To The People Who Seem Unable to Behave Like Adults

I like a good parent on parent brawl as well as the next childfree person, but when I read blogger Dad On The Run‘s recent post To The Person Who Left My Sister This Unbelievably Judgmental Letter I wept for humanity. Why? Because everything about it, and everyone involved, is ridiculous.

Dad On The Run’s “Unbelievably Judgmental Letter”. It’s REALLY REALLY REALLY UNBELIEVABLE!

Here’s an open letter to all of you. Here’s hoping you can learn something, specifically how to act like well adjusted adults in our society.

To The Parents That Decided To Bring An Infant To A Ski Resort

Maybe bringing your infant to a ski resort isn’t the best idea. I’m guessing that you know your baby. Is it a wailer? A screamer? Then you know this is a bad idea. Is your baby the quietest baby ever in the history of the world? Then this is still a bad idea. Murphy’s law says that this will be the occasion on which your baby becomes a screamer.

There are other options. Rent a house where you don’t have neighbors sharing a wall. From what I hear you’re a high-powered brain surgeon…you’ve got the cash. Or go to Disney or leave your baby with Nanna and Pappa. Or maybe stay home and take care of your kid. You did choose to have this baby, right? You knew there would be some sacrifices, right? Or did you think those sacrifices should be born by the people in the next room at Vail.

Speaking of…

To The People People That Left The Letter

For Christ sake! Man up! Ask the hotel if you can move to another room. If that’s not an option, knock on the door of the offending parents and kindly let them know what’s going on. Maybe they don’t realize what a problem they are causing. Give them a chance to do something!

To The Hotel Management

Keep your families with kids and those without kids separate. Families with kids signed up for the noise and havoc; your guests without kids did not. Accommodate room change requests if you can. Apologize if you can’t…and maybe comp some goodies like ear plugs and martinis.

To Dad On The Run

I don’t think we’re reading the same letter. There was nothing at all nasty about the “nastygram”. We can all agree as reasonable people that no one should have to deal with loud neighbors night after night while on vacation, right? Barking dogs, screaming matches between adults, loud partying, and…wait for it…screaming babies are all disturbances that no one should have to put up with. And…get this…all of these things are actually preventable. One just has to apply some good judgement.

So, the fact that the disgruntled neighbors wrote down some wisdom – in a civil way I might add – and shared it with the parents of the screaming baby is very reasonable.

Regarding the rest of your disjointed rant, it’s hard to know where to start so I’ll just point out a few things for you to think about:

  • Your brother-in-law being a brain surgeon in no way excuses his bad behavior. This also means that if you do a good deed, like put in a couple of hours at a local soup kitchen, you do not in turn earn points to go out and kick a puppy or trip an old lady.
  • Asserting facts not in evidence, e.g. “Your kids ruined things for other people too.” is, well, asserting facts not in evidence. We know your sister and brother-in-law created a situation that disturbed at least one set of guests at the hotel. We don’t know that the letter writer’s kids ruined anything for anybody. More importantly – and please read closely here – the issue is not about the kid. It’s about the parents, their lack of initial good judgement and their lack of situational awareness to address an ongoing problem. Clearly their problems continue as rather than take on board the content of the letter, they chose to share it with you for world-wide distribution.
  • Consider writing responses that are commensurate with what you’re responding to. For example you lash out with comments like “You, on the other hand, choose to spew hatred and judgment on others even when it will bring no change to your own situation.” and “I know little about you; maybe you were just cranky and writing without thinking. Maybe you are too stupid to relieve yourself with some Tylenol PM or earplugs or…
    Did you actually read the letter? Yeah, there’s some judgment in there. Valid judgement. But hatred? Please point that out. Writing without thinking? I think the author spent quite a bit of time thinking about this. I’m guessing s/he had plenty of time while lying awake at night. Too stupid? That one doesn’t deserve a comment.

I get that being all “controversial” like this probably gets you clicks. Hope it’s worth it.

11 Responses to To The People Who Seem Unable to Behave Like Adults

  1. Carolyn July 16, 2014 at 2:38 pm #

    Loved this piece, thank you so much for sharing!

  2. Sven March 17, 2014 at 2:46 am #

    Lance, a quick question for you and Amy. Is there any research on men who want to be childfree but then change their minds once they get older?

    I actually have two friends who elected to remain childfree and who married men who wanted to be child free. Both are compassionate, loving people and I always thought their marriages were very stable and happy. However both their marriages recently dissolved because their male partners changed their minds and wanted biological children. My friends are way past child-bearing years so even if they wanted to they couldn’t have biological children of their own now.

    Both their husbands are now remarried to younger women who are producing babies! Apparently both men saw their friends with children and grandchildren and got the urge to leave their biological imprint upon the world. Leave a “legacy” or some such rubbish.

