Saturday, June 23, 2012

Family Friendly

Recently I had Heather from Women in the Scriptures over for lunch.  How fun to actually meet her in person!  She was telling me about how she got to take her kids swimming at a pool, but kid hours were only for 1 or 2 hours the whole day -- and those hours were right in the afternoon during nap time!  How family unfriendly is that!?

Then, I remembered a story my husband told me about our friend who lived in Germany as a girl.  At that time, in their location, some grocery stores did not allow children (maybe they still don't).  Are you kidding me?  How would you ever get the shopping done?  She and her siblings had to wait outside while their mother went in and shopped!

Are we really trying to make it more inconvenient for families these days?

I realized these problems aren't just happening in other countries and in big cities, but in my own little city!

At our local rec. center, there's quite a walk from the parking lot to the main entrance (unless you get a good parking spot). However, there's an exit door that is close to the pools that people sometimes sneak in.   One day, when I was pregnant and feeling particularly gross and light-headed, taking two kids to swimming lessons, and trying to get a one year-old to walk fast, I decided to go in those exit doors, because walking around to the main entrance would add probably 5 minutes to our travel time.  (OK, maybe it wasn't 5, but it was at least 3 that felt like 5).  An older worker lady saw us and told us to go around.  I didn't give her any flack, but just turned right around and inched my way toward the real entrance because I knew I was in the wrong.

I came home and wrote a letter to the rec center suggesting that they could be more family friendly by opening up that exit door just for swim lesson time (you don't have to show any proof that you're there for lessons, you just say you're there and they open the gate at the main entrance, so there's nothing special about going the long way).  I told them my experience of being a pregnant mother of young children and that that small thing would help me so much.  I never did hear back, and they never did open the door.  So much for making things nicer for young families during swimming lessons.

Anyway, what's my point?  I guess I just think it's sad that we're becoming more family unfriendly.  I wish I'd even remember how hard it is with little ones when I have my times where I don't have little ones.  I can't tell you how many times I've been at the store and have seen the struggling mother and thought, "Aw, she can handle it, she's used to this chaos.  She's tough, I'm sure."  But really, she's probably about ready to cry, and I need to remember how hard it is!  We all need to remember to lend a hand and ease the burdens of those struggling with containing their little children.  I wish we had more places like Toys-R-Us and our pediatrician's office that has special parking for moms with babies.

Have you seen businesses/products be more family friendly/unfriendly?  What can we do to be more helpful to families?

7/26/12 Update:  Saw this on today about the No Kids Allowed Movement.


Raisin4Cookies said...

I don't know about businesses or society in general, but I do try to be sensitive to parents struggling with little ones in public. I recently gave a huge smile to a mum whose baby was screaming down the grocery store. It's not much, but I hope she felt the kindness that was meant.

We could all do with being a bit more kind to one another, regardless of our life circumstances. :)

(and can I just say, I'm kinda jealous you got to have lunch with Heather!)

Emily said...

Thanks, Raisin! You're right! We can ALL do better!

Robyn said...

Okay so I know the rec center you speak of and it does have a ridiculously long walk. Not sure, but I don't think they had input from young mothers on that one. My local rec center is not all that family friendly either for different reasons so I just don't go there for swim lessons anymore.