I Won’t Keep My Kids Out of Your Adult Spaces

mom, dad, and baby on a plane

What’s with the new trend of excluding kids from everywhere? Planes, restaurants, hotels — you name it. As a passionate traveler and a mom, nothing annoys me more than someone making a backhanded comment about kids on planes while we’re waiting to board with our brood. Or the couple who came to a family-style restaurant and is shooting my happy, talkative kids nasty looks like they’re the ones responsible for the undercooked fish.

Believe it or not, kids are people too. They just happen to be a tinier version than you and me. They have a hard time managing themselves and their emotions because they haven’t developed fully yet. They have a good excuse to be an asshole now and again. You don’t.

We work hard to ensure that our children are well behaved little people, regardless of whether they’re at home, at Target, or trapped with you in a flying metal box at 30,000 feet. No one wants to be near a screaming child — their parents included — which is why we all work so hard on manners, on travel prep, and everything else to keep our little ones managed when we’re out and about.

No amount of planning can soothe a toddler who can’t get her ears to pop, however. Sometimes an overtired child will cry for no reason at all; it doesn’t matter to them if they’re at home or out to dinner. There’s almost nothing we can do in these situations, no matter how hard we try. Does this mean that we shouldn’t bring our kids out in public spaces? No, quite the opposite, actually.

You want my kid to not bother you. How do you expect me to teach them how to do this on a plane or in a restaurant if I can’t take them there? You look at me sideways when my child throws a fit in the store, but you’ll also be the first one to judge me if I give in to her demands for a lollipop instead of maintaining my authority as a parent. You think my generation is full of entitled people who are failing at parenting, but maybe you are the one who is failing — at compassion.

We no longer live in an era where kids are expected to be seen and not heard, but lots of people still feel that way. The problem with this view is that we all share this world, and if our kids are going to grow up to be the kind of adults we want them to be, we need them to experience the world right alongside us. Kids were always a part of this humanity deal, so why do some adults all of a sudden feel like they’re entitled to a world without them?

If you don’t want to be bothered by my offspring, go ahead and buy yourself an expensive ticket for a child-free zone on the plane because you’re one less asshole I need to worry about. But to the travelers behind us on the plane who played peek-a-boo with my toddler for an hour and then told us how well she did even after she screamed for twenty minutes for absolutely no reason at all, thank you for getting it.

I won’t keep my kids out of your “adult spaces” because they have just as much right to be there as you do. If you can’t handle children being children in public spaces that’s your issue, not mine.

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