You Have a Baby. . . in the Bar?

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This was written by a friend of mine, who we will call "Trish". She asked to write this for my site...please just remember someone else is writing

I know I am selfish. I know that I can barely keep my cats and myself alive, so I have no business getting a dog, or having a baby. In fact, I am fairly certain at 29 that I will probably be too selfish to have a child of my own ever. Maybe someday I will grow up, but I am not counting on it. At least I am self aware.

Since I am completely driven by my own desires, I can do whatever I want whenever I want, and one of my favorite things to do in Hoboken revolves around football. Every Sunday (or Monday night) for 16 weeks I show up at Mulligan's and sit in the back room cheering with 50-100 of my closest friends. A few weeks ago, an Eagles fan dubbed our Sunday meetings "The 700 Level." For those of you unfamiliar with the Eagles, The 700 Level refers to the upper deck in the Vet. The section was notorious for drunkenness, fighting and generally outlandish behavior. While we do not fight at Mulligan's, we are certainly loud and obnoxious (editor's note: Ummmmm, yea?), and the title is a good fit.

Most weeks I leave the bar with my voice reduced to a hoarse whisper and my ears nearly bleeding. In fact, it is not unlike the feeling I got when I walked out of Metallica concerts in the 90's, I am halfway deaf and have no voice. It is a GREAT time!

Knowing this type of debauchery is going on, imagine my surprise when halfway into the 3rd quarter a family walks into Mulligan's, a family with 2 small children, about ages 2 and 5. The kids seemed to be well behaved, I did not notice them crying (not that I would have heard them anyway) or being disruptive in any way. What I did notice, though, was that there were no seats for these kids, and that Mulligan's is a bar, not a bar/restaurant or a restaurant of any sort, just a straight up bar. I noticed that these kids came in following their parents and that they had no say in where their parents took them (the baby being in a carrier attached to the mother). I also noted the colorful vocabulary being used by the patrons as the Sillies lost and/or bad calls were made by the refs of the Eagles game.

Giving these people the benefit of the doubt, I figured they had no idea that their 5ish year old son was likely to get trampled if we started cheering wildly because no one would be looking down at the floor for a 3 apples tall person. I also figured that they must have walked in during a lull in the game and that they had not heard us chanting and singing. Most importantly, I gave them the benefit of the doubt and figured they would leave quickly once we got going.

I was wrong. What we actually had were two people who should never have had children at this point in their lives, bring their children into a situation that was unhealthy and potentially dangerous for them. These two were not young parents. Dad was clearly 10-15 years older than mom, and mom was in her early 30's. These people could not use youthful indiscretion as their excuse for their poor choice. In fact, it was clear that they had come to join a few of their friends, all of whom were in similar marital situations, but none of whom had brought any children with them.

My thought on this situation is this: When you have children, it is your responsibility to make sure that you care for them, and it is your responsibility to make sure that they are your #1 priority. It is incredibly obvious that if you want to go to a bar for the Eagles game, you need to get a sitter, even if you only stay for 30 or 40 minutes. The situation was dangerous, and it is clear that these two people were examples of incredibly selfish parents who put their own wants and needs in front of their children's well being. It makes me sick and my only regret is that I did not say something directly to their faces. I wish I had said something like "Are you here for your child's benefit, or your own?"

I can honestly say that when I asked my fellow Eagles fans if they had ever been to a bar at 5, every single one of them admitted that they had not. In fact, we all agreed that it was bad parenting that allowed these two buffoons to think it ok to have their children in that type of setting. And it was an absolute certainty that the kids did not want to be there. I watched as the 5 yr old first asked to go to the bathroom and then started pulling on his dad's arm to leave the bar. He was at the very least uncomfortable.

I have noticed that since smoking inside was banned in Hoboken, people have started treated bars like coffee shops and daycare centers. What needs to be considered and remembered by all is that bars are still a place of drunken debauchery and adult pleasures, and they really are no place for your children to receive an education in proper behavior. I am glad that the air inside is now clean enough for you to deem it breathable for your children, BUT, it must be noted that the people inside are still the types of people you do not want around your children. Drunks and children do not mix. And to be clear, I mean bars, I am certainly not talking about restaurants or even bar/restaurants with separate bar areas.

