I wish I could right societal wrongs. Heck, I wish I could even write about societal wrongs, but with two little kiddies, I can barely manage that. Except for now – when I have a few moments, and a recent event that happened to me that is just begging to be written down.
Israeli society is pretty kid-friendly. And I don’t mean safe. I mean, Israel as a State smiles upon the having-of-children (unless they’re Arab or Chareidi – Joke! But serious.) In fact, you get money from the State for every kid you have! (Not a lot, but still.) Maybe it’s because when the State was founded post-Holocaust, Jews were intent on recreating what we had lost. Or practically, maybe Israel’s founders wanted to ensure more hands and future leaders. Whatever it is, I have found that in Jerusalem, people are generally friendly towards kids.
Except for the people in this one clothing store on Rechov Yaffo, Cinderella.
They don’t seem to espouse their country’s smiling-upon-kids policy. I know this first-hand, because last week I got yelled at for letting my 1.10 year old out of the stroller in the (uncrowded) store. It was a pretty crazy scene; the store workers started yelling at me to control my child (who wasn’t doing anything, she was just elated to be free) and I was vascillating between a state of disbelief and mounting anger (picture incredible hulk, with a double stroller).
I would totally understand if my daughter had been running around, hyper, pulling clothes off the wracks or making a general balagan. But she wasn’t! And I do not espouse the laissez faire (or Israeli) parenting philosophy of letting kids grow up unsupervised. I supervise. I intervene. For good and for bad.
To make a long story short, I wasn’t treated very nicely, and I vented about it in the Brand New Mamas Group on Facebook. And I got a lot of nice support from other mamas. Sadly though, I got this support because many had experienced similar ill-treatment in various stores across the city!
And so, I’m here to vent some more. Not fair! Yes, I know that kids can be annoying. Kids can break things. Kids can wreak all sorts of havoc that adults can’t even begin to dream up. But why should parents (or mothers) get blamed before the kids even do anything? (Or for nursing, covered, in a store as one mother was yelled at for. Oh, did I mention it was a BABY store?)
Somehow, somewhere, sometime, there has been this shift in Israeli society from valuing kids to not being able to stand their very existence in a retail store.
So hey, store owners and workers – get your acts together. This country was built on the value of loving and encouraging children. And maybe, you can dig deep into your hearts to remember that you, your mother, your sister or daughter was once a young mother, and she might have been treated badly too. So make amends.
(Now where can I post this so that the right people will see?!)