I shouldn’t have to adhere to the guidelines set forth by people who have no idea what my life is like. ::Humph::
Ok, that sounds a little harsh, but it occurred to me today that I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to cater to the expectations of people who don’t deal with or have children. On a daily basis. That’s not really fair.
About a year ago, I was listening to NPR and the topic of discussion was the number of young families who choose to live in urban settings rather than fleeing to the suburbs. The conversation seemed a little biased to me considering it assumed people with children do not belong in the city, but whatever. I was living in DC at the time, so the topic caught my attention.
They had a SAHM of one toddler and a single working woman on the show to give their perspectives.
The woman who did not have kids listed a few pet peeves regarding young families. Her biggest complaint, which stuck with me, was that people rode the Metro (DC’s subway-like system) with enormous strollers during rush hour. She was just asking for some consideration and the SAHM agreed. She said she avoided the Metro during rush hour and used a small umbrella stroller which she always folded when riding.
I did agree at first. Maybe it’s because I’m pregnant with number two now, but, after further consideration, I’ve changed my mind a little. Neither mom took into consideration people with more than one child. It just seems unreasonable to expect one person to corral a toddler while holding/wearing a baby or managing two toddlers on a crowded subway without the help of a stroller.
In any case, I am back in the suburbs, so public transportation isn’t really an issue for me anymore. I had, however, transferred that line of thinking to my current suburban lifestyle. In an effort not to inconvenience those commuting back from work, I generally make an effort not to venture out to the grocery store (or for errands in general) during rush hour.
Ok, let’s be honest for a second. I’m not really that considerate. It’s also, usually, not worth the effort. Who wants to fight his/her way through traffic and then the enormous lines at the store with a toddler? But that’s not the point.
Today, as I made the difficult decision to the hit the road in search of sustenance at 5PM, due to a ridiculously bare fridge, I had a revelation. First of all, many parents work full-time outside of the home and can’t help bringing their kids to the store with them afterwards. Secondly, I do not work outside of the home, but I still have a very full schedule. One where I get up, feed Little Man, check/answer emails, make calls, schedule appointments and playdates, read books, teach words and manners, supervise crazy toddler maneuvers, and facilitate a nap for one or both of us.
Between morning activities, when Little Man is the most alert, attentive and has the most energy, lunch, and his afternoon nap which generally runs from 1:30PM or 2 until 3:30 or 4, there is just not enough time to run errands.
So, I’m sorry child-free people out there who don’t understand why we have to inconvenience you. We don’t have all day, like you may think, and it’s a little harder to accommodate you than you may think. We have schedules too, and unfortunately for you and us, it means we’re sometimes going to run into each other. I am sorry!
So, I’d just like to thank you in advance for your compassion and understanding when I run into you at the grocery store next week. This toddler will be happy to flash you a smile and maybe even a wave to make up for your inconvenience!