Children do not belong in bars, crowded or otherwise. Be responsible as a parent, or risk losing your children period. Next time I see something like this, I am going to say something, and then I will consider contacting the authorities. Grow up, or do not have children.


I'd like to say, based only on the account of what you have written, you sound correct, as far the facts. And I, as a parent, can say that for sure. However, I'd like to add:

1 - I'm tired of faceless/phantom cyber-journalism. If you feel this way and state "It makes me sick and my only regret is that I did not say something directly to their faces" and that the next time you'll "consider contacting the authorities", then why not sign your name, "Trish". Although, I have a strong feeling who you are.

2 - Be prepared. If you plan on confronting parents about the bad job they're doing, it's possible you may have to put up your dukes. Wrong or right, no parent wants to be told, especially by a non-parent, that they are doing a bad job. Coming from a stranger, it's worse ten-fold. Personally, I know I'm a great parent. Again, I would never put my children in the position you described. And I have witnessed over the years bad parenting by virtue of my job, as well as my children's travels (doctor's offices, parks, schools, etc..) but it's not my place to tell them what they're doing wrong. My feeling is, they'll take exception and possibly start a tirade.

3 - On a lesser note, you shouldn't base any of this on their age. Social standing? Yes. Lack of common sense? Yes. Ignorance? Yes. Selfishness? Yes. But I've seen all sorts of ignorant people who lack common sense of all ages. OJ Simpson comes right to mind, not that these people are killers or a stick-up crew or even Bonnie and Clyde. Perhaps they had a lapse and saying these, "two people who should never have had children at this point in their lives" is a bit unfair.

In closing, it's a noteworthy observation. My wife and I observe others' parenting skill sets and it helps keep us on our toes. Clearly, it's bothered you enough to broadcast it to the world. My feeling is, if they were friends with other Eagle's fans inside Mulligans and most of the club reads Sean's site, this should get back to them. Be prepared.

Actually, none of that matters. For liquor only establishments, it is illegal for anyone under 21 to be in the bar.

If mulligans allows it, their liquor license could be at risk. Lets face it, in the eyes of the law, it doesn't matter if the child is 5 or 20, just that they are underage. It also gives you a polite way to ask them to leave (or to have the bartender ask them) without questioning their parenting skills.

"For liquor only establishments, it is illegal for anyone under 21 to be in the bar."

Mulligan's has a kitchen and serves food (and was open during the game in question).

selfish parents--see them all the time.
it's like they want everyone else to suffer along with them so they drag their crying brood to inappropriate places and let them run around as if it's their living room.

WOW Janine, "suffer" is a harsh word. If you think parents are suffering, I hope you aren't and never will be a Mom. The original post does not say that the kids were misbehaving or bothering anyone. "Trish" was just making the point that a bar isn't an appropriate setting for children.

Okay guys, I was there as well. It was not a place for kids. We get loud and crude sometimes-- if I had a kid I would not bring them to Mulligans during an Eagles game. The kids were not misbehaved but they were out of place and more than 1 person made a comment "what the hell are kids doing here". I could be wrong but I thought maybe they were friends with one of the bartenders. It was NOT a place for kids. Nor should be in the future.

It's a fact that parents with multiple kids aren't exactly blissfully happy. There've been statisitical analyses of this--that people perceive they will be happy when they have kids, and long term they are--but when actually going through the child-rearing years, stress levels are up, and happiness levels come down. I'm not saying don't have kids, I'm explaining my "suffer" comment.
Anyway, there's a sense of entitlement among SOME types of a "hey, I'm A MOM, deal with it" attitude. It's selfish. Often the kids don't want to be dragged around to inappropriate venues either. In other cultures (some European countries) people have bounderies and believe in decorum, and you won't see screaming kids and camps of strollers at nice restaurants and quiet venues.

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This page contains a single entry by Furey published on September 24, 2007 12:09 AM.

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