfree, fencesitter or parent, take these points with you and take assessment of the parents you see in life, whether they are friends, coworkers, relatives or strangers you see while out shopping. Honestly, try to be objective, but what do you see?

I’m going to tell you what I see. I see people taking their children to R rated movies at 10pm. Who can justify this? Yea, so this won’t kill the kid. It might traumatize the kid if it’s got any frightening scenes. It might likely bore the kid. It’s likely to annoy other audience goers. And why? Someone please tell me why?

I rarely go to the movie theater anymore because I think they charge way too much for way too little so that Hollywood fat-cats can live in multi-million dollar mansions. But the last time I went to the theater I went at 10pm to an R rated movie and couldn’t believe how many kids I saw. I went at 10pm convinced it was the time to go to AVOID kids. And of course, the kids were crying and fussing loudly during the movie because they were bored and tired and didn’t want to be there.

Now tell me, why should I respect those parents? What is so mature and responsible about this choice? Nothing. Where is the sacrifice, planning ahead or changing of their lifestyle? There isn’t. Where is that patience (you know, waiting for it to come out on video)? Not there! And of course, they are not being financially responsible – if you can’t afford a sitter, you certainly can’t afford the cost of the movies!

This behavior is the behavior of half-assed parents, and there is nothing worthy of respect if you’re going to half-ass the job of parenting. What they are saying, essentially, is:

“I don’t care if I have kids. I’m not changing my life. I’m doing what I want to do anyway, and so what if my kid has to be dragged along, and he’s tired, cranky, noisy and/or gets frightened by the images on the screen? So what if other people don’t like it. TOUGH BALLS. I’m gonna live my life any way I damn well please. It’s all about me! You childfree fuckers can just kill yourselves if you don’t like it.”

And we let people like this raise children? Lovely.

What’s with the people who are so busy chatting on the phone while out in public that they aren’t even watching their kids? Forget about “hang up and drive” how about “hang up and parent your kids”?! So often I see them shuffling along in the store, phone glued to their ear while they talk about nonsense gossip, and they just assume their kids are following behind them like little ducks. They are so engrossed in their conversation, they don’t even notice when the kids get in trouble!

Last week while out in public, a gal was so busy yakking on the phone she wasn’t watching as her kid was messing with the automatic doors and his hand got caught. Of course, mommies like this always think it’s the store’s fault for not making the doors safer, but why the hell aren’t these women watching their kids?

Now tell me, why should I respect parents like her? Their cell phones are more important to them than their kids! They certainly pay more attention to the phone than the kids. (I never understand these people who are always on the phone when out and about. Maybe I’m just less rude than most people, but if I’m going to talk to you on the phone, I’m going to wait until I’m home and can give you my full attention. I’m not going to expect you to entertain me while I’m doing my grocery shopping or picking up my photos at Walgreens. But that’s just me.)

What is so mature and responsible about these cell-phone addicted parents? Unless they are calling for emergency services, nothing! It’s not mature or responsible to ignore your kids! If you’re out and about, let people leave you a message, get your errands done, keep an eye on your kids, and then go home and talk on the phone all you like. Where is the sacrifice, planning ahead or changing of their lifestyle? Oh no, they couldn’t possibly miss that call – it’s IMPORTANT. It might be some good gossip!

What about all the people out in public with screaming kids? My husband has this theory that you can’t go anywhere in public without at least one screaming kid, and I laughed when he first said it, but since then, I’ve found he’s right more often than not. Sometimes we’ll move a few aisles away to avoid the screaming kid, only to run into another screaming kid. And all too often, the parents aren’t doing anything about the screaming kid. While a screaming kid is but an annoyance (and a good reason to carry your headphones and music player with you everywhere you go), it still shows a huge lack of judgment on the part of people with children. If your kid is that miserable, do something to help them! If the kid is just a brat, stop taking him out in public. If he’s tired, why are you dragging him out when you know he’s tired? Why not get a sitter? Or have the other parent or a relative watch the kid while you run your errands! There is no excuse to intentionally make your kid and other shoppers miserable just because of your bad attitude! I’ve been saying it for years, but I’ll say it again: if you think making your kid and everyone else miserable is “your right” you make a shitty parent and a shitty human being. I’m not going to respect that kind of parenting, and no one should.

Then there are the mommies who run around saying that the childfree movement in general says that “kids should never be allowed in public” and you know that’s just a lie. That’s not what we’re saying! We’re saying: Don’t take your kids to inappropriate movies late at night. Don’t take your kids to bars. Don’t take your kids out when you know they’ll be miserable and cranky. Don’t ignore your kids while you talk on the phone, and don’t ignore your kids while they scream. If you are absolutely incapable of being considerate of others in public, you’re not capable of teaching consideration to your kids, and that makes you a bad parent. I’m not going to respect bad parents!

