Parents just can’t do anything right.
Or at least, it certainly feels that way when random strangers and internet commenters all have differing opinions about how parents raise their kids, cringed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor AccomplishedPlenty27 was thoroughly taken aback when she was criticized by a woman at a coffee shop for bringing her baby out in public.
When she couldn’t get the interaction off of her mind, the Original Poster (OP) began to wonder if there was more to what the elderly woman was saying.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for taking my toddler to a coffee shop?”
A work-from-home mom was feeling cooped up at home.
“I feel like I need a ‘general opinion check’ here. I (late 20s Female) occasionally take my daughter (almost 1-year-old) to a small coffee shop in the local mall.”
“I’m a WFH (work-from-home) mom, trying to run my company and to finish my postgraduate degree while raising my kid. My husband spends all day at work, and it gets to be a bit much sometimes.”
“His workplace is one of those that demands a ton of team building activities etc., so he’s often away long after work hours are over.”
“Anyone who’s been home alone with a baby will know how tired you get and how hard it is to keep them in good company when you’re cooped up all day.”
“So now that finally, the plague has been clearing up in my area, we’ve decided to start going places a bit more.”
The OP recently found a nice place to take her baby.
“There’s a local mall with an open-plan locally-owned coffee shop (the place has 3 walls and is otherwise completely open into the mall lobby with a fountain, some of those coin-slot kid attractions and such.”
“I decided to try it and have a coffee there a few months ago and found out my daughter loves it! She will look around sitting in her stroller while I drink my coffee in peace for once.”
“The waitresses love her and know her by name and come to greet her.”
“We leave a big tip to make up for any inconvenience we might cause.”
“She recently started walking and loves to use any open space. I take her for a walk outside twice a day with the stroller, and we stop somewhere, and she walks around.”
“When the weather is bad or when I just want to, we go to the coffee shop and sit at the very edge of the seating area, basically completely in the lobby.”
“We go when there are the fewest people, because I don’t want to bother anyone, and we never stay longer than 30 minutes.”
“She sits in her stroller and when she wants to, I take her out, and we walk around the lobby.”
“When someone smiles at her and they initiate a conversation, we stop, and she smiles and babbles a bit at them, and then we go.”
“I steer her clear of anyone with a laptop or headphones or a book, or who appears to be studying or in a meeting, and if she ever gets cranky, we’re outta there immediately.”
This was appreciated… by most people.
“Recently, an old lady started sitting down at the table next to us and staring.”
“She’ll whisper under her breath some things about ‘not in our time’ and ‘floozies.'”
“Last time when we were leaving, I felt it appropriate to at least say, ‘Goodbye, have a nice day,’ to the lady, as we were saying so to the waiters and a nice gentleman who’d made funny faces at my kiddo.”
“She looked at me like I spat at her and started mumbling something about ‘horrible mother’ and ‘no decency.'”
“I’m not a confrontational type so I just ignored it, but it’s been bothering me.”
“I’ve talked to my friends (most are childfree), and a few of them said I’m ‘out of line bothering people with my child,’ and that ‘people go there to have some peace and quiet.'”
“The ones who have kids are on my side, so hence why I’m asking here.”
“So… AITA for taking my toddler to a coffee shop?”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some found the OP’s efforts to be highly respectful and considerate.
“I don’t intend to have children but you sound like a super respectful parent to those around you. I don’t know why your friends with no children are saying you’re TA for daring to be out in public with a child tbh (to be honest).” – bibliophile14
“You seem hyper-aware and considerate of everyone around you. It doesn’t seem like the old lady had a problem with your kid disturbing people. I wonder if her problem was with you being friendly to men and thought you were there flirting?”
“She’s still off her rocker. You seem ok to me. NTA.” – TrollopMcGillicutty
“NTA. I’m childfree and that wouldn’t bother me at all. It’s one thing if she was crying, knocking things down, and just downright being chaotic, but she’s not according to your word.”
