I didn’t state that people who don’t have kids aren’t entitled to their opinions. If the Internet has proven anything, it’s that everyone feels very, very entitled to their opinions. What I’m suggesting is that if you don’t have kids, you don’t know the 24/7 reality of tracking small humans. You just don’t. Sorry, being a soccer coach and babysitting your nephew aren’t quite the same thing. Not even close.

I think most (at least some?) responsible parents who know their kids are straight up out of control or have profound issues with self control in public spaces (say, a child with autism who is non-verbal or is otherwise unable to communicate back and forth with his or her parents) take measures to keep their kids glued (or leashed!) to their sides. But I’d argue that the vast majority of small children don’t fall into that category. They’re just kids. Kids who might get a bee in their bonnet and take off ONCE given a two-second opening. Humans are unpredictable. Kids are human. It’s not that hard to comprehend.

But to answer your question, YES for fuck sake, if a mother turned away for one second and her child ran into the street and got hit by a car and died, YES I actually would have loads of empathy for her. Being human, getting distracted for even a second, can have tragic consequences. I can’t imagine a worse fate than to be in any way responsible for your own child’s death. But I applaud you for the state of grace and sheer level of perfection with which you are living your life. Well done!

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AMATEUR HOUR (2018) and BUT YOU SEEMED SO HAPPY (2021) | The New York Times, The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, The Cut | kimberlyharrington.me

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