The other day I was sitting in a cafe in Amman, which was clearly not for kids. In fact, it was one of those cafes that offered you a place to work, free WIFI, and a fabulous selection of coffee. My main aim was to get some work done, but sadly that plan was interrupted when the table right next to mine was suddenly occupied by a woman, a man, and three very noisy kids. One kid was busy pulling his sister’s hair, while his sister was whining to her mother about her brother. The third, and older kid was busy reciting to his father his science lesson in details. The father was listening but he was also busy reading something on his iPad. The more the father read, the louder the boy got. Pretty soon, everyone in the cafe knew more about reptiles than they did earlier in the day. Later, the younger boy who was pulling his sitter’s hair turned to face the fish tank behind him, as his mother told him to leave his sister alone who by then was crying.”Watch the fish tank both of you.” she said as she sipped her coffee and continued to chat on her mobile.
The colored fish in the tank did not have the power in them to calm the little boy or girl down, instead they inspired them to shout out to everyone in the cafe what each fish was doing. I looked up from my laptop, hoping that the mother would get the hint that her kids were noisy. Unfortunately, she ignored me completely. In fact, she even ignored her kids who only got louder and more distracting with time.
After they each drank their smoothie, the kids, who were now fueled on sugar, left the table. I guess they decided to distract everyone else in the cafe. They slid on the railings, entered the kitchen to ask waiters questions, and they decided to play tag on the stairs.
The mother, who obviously was immune to the noise they were making, didn’t so much as tell her kids to calm down. Instead, she drank her coffee while her oblivious husband continued to do whatever it is he was doing on the iPad. A few minutes later the youngest of the three came crying to her mother because her older siblings beat her in the running race they were having at the stairs. So, with great motherly love , her mom asked her if she wanted chocolate cake. You see, a crying kid does get quiet with more sugar, or so this mommy thought.
This little bribe was enough to keep the girl quiet for two whole minutes, but when the order arrived she said in a whiney tone “I wanted Oreo cheese cake not chocolate cake.” The mom didn’t respond instead, she tried to convince the girl of all the benefits this extra sugar will do to her energy. Finally, the girl reluctantly agreed to eat the cake, but between each bite she displayed exceptional music talents as she banged the fork at the table and on the glass plate. Her mom looked up from her mobile and smiled to the little darling as she said “Enough sweety enough. The nice lady wants to work,” while pointing at me. At that point I wanted to tell her “Who me?, work? , really ?” By then the girl’s brothers came back, and the three argued for the rest of their evening about which animal is the fastest in the Animal kingdom. In the background, the little girl continued to bang her fork in her plate, and I went to my next appointment with nothing dome.
I guess the mom got to relax from the responsibilities of parenting for an hour, and she made everyone else in the cafe enjoy her charming kids.
Personally, I wonder why a man and woman would feel the need to take three noisy kids to an quiet cafe when there are so many other places in this city that are more fit for kids. To me, this situation raises many questions about the mommy pass some mothers in Jordan feel they have. Let’s face it, some mothers feel that they only need to parent their kids at home, while outside their doorstep, the kids are everyone else’s responsibility. I wonder where this sense of entitlement comes from. Maybe it comes from the fact that motherhood gives women a sense of accomplishment like none other. It comes from a society that makes motherhood a must, even for those young ladies who don’t feel maternal. So, the non-maternal ladies give birth anyway, but then they don’t even know what to do for their kids and instead they take them to a cafe so they can forget about them and relax. Of course, I don’t generalize . Some mothers are amazing parents and they deserve our admiration.
The idea of the free mommy pass given to those women who are non-maternal moms is only my modest theory, but it’s food for thought