To the gentleman reading his newspaper at the bakery yesterday:
I feel I owe you a little non-apology.
You came in after us, and chose to sit at the table behind ours. I was having coffee with a friend, nursing a newborn and supervising my toddler, while the two older girls coloured.
Now my kids can be rowdy, I know. We had planned to have a play date at the park, but with the weather forecasted for around 40 degrees, we opted for a catch up at the bakery. I’m sure you understand.
I was really excited to get out too, I hadn’t had a coffee date in so long, and we don’t have air conditioning at home so the bakery was a welcome escape. I came prepared with colouring books and crayons. But I didn’t come prepared for you.
My toddler is a typical little boy. Today he was a dinosaur, a puppy and a frog. He fought with his sister over chairs, he ran about a little, and lay on the floor in protest. And of course I tried my best to redirect him, get him to sit down and play quietly. There’s only so much I can do while holding a newborn.
Plus, they’re kids.
On the other hand, seated directly opposite me was a grown man. A grown man sighing and groaning loudly, glaring at myself and the kids, and muttering to himself. A grown man who had access to another room and plenty of other seats at the bakery. A grown man who can make the choice to be at three other venues locally – including the pub next door.
Who instead chose to sit there for the majority of my coffee date, making a scene of judging and making me uncomfortable.
Sure, you’re entitled to sit down and enjoy a coffee and read your paper. Of course you’d like to do so in peace. If my kids were running around you, yelling at you or harassing you, of course I would have apologised and removed them. But they weren’t. They were being kids. Kids at their local family-friendly bakery.
And I won’t apologise for that.
So I’m sorry if you were annoyed by children enjoying a morning out with friends. I’m sorry if you feel my parenting skills are somewhat lacking. I’m sorry if you come from an era of “children should be seen and not heard”, and the world is wrong now. And I’m sorry for whatever it was that makes you bitter enough to attempt to shame a mother into leaving.
I’ll be praying for you.
Oh, and I’m sorry I didn’t have the energy to say this to your face. But then again, I wasn’t there for you.