“I’m letting you know that if it is those things, then you are.”
“Other than that, that lady is just grouchy and probably thinks you’re younger than you are, hence the ‘floozy’ comments.” – lboogie757
“NTA. You seem like a very aware mom. Good job! I’m guessing that if your child was in full tantrum mode, you’d just leave.”
“This doesn’t sound like that. Ignore the bitter old lady. She’s just miserable and probably complains about everything.” – UrCrazyMatchsMyCrazy
“NTA, your child seems extremely well-behaved as well which is a total A+ in my book (mind you, I don’t have children and never wanted to, but I find that parents need and deserve those breaks they earn, and when their kids are well-behaved, that is just even better)”
“I’m notorious for waving at children, especially babies, and listening to them babble constantly. I love it, they’re getting socialization and I’m getting… well… conversation from a non-judgemental human despite it being baby babble which really helps my self-esteem!” – CharismaPoison
Others pointed out that it was healthy for the OP and her daughter to venture out.
“I’m childfree and I personally think it’s good for mums to get out.”
“Do I want kids? No. Will I smile and have a chat with the cute toddler? Yes.”
“Kids are people and they deserve to get out and socialize, too.” – dogmadandsad
“NTA in any way. You are a paying customer just like everyone else that visits that coffee shop so you and your child have every right to be there. Your childless friends are entitled AHs and if they want to go to a childfree place, they can go to a bar, not a mall coffee shop.”
“That old lady saying ‘not in our time’ needs to remember that in that time, women very rarely left the house except to go grocery shopping.”
“I live in a small town and go for coffee all the time. My kids are all adults so I’m usually out childfree. I see young moms with kids all the time and they do not bother me one little bit.”
“My favorite cafe is owned by my niece’s in-laws and she is often there with the kids. The kids always come for a hug and tell their uncles to get their auntie another coffee (it’s too cute). Kids often run around this cafe and no one is bothered by them.”
“Also, friends of mine ran their own coffee shop for years. They encouraged young moms with kids and even had a babycino which was really just a hot chocolate with foam and a marshmallow for the kids.”
“You and your child need to get out of the house just like everyone else and your child will never learn how to behave in social settings if you don’t take her to social settings. You keep on doing what you do. I will never understand why a toddler can be so triggering for some people.” – WarLazy7979
“I’m confused, mostly about why anyone you’d consider a friend would say it’s out of line to take your child to a coffee shop.”
“People are out of their f**king minds.” – CaptSpacePants
“I was gonna say, many adults apparently need socialization. I don’t understand the thought process of going to any public business with any expectation of quiet focus time.”
“Go to the library. I’m sure there’s some decent coffee there.”
“It’s almost as if people just want to play out this weird movie scene in their minds where they are the cool interesting smart person doing important work at the coffee shop, and we’re all just the dumb peasants drinking coffee for no reason. I realize this isn’t the same as the cranky old lady, but I hate those people too.”
“Either way, NTA. Teach your kids to take up space and make noise.” – TheLeastCreative
“Her childfree ‘friends’ are the type of people that just get angry at kids for existing.”
“As long as her kid isn’t making a ton of undue noise or running around, I don’t see anything but benefits to taking her out.”
“If anything, it’s teaching her how to behave in public where she does need to sit quietly and be patient. Especially after the majority of her life has been cooped up not going places due to the pandemic.”
“We’re going to be seeing a lot of kids that are behind in their social skills entering elementary school because of the pandemic. Hopefully, they’re able to catch up quickly.”
“These anti-child numpties that OP seems to hang around with are going to end up pretty lonely with that attitude.” – jimmy_three_shoes
While the OP had conflicting feelings after not being about to shake the elderly woman’s bitterness, the subReddit insisted she had nothing to worry about, as long as she was as considerate and her daughter was as quiet as she suggested in her post.
It sounded like the pair was simply out for a nice afternoon out of the house, and no amount of elderly people judging “single” parents or younger adults not liking children would stand in the way of that.