In the interest of full disclosure, I will say that I am not a mother, have never been a mother, and do not want to be a mother; however, I have noticed, over time, that many people who have birthed children are not all that parental either.
Case in point: Today I went to the optometrist. There were seven kids in the waiting room; four of the kids had no parent/guardian with them, and the other three had one parent who didn't do anything when her toddler tried to come into the exam room with me.
Several times that kid toddled off into the back, and the mother would look at him and say, "Do you want a spank?" And the kid would look at her and keep going. AND SHE DIDN'T EVEN GET UP. Another of her sons would go and bring the kid back.
From listening to the other four kids (as they were running all over the place), I gathered that two of them didn't even belong to the (presumed) patient, who never made an appearance as far as I could tell. It irritates me when a person expects the receptionist to babysit for her; that is not part of the job description. And it is not my job, either, as a patient, to corral other people's kids and make them behave themselves.
Here's the thing:
Optometrist appointments are often set up in advance. My optometrist is even nice enough to send a card one month ahead of my appointment, and then call me the day before my appointment, to remind me. I would think that this would give parents enough notice to find a babysitter, or to make other arrangements, or (if all else failed) to threaten their children within an inch of their lives, which is what my mother did.
For those who are unsure about how to approach going to the eye doctor with kids, here are some rules that I just made up:
1. Do not bring your children's friends to the appointment.
2. Shoot, don't even bring your own children, if at all possible.
3. Take that kid into the exam room with you.
4. Or, tie him to a chair until you get back.
5. Or, at least make sure he is occupied with a book, PSP, candy bar, whatever.
6. If you're in the exam room for over an hour, maybe check on your kids every once in a while.
7. Tip the receptionist. I believe the going rate for babysitters is about $12.00/hour.
8. Apologize profusely to all the other patients who had to endure your children's bad behavior.
Ugh. I'm definitely never having children; I knew it already, but now I'm doubly certain. Triply. Quadruply!