Mama At the Movies
Before and during my pregnancy, it never seemed like a dilemma. I’d been to the movies with other people and their babies without incident. I’d been to movies where other people in the audience brought babies, and it was not an issue. However, after the first movie my Husband and I decided to see once our Son was home from the hospital, going to movies became a great debate.
I know many people are on the other side of the fence, or even on it. I enjoy movies, and I’ve found that my Son being at films with me to have generally gone well. The inconveniences have been missing bits to change a diaper or make a new bottle, or the occasions when I can see a fuss coming and I need to leave the theater before he makes any noise, or to walk or rock him to sleep behind the back row before he makes noise. When I attend a film, we bring bottles, formula, water, crackers, baby food, cookies, pacifiers, a blanket, diapers and a change of clothes. We also go with the full awareness of the fact that we need to be willing to walk away from a movie at any time if the baby becomes bothersome to the other people in the room.
Firstly, to those who hate kids at movies, you have to understand that our lives are work, sleep (when we can get it), stress, dirty diapers and Netflix for Kids. My Husband and I almost never get to go out, let alone on dates. We’ve accepted our baby as a necessary tag-a-long and have tried to keep the romance alive (sometimes unsuccessfully), But we need things to get excited about the way kids do. Things that aren’t a new fixture for our house, or a new item for sale at work. Kids, they are wonderful, but they are also stressful. The bulk of my vacation I’ve ever had has been spent on sick days, hospital stays or just plain paid out with no time off at all. I haven’t had a job where I actually got half hour breaks in four years, and that job was four months long. Before that, it had been five years before that. I’m nearly thirty and I’ve taken one vacation in my entire adult life- one I spent with my ex’s parents, sharing the back seat of a Honda Pilot with two other people, cramped and sweaty, driving through the prairies- one, might I add, that really marked the end of that relationship.
All that being said, it shouldn’t be a lot for me, or anyone else in my position, to ask to be able to see a movie, even if we can’t get or afford a babysitter. Too many people these days don’t even bother going to the theater, or acquiring their movies legally. The theater staff and owners are always very accommodating to family folk like us- we take the kids to movie matinees and family events, we come in and see the anniversary re-releases, and we are part of the loyalty programs that allow us to see films regularly and afford to do it. Their other guests are not always so accommodating.
Sometimes people will see a stroller and roll their eyes, or make judgments about having a child in a movie. My Son is very adaptable to noise and has never had a problem sleeping through a film even in a theater. If he makes any noise whatsoever during a movie, on the odd occasion, someone rude will have something to say about it, even if he made a single noise that was less offensive than people texting, using their cell phones, talking through or heckling at the movie screen in groups of stupid. So even though occasionally I have to sit through a group of 5-10 morons who think a run-on commentary is what I paid for, if my kid makes noise, they get to complain to me while I keep my mouth shut.
All in all though, most movies I have been to since he was born have had at least one other family with at least one infant in the audience. I never feel alone. It’s nice that other parents are unwilling to sign away all of their lives. We’ve given up partying and doing things spontaneously. Don’t take away our movie nights.