Recently, an anonymous letter berating a set of parents who brought their baby to a ski resort went viral. People were quick to pick sides -- and a heated debate began: “Are there certain types of vacations that simply are not appropriate for kids and babies?” Two Care.com employees (one a parent, one a former service industry manager) have different reactions. What are your thoughts?
As someone with eight years of experience in the food service industry, I can confidently tell you that bringing a baby anywhere is really a role of the dice! While a 5-month-old baby could remain perfectly happy and quiet during a dinner out, she or he is just as likely to start crying for any number of issues (not the least of which is teething). In my restaurant days, often times, if a baby started crying, one of the parents would promptly leave the restaurant with crying baby in tow, until the episode had passed. It’s when no effort was made, or the crying baby was seemingly ignored at the table, that other restaurant patrons would begin to shoot over dirty looks, or even complain to me in the hopes that I had a magical solution (which generally involved moving the complaining table to a quieter area of the restaurant).
Just as a family with a crying baby should leave a restaurant when it gets too bad, so should parents at a resort. They should have gone to the lobby to soothe the child. No, it’s not convenient, but we all need to be more considerate of each other, especially when people around you are eating or sleeping.
Was a nasty note called for? No way. The irritated family should have called the front desk. They should have knocked on the wall. They could have even written a nicer note, making the baby’s parents more aware of the thin walls. Maybe then, management could have worked out a compromise. I know, as a former manager, I would have been more than happy to help everyone better enjoy their stay.
I just had my second child. He’s three months old, and I know the frustration of losing out on sleep.
Personally, at this stage in his sleep-development, I wouldn’t take him to a hotel, to a friends’ house, or even a rented ski cabin. I wouldn’t change his routine -- risking less sleep for me.
Most moms with infants feel the same way. It’s just not fun – for anyone – to take a baby out of his element.
That’s why I have total sympathy for this family. I don’t think anyone should condemn new parents. Ever. They are already dealing with so much.
The mother’s brother posted a retort that explained more about why this family chose to travel with their baby. He described his niece as a good sleeper, explaining that this behavior was abnormal – and due to teething pain. Who knows? Maybe she also had an ear infection due to teeth/sinus and elevation adjustments. The parents could not have predicted this would happen. It stinks for everyone who had to be there. But it especially hurts when your heart is the size of a 15-pound baby, and you can’t do anything to help her pain go away.
He also described this family as having infrequent time together. The brain-surgeon dad had a conference to go to. Not wanting to miss out on more fatherhood moments, he suggested they all go together. People have said that this was a vacation for them. But it sounds like it was more of a chance to not miss more time together. So the suggestions that they leave their baby with a nanny wasn’t an option.
I’ve stayed at hotels a bunch of times. And in neighboring rooms I’ve had noisy bachelors who like to yell and thump walls, ‘tweens who like to slam doors and run down halls laughing and shrieking, early risers who leave with a bang, loud talkers who yell next to my head, and babies who need to be soothed. All have ruined my sleep. This is the risk of staying in a hotel. You never know who is next door.
But I would never shame the parents of any of these offending parties. None of us know each other’s circumstances. We have to go through this world being kind to each other, assuming we’re all doing our best. After all, it takes a village to raise each child. And we need to consider ourselves as part of each other’s villages. Going through life writing nasty letters only spreads hate in this world.
Next time angry writers, I kindly suggest you put a pillow over your head and talk to the front desk about a room change. But you don’t know who will be on the other side of those walls either.
What do you think?