FACT: All babies are created equal.
FACT: Their parents are not.
Babies are little humans, slowly developing their own personalities and opinions and interests. As clean slates making their way toward self-realization, they deserve the benefit of the doubt and the unencumbered opportunity to reach their fullest potential.
Parents, however, have had their chance. They are adults (give or take every parent ever featured on MTV or VH1) who’ve they lived their lives and are what they are. At some point they decided (give or take every parent ever featured on MTV or VH1) to have a kid. Or two. Or 19. And now they have to live with that decision. They weren’t born parents, they became parents. They chose their lifestyle, they made their beds – and they deserve no quarter.
Simply put, if you’re a parents, you are not equal to a non-parent. You are worse and should be treated as such. You chose to dedicate your life to raising a child. You chose punishment instead of reward. You chose responsibility instead of fun. You chose college funds instead of discretionary income. You chose to raise a kid instead of raising hell. So deal with the ramifications of that, and don’t shove your kid in everyone else’s faces.
They should not expect to have the same rights: parents should not interact with or speak to non-parents. Parents should not make eye contact with non-parents and should always yield the right-of-way to non-parents when using pedestrian walkways (even if that means stepping into a gutter). Parents should not raise their voices to non-parents nor attempt to defend their rights (or lack thereof) to a non-parent who confronts them. Parents should neither bring their kids to public places nor act like they have the right to do so.
You want to go to a bar? Sorry, you have a kid. You want to eat a nice meal out? Sorry, you have a kid. You want to take a vacation and travel on an airplane? Sorry, you are not allowed to do those things so long as you insist on lugging your children along. Now get out!
Obviously, I have a kid myself. And I live in a neighborhood where it’s common practice to cart your baby into your favorite bar so you can have a few drinks. It’s common practice to go on Yelp and scream bloody murder when the nice Italian restaurant down the street doesn’t provide high chairs. There’s a pro-baby mob around here, and while it seems logical that a parent like me would sympathize and side with the Stroller Mafia, I don’t. I know what being a parent makes me: less than human. And I’m getting what I deserve.
After all, what gives these me the right to attempt to live full lives? Where in the Constitution does it allow for people with children to take advantage of everything life has to offer? Just because this is a free country and parents pay exorbitant rent to live in nice neighborhoods doesn’t mean that they deserve access to all the attending benefits.
It doesn’t mean parents should be able to socialize with other people outside of their homes. It doesn’t mean parents should be allowed to have a beer or a cocktail at an establishment that exists entirely to make money by serving as many people as they can. It doesn’t mean that people who are overpopulating the planet can take a break from preparing their own meals and have a steak or some scallops served to them by culinary professionals. It doesn’t mean people can bring their babies and small children on an airplane so they can go experience and explore other cultures and countries when – ahem – we all have television sets and computers, hello!
Having a child is a deviant action, and one that deserves neither empathy nor respect. I knew that going in, and despite my neighborhood’s borderline-militant pro-baby stance, I abide by the rules. I don’t bring my kid to bars or restaurants or on planes.
I don’t care if my baby is the best-behaved baby in the world. I don’t care if I’m quietly eating my lunch in a booth with my wife and son. I don’t care if as soon as the baby starts to cry I take him outside and probably go straight home. I don’t care if my baby is quieter and less obtrusive than each of the two dogs you brought. I don’t care that the group of twenty-four year olds that can’t hold their liquor and are screaming really loudly about Call of Duty: Black Ops are far more obnoxious and irritating than my 6-month-old. That’s not the point.
The point is that it’s not fair to the other people who don’t have children and want to go get hammered at four in the afternoon and don’t want to be made aware of the gaping void that exists in their lives and don’t want to be reminded that they’ve turned into hateful, damaged individuals by having an innocent, potential-filled baby get all up in their face and/or sleep quietly in its mother’s arms. The point is that it’s wrong of me to expect to have a life once I have a child.
So I put my baby in his cage and I stare at him until he turns 18. When he does, then I can have a life again. Then I can go to a bar and have a beer. Then and ONLY then.
I know what you’re thinking: this isn’t Russia. This isn’t Nazi Germany. This isn’t Vegas. There’s no reason parents can’t exercise common sense and use some restraint in terms of the environments into which they drag their babies. No movies, no dive bars, no strip clubs, no romantic 5-star restaurants. And sure, that approach might seem reasonable to someone who has even the tiniest bit of awareness of a world outside themselves; to someone who understands that parents are people too and could desperately use access to the same outlets as everyone else; to someone who isn’t a remorseless, sociopathic void of empathy with absolutely no grasp on how to live life like a decent human being.
BUT I’M NOT THAT SOMEONE.
Besides, it’s not like parents are starved for ways to enjoy their lives and ease the burden of parenthood. There are plenty of options: 1) don’t have kids; 2) hire a babysitter; 3) open a bar in your garage; 4) hire a personal chef; 5) buy a private jet; 6) enjoy a night out at McDonald’s; 7) don’t have kids!
So take advantage of those options and find a place to stash your kid or else stay sequestered. Because the world is not for parents. It’s for everyone else.