Viral videos: Why parents are terrified to go out in public with kids

So thanks a buttload, Internet. Because utterly mundane child-related shenanigans now become national news on a regular basis, this already-anxious parentis abjectly terrified to take her daughter literally anywhere in public. She’s 6 months old, and accordingly spends half her time being an illegally adorable cherub and the other half as a 2-foot asshole. Like most first-time parents, I am convinced that I’m terrible at it, and that fear is compounded by the very real possibility that something bad might happen when I’m out with her: a breast-feeding creep-shot, a mistimed diaper blowout in an establishment without a changing table, an overtired meltdown.

You might argue that the Internet makes everyone look bad indiscriminately, and that’s just what the Internet is for. To that I parry back with approximately 9 million cat videos and occasional stories of hero cats—those hero cats are heroes, yes, but are they representative of cats as a larger species? I love cats, but cats are aloof and recalcitrant and, unlike most small children, their frequent episodes of vomiting and defecation are often intentionally aimed out of spite at their minders’ most cherished possessions. Why does the Internet bathe cats in a rosy, whiskered glow but children—most of whom eventually grow into reasonably conscientious adults—are cause for heated national debate?

Here’s a revolutionary proposition: If you’re a parent and you get mistreated in an establishment, write a strongly worded private missive to that establishment, or have a terse private word with the proprietor. More often than not, you will get a profuse apology and a bunch of free stuff. If, on the other hand, you witness a misbehaving child, make a bon mot under your breath about crating that thing like a civilized person, and then go on with your damn day.