Thou Shalt Not Put Baby In A Corner

As I am sure you’ve already heard, Better Homes and Gardens is currently under fire for letting THIS ARTICLE go to print. In the article, BH&G writer, Heather (who obviously does not have any children of her own), shares with us her “commandments” for eating out with your small children while making “helpful” suggestions for keeping your children at home and out of public where the rest of society won’t have to look at your whiney snot-nose crotch droppling.

Note: Better Homes & Gardens has since apologized for this article on their Face Book page siting a lack of editor impute and vetting procedures for online articles. Now that this problem has been brought to their attention I certainly hope that steps will be taken to make sure it doesn't happen again.

While I appreciate the apology, my grievances with the article still stand. The opinions expressed in this article, and many of the comments from those who agree with those opinions are a symptom of the misogyny that is ingrained in our society. When you perpetuate social taboos and set limits on breastfeeding and other forms of mothering you are marginalizing women. The hurt that was caused by Better Homes and Gardens providing an unwitting platform for these opinions can not be mended by a simple apology, but I appreciate it none-the-less.

Well Heather, I am sorry that we parents of the world have inconvenienced you, but you know what? Single childless people aren’t exactly the model of acceptable behaviour themselves. So I’ll make you a deal; I will take your incredibly offensive commandments under consideration if you consider my commandments for eating out with your lonely bitter self:

Thou shalt not park your car in the specially reserved parking spaces for parents of young children.

Yes it’s true that those parking spots are purely convenience, and are not protected by any sort of by-law. You will not be fined for parking there without children, but it forces parents of small children to find parking elsewhere and then navigate their small children across a possibly busy and dangerous parking lot. What's more, it makes you look like a total dooche bag.

Thou shalt not use the folding bathroom change table as a convenient place to set your purse.

It may look convenient, but if you had children, you would know that the festering microscopic germ farm growing on that public change table is not a place you would want to set anything without a quick wipe down and a change pad underneath. Not only that but it’s also really irritating for the woman standing there with a stinky baby in her arms waiting for you to get out of the way, especially even if you flash a cheesy smile and say ‘oh sorry, just a second’ in a laughing tone.

Thou shalt not swear loudly enough for my children to hear you at the next table.

Regardless of whether or not there are children at the next table, it is just polite to keep your voice down if you feel the need to be crude. I totally get that it is often necessary, I certainly do not have the cleanest mouth in the world, but I have enough trouble trying to watch my own mouth, I don’t have the time or energy to shield my children from other people’s bad language as well.

Thou shall not smoke your cigarettes right beside the entrance of any establishment.

I didn’t work so hard to kick the smoking habit when I got pregnant just to have insensitive jerks blowing smoke in my baby’s face when I am coming or going from a restaurant, or any other building. If you must slip out for a cigarette in the middle of your meal please make sure to step around to the side of the building.

Thou shalt not stare/glare at me while I am nursing my child.
Yes I breastfeed at the dinner table. No, I do not cover when I do. Some babies just won't eat with a blanket over their head, my son is one of those babies, but that doesn't mean that I should have to go somewhere as unsanitary as a bathroom (no matter how nice it may be) to feed him. In fact, it is my legal right to breastfeed wherever I happen to be. I do, however, have that blanket handy if you would like to eat with it over YOUR head.

Thou shalt not sit around gossiping with your friends in the designated nursing area.

It is my right to breastfeed my child wherever I want, covered or not, but if I choose to use one of the few designated nursing rooms provided by some businesses the last thing I want to deal with is a giggling gaggle of obnoxious women distracting my baby while he’s trying to latch, or just taking up the space I need to care for my child.

Thou shalt not drink too much during your quiet adult dinner and then drive home.

It’s happened too many times for me to count. My family and I go out to eat and while we are enjoying our meal (despite the dirty looks and holier than thou attitudes of the childless patronage.) someone at the next table starts to get a little louder, and little sloppier, and well, just a little bit drunk. I have no problem with that; enjoy yourself while you can, if you do ever have kids you will look back on these days fondly. However, when you then get in your car you are putting my children, yourself, and the general public in harms way.

Thou shalt not bother your wait staff with complaints about other patrons.

Maybe I am crazy, but someone could walk into an establishment totally naked and I probably wouldn't say anything to the wait staff. It is their job to take your order and bus your table, not be your social babysitter. Deciding what behaviour is or is not acceptable, or who is and who is not welcome in the establishment is up to the management, human rights legislation and local licensing laws. By complaining about other patrons to your wait staff you are putting them in a really uncomfortable and sometimes impossible position.

If any of these commandments cannot be met for whatever reason, there are plenty of great recipes out there to recreate the dining out experience in your own home where you do not have to interact with anyone you find annoying, inappropriate, or distracting.


Malcolm+ said...

Preach it, Daughter!

Devan @ Accustomed Chaos said...

Love it Love it Love it!!!

Devan @ Accustomed Chaos

JoannaBHG said...

Hi there,

I'm commenting to let you know we read your post and the comments on it. You're right--the post was entirely inappropriate and should not have been published. Our official statement is here: http://www.facebook.com/notes/better-homes-and-gardens/statement-on-shine-story/397816569478

And our new story, based on tips real moms gave us on our Facebook page is here: http://shine.yahoo.com/channel/food/dining-out-with-small-children-8-sanity-savers-from-real-moms-1526173/

Again, we are so sorry for posting this and that you were offended. Thanks for reminding us, with a sense of humor, that common courtesy goes both ways.


Joanna Linberg
Assistant Editor
Better Homes and Gardens

Pocket.Buddha said...


Thank you so much for taking the time to come and add your comments to my post.

The effort to make a personal apology is greatly appreciated, and I accept that apology whole-heartedly.

In the last 24 hours my opinion of your magazine has been a bit of a roller coaster. I went from total indifference, to outrage and defensiveness, and now, thanks to your taking the time to remedy the situation as best you can, I have great respect for your organization.

I understand that the opinions in the original article were those of one individual within your organization, and can forgive the error of letting it go to print without properly vetting.

i am the diva said...

OHMYGOD, can i just say that this was the best response i've read to that article??

well done, you!

BloomyMommy said...

"Crotch droppling" is freaking hilarious!!!!