I walked down to the laundry room at my apartment (I know, I’m a peasant) and I saw some kids playing around outside on the never-used sand volleyball court nearby. The seven and four year old ran up to me as I was getting the laundry out of my car (it’s a far walk, okay) and was walking it up to the room.
I expected to see a parent inside, but the laundry room was empty. I just shrugged and figured they were nearby somewhere. I begin throwing my clothes into the washer and I hear one of the kids crying… The four year old was face-down in the sand just crying. The seven year old was standing over him, freaking out and telling him to stop. He gets up, hits her, and pushes her to the ground. Now she’s crying. She begins to pull his arms and push him down again. So, they’re fighting pretty roughly and someone might get hurt.
I finish putting my clothes into the washer, and no one has come to correct these kids. I’m finally like, “Okay, maybe I’ll say something to them.” I walk out of the room and look around… I don’t see a single adult watching from anywhere. All the porches are empty, and there’s nobody standing by the street. I decide I don’t want to get involved and I just go back to my car and drive off.
At first, I was completely judging the parents of these children. I was thinking, “Wow, some people don’t even watch their fucking kids.” And then I realized, my sister and I got into huge trouble around that age by leaving the house and going over to the neighbor’s house while my mom was taking a nap. She woke up later, couldn’t find us, and started panicking until one of the neighbors saw her out the window frantically searching for us and calling our names. These kids were probably pulling the same shit we did so many years ago.
I had never thought about how much we, people without children, assume that it’s easy to keep track of a kid. I have a dog, and it’s pretty easy to control and watch him because he’s not smart enough to open any doors or get into anything. At the worst, he’ll get into the trash. I’ve been completely forgetting that children get into everything and it’s extremely exhausting to watch them just to make sure they’re not running into the street or turning on the oven, or sticking the cat in the fan.
Having kids is hard and I feel for those of you who do it. I’ll try to be less judgmental in the future and I beg others without children to also take a step back.