Today we took our two girls to McDonalds for lunch. It has been a long time since we took them out for takeaway and as my wife and I were feeling a little under the weather, a trip to McDonalds with its playground was just what the Dr ordered. We know its not the healthiest but honestly we don’t go there that often and we both didn’t feel like cooking. So off to Maccas we go.
We get down to the store and make our way around to the child’s playground. This is always a battle ground of parents watching their children and any other child that comes near them to jump on them if they even look like they are going to hurt their child. Parents also seem to mingle in small groups talking in hushed tones about how could any parent let their child come to maccas playground in a fancy dress costume. Me personally if Brooke or Jade want to leave the house looking like the 2014 Halloween best costume winner then I am all for it. What ever makes them happy. Whilst in the play ground I noticed a few parents on their phones, there was another group of mums in the corner making remarks about “how can they not be watching their children” etc etc. I was thinking to myself who cares, most parents take any chance for 5 mins downtime and I know a Maccas playground is a prime spot for them to switch off. Large gates all around with high fences, children friendly play equipment, I know I am guilty of whipping out my phone and tuning out for 5 mins.
Whilst I was off pondering these thoughts a birthday party came into the playground with children 3 – 4 years older than our two. We have learnt from experience that this is our departure point for the playground as being older kids they don’t know any better and get too rough with our little two. My wife grabs my arm and says lets go. We start bribing our two with promises of chips and nuggets if they come with us and after a minor tanty they follow. We make our way into the restaurant and find a seat. My wife goes off to order the food and I keep our two amused for the 10 mins it takes her to come back with food. This is when the fun starts. As you may have read in previous blogs any eating exercise with our two always ends up looking like someone bombed a fast food factory on our table. Do we care? NO, do others care? sometimes… particularly today. Across from us was a older lady, I would have said mid to late 50’s looking at her. She was staring at Brooke who was proceeding to eat her burger whilst sitting upside down in her chair. This was then followed by some tusk tusk and shaking of the head. I glared at her and she looked away. Brooke then moved to laying down on her seat, whilst still eating. The lady tapped her husband and pointed at Brooke with a disgusted look on her face. She looked at me and I shrugged my shoulders, Jo and I have fought with Brooke so long to eat that if she wants to do it in the middle of the restaurant, on a unicycle, juggling monkeys with her hair on fire than we are more than cool with that as long as she is eating. This older lady couldn’t seem to handle it. The lady then shook her head at me so I pointed at her and did the slit throat action, probably not my finest moment but I was getting tired of her judging me from 10 feet away. She immediately grabbed her husband and left with out a word being said.
I didn’t bother to tell my wife as it would have only upset her. I would like to say that this is a once off, but it isn’t. If we were in a fancy expensive restaurant where people were paying a lot of money for the experience I would completely understand and would more than likely not take Brooke and Jade for this reason. But we were in McDonalds with children running and laughing everywhere, it was a family restaurant. When we got home I logged into Instagram to see my latest followers on Deardads. Whilst looking through everyone’s pictures I came across one where someone had gone out of their way to comment on a photo of a mother and son criticizing what the son looked like. His hair, his squinty eyes, his bowed legs. The child was 1yr old. This person had lost his mind, why would he say these things to a mother sharing her joy and greatest love with the world. This lead me to some startling questions……
At what point in time did we as a human race decide that we had the right to criticize others even when we did not know them?
When did we decide to take it on ourselves to be mean to others purely because we didn’t agree with what they were doing?
When did we become so intolerant as a human race that we couldn’t let kids be kids? and at what point did we think it would end in roses and skittles belittling a mother and her son for the photos put on a social sharing website. I understand that no two people are the same, but common decency has gone out the window. I am ashamed that I did that gesture to the old lady and I will control myself better in future as in my eyes I am no better than her. Like most parents, I want my girls to grow up not judging people and will work hard to teach them to be open to new ideas and cultures, I want them to not judge someone because they parent different or wear a different skirt.
Whilst I am ashamed of how the human race is evolving in these instances I also see a lot of love around as well. Watching blogging group catch ups on twitter and Instagram and I see friendship compassion and love spread far and wide. I have had strangers talk to me and give me advice where I have written the wrong thing or shared the wrong link. They don’t know me and have never met me. But they help none the less. Hugh Grant says it at the start of Love actually about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport, no one there hates each other, everyone is there to show love and support. When I see this I realise that there is hope in the world. This is the world I want my girls to grow up in.
People say we cant change the world, maybe not the whole world. But I am going to do everything I can to teach my girls compassion. If every parent did the same it might not be such a problem after all xo