And before you whine, “You childfree people can be jerks, too!” Fine, sometimes we can be, and you know what? It doesn’t matter. We’re not responsible for teaching the next generation how to behave. YOU ARE. So you need to behave better than us or you need to opt out of parenting. If you want to be a parent, you don’t have the right to be a jerk. That’s the choice you made.

Don’t try to claim “The Hardest Job in the World” or “Most Important Job in the World” status if you’re not willing to actually work hard and treat the job like it’s important. Maybe if you were making more responsible choices and raising well-behaved and happy kids, we’d respect you. In the meantime, don’t hold your breath.

And for those of you dipshit mommies who are going to cry, “FINE! Don’t respect my choice but I won’t respect yours, either!” First of all, that’s childish and secondly, go back and read the sixth paragraph and try and figure it out, if you can. Maybe get your mommy to explain it to you if you still don’t get it.

Lap Babies & the Agencies & Parents Who Don’t Care About their Safety

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Articles like this (NTSB: Give babies their own airline seats) annoy the hell out of me. Why? It’s not that I’m against giving babies their own seats. It’s stuff like this (emphasis mine):

The National Transportation Safety Board is urging parents to buckle baby carriers into airline seats instead of holding infants in their laps aboard planes.

Under current Federal Aviation Administration regulations, children younger than 2 can fly for free if they sit in a parent’s lap.

Not requiring. Urging. Well, every day I urge parents to stop being such jerks in public. Guess what? Urging doesn’t do jack shit. These agencies need to grow a pair and stand up to these idiots. Don’t even waste your time “urging.” It’s a god damned joke.

My emphasis again:

The NTSB and the Association of Flight Attendants have tried for years to convince the FAA and airlines to require seats for all passengers, including babies. Still, many parents prefer holding their children for free instead of buying a ticket for them.

*coughcheapskatescough*

The agency fears that parents will opt to drive to destinations rather than buying plane tickets for their babies, and FAA officials said they believe driving is more dangerous than flying.

Oh, please don’t make me laugh. I still haven’t recovered watching from the Robert Klein comedy special last night. (Please tell me you saw that! Good stuff!) These damn agencies actually want us to believe that they are “saving lives” by “encouraging” people to fly versus drive? This is all out of the goodness of their hearts? Give me a break. These people are about as genuine as BP!

So it’s all about fear of losing revenue, right? They think that parents will determine driving is cheaper than flying. Who can honestly say that driving is cheaper than flying these days, especially when we are dumping millions of gallons of finite oil resources into the ocean! I don’t want to do the math or research on costs of driving vs. flying because there are too many variables and I’m lazy, but my guess is that for shorter trips, maybe driving is cheaper. Longer trips, not so much, especially when you factor in wear-and-tear on your vehicle. If you want to go visit your mommy every year twice a year and she lives four states away (middle states, not those piddly East Coast states), that all adds up in time, gas expense and wear on the vehicle.

But more importantly though, who the hell is driving to Hawaii or Europe? Show of hands – I’m really curious! Yea, that’s what I thought. Yet you don’t see these asshats requiring children strapped into their own seats for overseas travel, now do you? If this was only about encouraging people to fly versus drive for safety reasons, then they would only offer the free lap babies on flights where one could opt to drive instead, right? That would only make sense. There is (albeit slightly) higher risk for overseas flights, so if they were concerned about safety, they’d want to keep infants safer on those flights. But they don’t.

Seriously, FAA and airlines don’t care about safety. Clearlythey don’t. They care about money. Period. Right?

At this point, this becomes a whole lot like the smoking bans debate. Now, I don’t want to know what side of that debate you are on because that argument is a dead and rotting horse corpse, but I do recall many business owners screaming that they would be put out of business if smoking was banned in their establishments. Yet later, after smoking bans had been in place for a while, business owners were reluctantly admitting that business had picked up as the non-smokers returned and smokers continued to patronize them and grudgingly smoked outside. All the hysteria was for nothing.

These days its the airlines who are playing this Chicken Little game. “If parents stop flying because they can’t afford to pay for seats for their children, we’ll go out of business!! The only people who fly at all are people with children under the age of two! Our business will be decimated!”

Calm down and stop being ridiculous. Even IF demanding children be put in their own seats actually does keep people from flying with infants, trust me, many of us will start flying again once the unofficial “ban” on babies takes effect, more than making up for the supposed lost revenue. Can you imagine a flight with no screaming infants and no toddlers racing up and down the aisles because his mommy couldn’t keep hold of him? BLISS! If anything airlines should be DIScouraging small children on planes and it would likely be GOOD for business.