    I always kind of figured that they were such happy couples, free from the stresses that having children places on relationships, and that they would be able to work anything out, and they always did, until now. This happened to both of them in a short time span. I was overseas and when I came back BAM! they were both divorced and their ex-es had moved on to fatherhood at an unbelievable pace.

    Not to put to fine a point on it, I hope karma kicks those guys’ behinds, but does it happen often, or were they the 2 out of several thousands statistic?

    • Lance March 17, 2014 at 10:11 am #

      Wow – that’s amazing/shitty/unfortunate. I don’t if there is any research…I’ll defer to Amy. However, I wonder how much this is truly about regret at not having children vs. some sort of midlife crisis. In other words, it may be more about wanting a do-over than about having kids per se.

  3. Angela March 12, 2014 at 10:38 am #

    Great piece! Another case of “me first” parents, specifically “me first” uncle. And I want to point to Dad On The Run, going to a medical conference doesn’t equate to wanting to become a better surgeon. I organise medical conferences as a profession, and many times, the attendees are there just to accumulate enough training points for the year. Even worse is that many are there just for the free trip (if the conference has pharmaceutical companies backing). I wonder who’s jumping to conclusion here.

  4. Marc March 12, 2014 at 2:47 am #

    You make zero point did you ever think that spending time as a family could be important. If someone knocked on my door in the middle of the night to say your baby is crying…um no shit thank you captain obvioious. I take my infant twins where ever I go because they have a right to be with family. Disney is mentioned as the only family friendly place this is unfair to my children…I love an hour and a half from Disney. My 3 year old thinks Disney is a day tr and he is right…you seem like an arrogant no it all that sticks their nose in shit because they think it their business…

    • Lance March 12, 2014 at 11:22 am #

      Marc – let me rewrite your comment for you so it’s understandable:

      “You make zero point. [A period to end sentence] Did [CAP to start new sentence] you ever think that spending time as a family could be important? [Question mark to indicate question]. If someone knocked on my door in the middle of the night to say your baby is crying…um no shit thank you captain obvious [Spell “obvioious” correctly]. I take my infant twins where ever I go because they have a right to be with family. Disney is mentioned as the only family friendly place this is unfair to my children…I live [guessing you meant “live” not “love”] an hour and a half from Disney. My 3 year old thinks Disney is a day tr[ip] and he is right…you seem like an arrogant know [“no” spelled correctly] it all that sticks their nose in shit because they think it their business…”

      Thanks for the comment and for making my point. Self-centered parenting at it’s finest!

  5. Anna March 8, 2014 at 4:15 am #

    I wish “tylenol PM and earplugs” worked every time I had sensory issues as an autistic person faced with a screaming baby wherever I am in public. I can’t imagine if it’s some place like a hotel room where I was stuck with it. Too bad after knock-you-out medicine I might fall asleep behind the wheel or with earplugs I might miss what the person next to me is trying to say to me though. Some places are just poor fits for children, and people have to especially consider how close it is to nap time, if there’s anything to alleviate teething or whatever problem the kid is experiencing. Yes, someone should’ve gotten moved to another room. But making everyone put up with a wailing kid at a place that is not good for kids nonetheless wailing ones is messed. You’ll find me, I’ll be crumpled over in the hear-no-evil/fetal position somewhere in the office supply aisle, thanks.

    • grayeyegirl April 9, 2014 at 12:15 pm #

      We’ve considered getting my husband tested for Asperger’s (sorry if I spelled it wrong) and your comment just made me consider it even more. I’m an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person). So when kids do kids things, like make loud noises – be it wailing or whining or shrieking – it makes my skin crawl and my ears hurt and a desire to leave wherever we are so I can get some sanity. My husband on the other hand gets angry. Whenever we’re out in public and any kid shrieks, screams, laughs too loudly his fists tighten up. He clenches his teeth. It’s almost like it’s painful for him. There have been instances where I’ve had to talk him through whatever is going on around us – single mom is trying to have her dinner with her special needs child who is communicating the best he can – and he will calm down somewhat but the tension is still there until he can retreat to a quiet place.

      Can I ask, is this similar to how you feel in these situations? I don’t mean angry so much as he just turns into a ball of tension. Man, just writing about it has made me pull in my shoulders and tuck my head with stress.

  6. Emily March 7, 2014 at 11:37 pm #

    *standing ovation*

  7. Elaine Walkden March 7, 2014 at 11:09 pm #

    I left this link on Dad On the Run’s Facebook page. I think he was too chicken to read it. He said something like, “I’m moving on..” blah B blah.

  8. Banner March 7, 2014 at 8:00 pm #

    Yes, yes, YES. So much yes.

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