If there are no fast and hard rules about how people should behave in public places, there are certain expectations just about everyone sees eye to eye on.
These include not speaking too loudly, respecting other people’s personal space, and not leaving children unattended.
Indeed, little can raise they eyebrows of others more than seeing a parent or guardian let their children roam free without paying attention.
Redditor WildChildMom thought that she was at least respecting others when she let her child roam free, as she would always warn them if they were misbehaving or talking too loud.
The original poster (OP) began to have doubts about her actions, however, after being called out while waiting for an appointment.
Wondering if she was in the wrong, the OP took to the SubReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where she asked fellow Redditors:
“AITA for letting my son play in the waiting room of the doctor’s office?”
The OP explained thatwhile she thought her son was behaving perfectly well while waiting for an appointment, another woman in the waiting room strongly disagreed and wasn’t afraid to say so to the OP’s face.
“Son is 2.”
“We are at the doctor because I’m about 98% sure he has an ear infection.”
“We go to a doctor’s office that doesn’t have any sort of play area or anywhere for kids to kind of hang around.”
“We go here pretty frequently so my kids have the same sort of routine: you’re allowed to roam the room without bothering other people or yelling.”
“They like to do typical kid things like walking in circles around empty chairs or looking at the art on the wall and tell me what shapes are there.”
“There was only one other woman in the waiting room, she was probably about 50 yrs old.”
“So while we are waiting my little son is doing his typical thing.”
“Now let me add that when there have been other people as long as he follows my rules they don’t seem to be bothered by it.”
“So I thought it was going to be the same thing with this woman.”
“My two year old is walking around an empty chair near me and babbling, I promise it wasn’t loud, it is unacceptable behavior to be loud in a quiet setting, and telling me things like ‘star’ and ‘circle’.”
“This woman begins to huff and sigh and seem very irritated.”
“I thought maybe it was the wait time since it was taking a good minute for either of us to be called back.”
“Then the woman kind of hissed ‘I can’t believe people let their kids act like that’.”
“I asked her if she was annoyed by my kid and she said ‘Yes, he’s so loud!'”
“‘He should be sitting quietly!’”
“I told her ‘Ma’am he’s 2, he’s not hurting anything or screaming, he isn’t near you’.”
“She got all huffy and told me ‘you need to be a better mom and control your son!'”
“Y’all I was floored.”
“About that time we got called back so I just got his bag and him and went back.”
“I’m not gonna lie, I really felt like crying.”
“But it may be rude and out of line to let him walk around and talk about everything instead of trying to keep him in place.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Though several did sympathize with her, the Reddit none the less generally agreed that the OP was, indeed, the a**hole for letting their son wander around the waiting room.
Just about everyone pointed out that, regardless of his behavior, the OP should not have let her son wander around as he could have infected someone, or could have become infected with something himself, with some less sympathetic than others.
“What others don’t realize is that some people sitting in the doctor’s office waiting their turn are sometimes waiting to have their worst fears confirmed.”
“A lot don’t feel well, nervous awaiting test results, tired, apprehensive, etc.”- Kmia55
“I know how hard it is.”
“Years ago the doctor office had a small table and chairs and toys for kids.”
“It was probably a Petri dish of infection.”
“I would not allow my kids to sit there and kept them next to me or in my lap.”
“This was pre- cell phones so nothing to occupy my kids except paper pad and pencil.”
“They were loud.”
“What could I do?”
“I’m sure people hated us.”- PollyPocketFanGirl
“As a childfree person I understand that kids will be kids.”
“BUT you were at a doctors office because he was sick.”
“Letting him run around and spreading his germs is gross.”
“Next I would just bring some quiet activities for him to do.”- Cubadog
“Considering my husband nearly died two years ago from RSV complications, I would be miffed if I found out someone was letting their kid walk around the place and close to everyone.”-throwawayoctopii
“Little germ factory.”
“If they are sick they can infect everyone in that room.”
“They can infect someone with a compromised immune system and get very sick.”
“Sit the kid down with an ipad or a phone.”- melasuarus
“Not judging, but can I make a suggestion?”
“Bring something with you for him to play with while sitting down.”
“Even a pad an a pen, or some crayons would probably keep him pretty happy, or a book he can look at.”
“As others have said, you don’t want him getting other people sick or catching their illnesses.”-BaffledMum
“To be honest, the lady was nicer than what i would have been.”
“Add to the fact the last few years we are experiencing, you kid’s coughing is not something someone who is already sick.”
“Hence the doctor’s visit, wants to deal with or guard against.”
“Next time keep your kid close and do better.”- jayjaykmm
“No one should be walking around a doctors office waiting room.”
“I know making kids sit still is not always an easy task, but they shouldn’t be wandering.”
“You don’t know what they have yet and they could be highly contagious, you also don’t know who else was just in there spreading their germs around so it’s best to remain in one place to reduce the likelihood of possible infections for all.”
“I also think doctors offices with toys for the kids to play with is a very efficient way to give your kids exposure to every sickness ever possible all at once and makes me question the intelligence of all staff in a doctors office that does have such things.”
“So good for your doctor for not having them.”- DeviantDe
“Doctor offices are not playgrounds.”
“Your child should not be wandering around babbling, even if it is ‘quietly’ at least to you.”
“Sick children don’t understand social distancing and tend to wipe hands and snot all over things and people.”
“Try taking a bag of toys and books to the doctor’s office to keep your child occupied.”
“My kids always preferred me reading the books. I would hold them and read out loud to them.”
“Next thing, I would have a gaggle of kids, sitting in a semicircle in front of my seat.”
“The receptionist always told me they were sorry when we’d get called to see the doctor because the waiting room was much quieter while I read.”
“And they commented about how smart I was to bring my kids own toys.”-Eogh21
“YTA and I say this as the mother of a 2 year old and 10 year old.”
“Bring books, quiet toys, toddler safe headphones so they can watch something on your phone, etc.”
“I try to limit screen time with the two year old but certain circumstances call for an exception and a waiting area in a doctor’s office with a sick kid is one of them.”- steely_92
“She had no right to go off at you that way BUT you are in a doctors office, where she could have any sickness where the smallest noise could be contributing to her reason for being there.”- a__sully
A contrite OP later offered an update, acknowledging that she made a mistake in letting her son roam the waiting room.
“I’m really feeling like one now that we got finished in the office.”
“He has double ear infection but also RSV.”
“I feel really bad for letting him walk around and I pray that he didn’t leave any sort of infection around that will get anyone else sick.”
It’s understandable that the OP wanted to keep her son entertained, as she didn’t know how long they would be waiting.
Though, it’s hard not to think that she should have taken a moment to stop and acknowledge that they were at a doctor’s office, and she was afraid that her son was sick.
Leaving open the potential to infect others.
Admirably, the OP seems well aware of her mistake, and will likely be more careful going forward.