Additionally, what do you think happens to all these parents who are traveling with their children-under-two-for-free after the child turns two? Do they all just stop flying for the next sixteen years? Somehow I don’t think so. But even if they did, what do they do with the loss of that revenue? Obviously they make it up somewhere, just as they would if they lost revenue from butthurt mommies with infants.

Maybe I’m missing a piece of the puzzle, but I think the airlines are being incredibly stupid about this. I’m pretty sure they could make MORE money by requiring parents pay for seats for all children. These parents today are the instant gratification crowd, and they are not about to postpone their vacation because they can’t afford to pay for a seat for Junior! They’ll find a way to pay for that seat. They’ll beg, borrow or put it on the credit card they never plan to pay off. They are not about to practice the art of delayed gratification. Nor are they likely to drive; here’s a secret: they generally don’t like their kids any more than the rest of us do! They certainly do not want to be trapped in the car with Junior for six or eight hours! If they have to suffer, then damn it, they want everyone else to suffer right along with them!!

Ultimately, I don’t think the airlines really believe they’ll lose money on this. I think they assume that the planes will fill up anyway, and if it’s not the baby in the seat, then it’ll just be someone else and they’ll still make money. And with as crowded as flights are these days, maybe that’s true. But if it is true, then if the mommy with the lap baby refuses to fly, there will certainly be someone else willing to pay for the seat she was going to use. Right? So then what is the problem?

Here’s the bottom line: Airlines worry about the PR nightmare of changing the policy. While they must know that eventually they will be forced to change the policy, like the rest of us putting off that dentist appointment because we just don’t want to deal with it, they procrastinate. They know that as soon as the policy is changed, all the idiot, unemployed mommies with nothing better to do with their lives will start harassing them for their “right” to put their children in danger in the interests of saving a few dollars. (After all, mommies need that money to buy the latest cell phone, coach bag or video game system! They shouldn’t have to deprive themselves just because they have kids, don’t you know!)

But that is what really bothers me about this whole debate. Parents who don’t really give a shit about the safety of their kids. Oh, they SAY they would die for their kids, but if turns out that protecting their children might cost them a few bucks, their resolve crumbles. “We’ll risk it,” is their attitude. Lovely. Oh, that’s great. I wonder what other shortcuts they are taking to save money at their child’s expense? If it wasn’t required by law, would they even use car seats in the car? Probably not.

The bored housewife mommies will surely argue that they’ve flown dozens of times with a child on their lap and nothing happened and that the likelihood of something happening is almost nil, so it’s completely fine of them to take the chance to save a few bucks. Strangely enough, the airlines force adults to buckle up on those same flights where the chances of something happening are slim. If it’s SO unlikely that something will happen, why does anyone need to buckle in?

If anything, consenting adults should the only ones allowed to not buckle up. You’re grown, perhaps you can brace or protect yourself, and, having weighed the risks, you’ll forgo the seat belt. Fine. But these small children should be protected – that’s in the very job description of PARENT!! For fuck’s sake: protect your kid! Babies can’t protect themselves and they can’t give informed consent!

It’s not just airplane accidents that are a danger to lap babies. Turbulence can also be an issue. A kid squirming away from mom and running around the flight could hurt themselves in any number of ways (other passengers kicking or stepping on them (accidentally! Don’t get ideas!) or the food service cart could hit them, etc) and in at least one case, a mother smothered her infant (allegedly by accident) while holding the child during a flight. Why risk it? These issues wouldn’t be a problem if children were strapped in for their own safety which should always trump the parent’s convenience. Too bad it doesn’t.

I’ve never been in a car accident yet, but I always buckle up my seat belt regardless. One could argue that you’re about a billion times more likely to get into a car accident because all the teens are too busy texting to pay attention to the road. This is true, but airline pilots are all too often busy playing on their laptops to actually fly the planes, and air traffic controllers at major airports are too busy being “weekend dads” and playing with their kids while on the jobto actually pay attention to their job, so I’m not feeling all that safe during air travel anymore, either. If you can’t trust the pilots and you can’t trust the air traffic controllers, who can you trust? It’s just dumb luck if you arrive in one piece anymore. And don’t even dare travel on a commuter flightwithout getting your will in order first.

I am pleased the article points out how terribly irresponsible it is for any parent to hold a child on their lap during flights. This IS dangerous and absolutely not in the child’s best interest. But isn’t it pathetic that as a society we literally have to force parents to do the right thing because they are too cheap and lazy to do so otherwise?