Sunday, January 4, 2009

Inconsideration Stinks

It never ceases to amaze me how clueless and inconsiderate some people are - especially parents who think they are the center of the universe.

My family was over last night for a big get-together to celebrate several birthdays as well as the holidays. This included my husband's brother and his girlfriend who have a 19 month old son (my nephew). At one point, I walked into the living room, and what did I see? My brother-in-law's girlfriend changing our nephew's diaper ON OUR COUCH - with no barrier between him and the couch.

Now I ask - am I just cranky or is this incredibly inconsiderate and disgusting? Sadly, this is not an isolated incident. I have many times witnessed people changing their kids on other peoples' furniture, carpets, whatever, with no barrier.

I understand that children in diapers must be changed and I am all for a freshly-changed child. I would even be okay with a baby being changed on our couch if someone really wanted to do that. But would it kill a parent to bring along some kind of changing pad or something else to put under the baby to protect my furniture? Or if they forgot to bring a changing pad, how about asking me for a trash bag or something to put under the baby before they change him? I mean, I love my nephew to pieces, but am I being unreasonable to expect someone to take the proper measures to protect my couch when changing their child's diaper on it?

Oh, that's right - it doesn't matter what I feel and think or what my expectations are. I am not a parent or a child, so my needs and expectations can be ignored.

I think the next time I have my period, I will pay a visit to my brother-in-law and his girlfriend and when it comes time to change my tampon, I'll forego the trip to the bathroom and will whip it out right on their couch and see what kind of reaction I get.


Steph said...

That is disgusting. I am a generation older than two of my siblings and have changed many diapers. I have never, nor has anyone I have witnessed, ever changed a diaper without putting a bath towel under the kid.
Mishaps happen. The last thing you want is poop on your furniture, or for the kid to pee mid-change.

eyemandy said...

I think YOU'RE being inconsiderate! I mean, that baby had to poop and all it had to get changed on was your couch! The humanity! Why do you not have a special, magical baby-changing station at your house for the world's babies to get changed on when in your home? Rude!

I wouldn't have been as polite as you were (assuming so, since you didn't mention throwing them out on their behinds like a sundae with a baby on top).

Unknown said...

I agree with the title. And I believe it has little to do with childfreedom, it's just plain inconsideration. I always had a changing pad with me AND a little towel for such routines. AND I would ask if I can do it on somebody's couch before doing it. If for some reason I had to do it asap, and there was no time to ask, I'd just do it on the floor (still, with the pad and towel, of course).

In fact, I think most bad things that people attribute to parenthood/childed-ness, are just rudeness and inconsideration. I remember when I was a teenager, a neighbor coming over with a 5 year old son who'd grab books, toys and start throwing them around. No permission from the child to do it, no apology from the mother. Me AND my mother were both shocked. I never behaved that way as a kid in other people's houses.

I have a daughter now who is 5 and she NEVER behaves like that. Nor did she do it in her "terrible two" stage. AND if for some reason she did, let me assure you, not only would I apologize - I wouldn't even bring her over with me anymore.

Was my neighbor that way because she was a mother? I doubt it. I think many people are just inconsiderate, but I wouldn't say that all parents are that way. Unfortunately, too many are :(

Hope the couch got lucky and stayed clean ;)

Childfreeeee said...

Hi eyemandy,

When I told my husband about this incident (he wasn't in the room when it happened), he was shocked that I didn't say anything. I guess since it was a pee diaper (and not a poop diaper), I kept my silence to keep peace in the family (our family tends to always be on the verge of a fallout, so I try to pick my battles).

Hi Ellie,

I agree with you that not ALL parents are inconsiderate and this situation has to do more with inconsideration than with whether a person is a parent or not. Having said that, I have noticed that otherwise polite and considerate people seem to let a bit loose with their manners once they have kids, as though having kids gives them more leeway with manners. In our culture in which children now run the show, everything centers around kids - keeping them happy, taking care of them, protecting them, catering to them. So people do anything they can do to achieve these things, even at the expense of others and the expense of good manners.

My brother's girlfriend is generally a polite and considerate person but it's like now that she has a child, she gets a free pass to subject everyone around her to obnoxious behavior.

firefly said...

I hate to ask, but what happened to the soiled diaper afterward? Did they take it with them, or were you expected to dispose of it?

Funny how dog owners are expected to bag up and cart home Fido's leavings, and people wrinkle their noses over scooping litter pans, but exposure to human waste is Not A Problem -- as long as it's a child's!

Childfreeeee said...

Hi firefly,

She threw the soiled diaper in the trashcan. Thankfully it was only pee so it didn't stink up the whole house.

Feh23 said...

Just discovered your blog, great!

I would agree that certain people, once they become parents, seem to let all manners and consideration fly out the window. And I would say this IS a parent issue, it's not like they were changing any adult diapers on the couch, drinking all your booze, groping each other in your front yard, or other acts of rudeness that any adult could engage in sans children. Rude, very rude.

DormantDragon said...

Haviing just done a first-aid course, I can say that if you are entitled to check for danger and reduce the risk of cross-infection before saving someone's life, I would think the same would apply for changing a diaper, for christ's sake...

Me said...

I agree with Ellie that this is totally a basic issue of consideration irrlevant to children. The thing that 2 years of my husband's chronic illness and 3 years of infertility have tought me is that we live in the society of egocentricity and entitlement and people ALMOST NEVER stop to think about how what they are doing will make someone else feel. They assumed that because this is ok in their house, that is ok in yours. It is that simple. (and stupid.)

Gumby said...

That would make me want to go to their house and just light up a cigarette without asking (even though I don't actually smoke). Then when someone would say something or give a look, just act surprised and say I figured if it's OK for me at my house I just assumed it was OK at theirs. You know, like changing diapers on furniture!

Corrinne said...

I agree with Gumby... I am a smoker unfortunately and I don't even light up a cigarette OUTSIDE if I am near someone that I am unsure of if it will bother them. I ask. And yeah, one big thing that drives me nuts. Kids are allowed to put their grimy hands all over food and everything in stores, yet they make a big deal over a 4 pound dog that stays in my arms at all times... ugh.

I am not saying they should allow dogs necessarily, but come on... kids run into me and like I said, rub their grimy hands on everything. *shiver*

Krissy said...

First of all, I love your blog. I don't remember how I found it, but recently I have been going through and reading all of your posts and I think they are wonderful.

I am 25 now and have never pictured myself as a mom. As soon as I got married I started getting the dreaded question..."so...when are you guys having kids??" The truth of the matter is that I've never WANTED kids. Never once have I had the desire or even pictured myself as a mom.

Anyway, I work with a pregnant woman that always seems to ask me about when I'm going to have kids. Because I'm considerate, I try not to say that I DON'T WANT kids, but I politely change the subject or say that it's "not for me right now."

Her and I got into an argument about this VERY subject. I told her that I have seen people changing their kids' diapers on the couches at the department stores in the women's lounge areas and how nasty I thought it was. I said that was the purpose of the CHANGING TABLE in the bathroom. She said the changing tables are full of germs. We got into it and I told her that I hate sitting on the couches there because of this very reason and she called me "ridiculous" and said that I am "bratty" for thinking this. What is wrong with people? I'm glad you are sane. Finally. Someone who GETS IT.