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Boring AIBU of the day: Mums, children & seats on the bus... <yawn>

(81 Posts)
JodieHarsh Wed 28-Sep-11 08:49:58

Right, I apologise that this is so tedious, but it is a perfectly genuine AIBU - I have no idea, and as it happened I did rather wonder what MN would say.

I have a long bus ride to work. It is always busy, and this morning - weary after a bonkers few months, headachy, PMT-y and with sore feet - I was thrilled to get the last .

I was just settling into my book when a mother got on with 2 children, one about 4, the other about 3.

They were bonny, bright, cheerful kids, fairly biddable, but obviously (and who can blame them) mighty fed up with standing on a crowded bus.

The mother didn't seem particularly distressed or flustered, but obviously maintaining contol of 2 small children on a busy bus is not easy. There was a lot of "No, don't sit down. No, there aren't any seats. Hang on to your brother. No, hold the strap. I SAID DON'T SIT DOWN. Would you rather we walked, hmmmmm? I SAID COME BACK HERE!", that sort of thing.

They were right next to me and I was fully aware that if I gave up my seat the 2 children could have sat there together and the mother would have had an easier time of it.

But I didn't. My head hurt, my eyes were swollen with weariness, my feet ached, and I was in a terrible grump, and altogether thought that although the children were not Having Fun I needed my seat more than them.

Does a mother with children trump an able-bodied (if 'ageing', sore and weary) adult every time?

For the record, if I see a pregnant woman, someone elderly or disabled, or a mother who is in a right old state for whatever reason and could desperately do with a kind face, I would always bounce out of my seat.

Was I being unreasonable? Rarely for AIBU, I genuinely want to know, and am willing to be told.

NestaFiesta Wed 28-Sep-11 08:53:30

YANBU. It's the luck of the draw. She got on last so there were no seats. She seemed to take it in her stride and so did you. Don't feel guilty.

chickenchops Wed 28-Sep-11 08:54:07

Yanbu.
And They wouldn't have stayed sitting down in the seat you gave up

Doodlez Wed 28-Sep-11 08:57:19

I think you might have lifted your own spirits by offering the mother the seat for the children.

Random acts of kindness can make both the giver and receiver feel ever so slightly better about the world. IME!

That said, I feel for you - it's gonna be a long day...plan a 'nice' tea for tonight and an early night!

Birdsgottafly Wed 28-Sep-11 08:58:51

I just stick to the rule that if i am able to stand on that day (i get low blood pressure) for someone who needs the seat more than me, including children, then i stand. Adults can hold on, if a child was hurt on the bus then we are all going nowhere, whilst waiting for an abulance and statements are taken etc, so there is a practical side to it.

Tbh every time i have offered to stand it has always embarrassed a younger man into getting up, so mostly i haven't had to.

hester Wed 28-Sep-11 09:01:16

I don't think there's a rule for this one. It's all down to your judgement of how knackered you were, and how much the children needed to sit down. I would usually stand in this situation, but not always depending on how crap I felt.

Sometimes the 'hierarchy' does help (i.e. the unwritten law that people with disabilities get first dibs, then old people, then pregnant women, then mothers with small children). But sometimes you just have to use your judgement on who needs the seat most.

JodieHarsh Wed 28-Sep-11 09:03:24

Thanks all (including the YAB a bit U ones).

Birds I think that was the question I was internally struggling with - does a small lively child need a seat more than someone who's so weary they want to just sit on the kerb and bawl their eyes out. I realise manning up before offering a seat would have helped grin

Doodlez that is a lovely way of looking at it

chicken I did wonder if the seat would've been put to use. I don't have children d'you see, so this is all rather a mysterty to me...

featherbag Wed 28-Sep-11 09:29:45

When I was little my mother would've been mortified if an adult stood while I sat! Especially as in those days there used to be stickers on the backs of all of the seats saying that children travelling at child fare should give up their seats for adults. It still rankles when I see schoolkids sitting on buses while adults stand (takes off grumpy old woman hat for rest of day).

slartybartfast Wed 28-Sep-11 09:32:38

i dont think you need to give up your seat for a child shock
they can hold on . i wouldnt dream of it. and anyway i bet the motehr wanted the seat more.
i would have thought children shoudl be the ones giving up their seats shock

PetiteRaleuse Wed 28-Sep-11 09:36:48

YABU to give up the seat for the kids. You could have offered it to the mother though.

I hate seeing kids sitting when adults are standing.

Giving up seats for adults is one of the first basic things you learn as a child when learning to show respect for others.

JodieHarsh Wed 28-Sep-11 10:02:52

SEe that the thing, my mother would never have expected an adult to give me their seat...in fact if I'd been sitting down and a woman got on, I'd've been plucked from my seat before I could say "Seen and Not Heard."

Petite why offer a seat to the Ma? confused She looked one hell of a lot more perky and competent than I felt and if she'd've been sitting down she wouldn't have been able to get to the children!

I totes agree about the respect thing. And tbh I've never liked the idea that children always take precedence over everything in life - I think it gives a sense of early entitlement and being cossetted and not being able to cope when life finally deals you your first unfair blow. but I'm a bit british and 1950s like that hmm

fumanchu Wed 28-Sep-11 10:05:28

I also think you were fine to keep your seat. But as a parent when my two were small if we did get a seat I made sure the youngest sat on my lap rather than take up another seat - and I did this till he was about 7.

vess Wed 28-Sep-11 10:05:47

Small kids DO need to sit down IMO because they can't always hold on properly and can get knocked about as the bus turns round corners etc. They will try to move around and create disruption even if the parent is doing their best to control them, so it's best for everyone if they sit. I would have stood up unless I was really, really unwell, so YAB a bit U.
But then again, someone else could have done that - why should it be just down to you?

slartybartfast Wed 28-Sep-11 10:07:56

exactly, the point is it is mothers with children, ie. the mother puts the child on her lap. in an ideal world.
dont feel bad op. i wouldnt

PetiteRaleuse Wed 28-Sep-11 10:13:14

Not saying you should have offered one to the mother. Just that it would have been preferable to giving it up for the kids. I wouldn't have given a seat up to either TBH. If the mother is seated she can put whatever she is holding down and have a stable place from which to hold on to the kids. That's all.

I agree that basic things like giving a seat up for adults does help realise you're not entitled.

My little brother was a bit of an arrogant brat. I remember him refusing to give up his seat in the train for a lady, saying "I don't see why I should". This was the kind of behaviour he was allowed to get away with (that his sisters weren't).

20 years later he is still an arrogant pompous shit who thinks the world owes him a living. Not saying it's because of train incident, but the train incident was one of many examples of how he was going to turn out.

Hmm. I might do an AIBU about my brother one day. Grrr.

AChickenCalledKorma Wed 28-Sep-11 10:18:26

According to my mother, it is positively sinful for children to stand while adults sit. She was fizzing when a teacher with a school party didn't make some children stand so that mum and dad could sit down. We had a bit of a row about it, because I thought that the teacher was probably right to put the safety of the children first. Sign of the times, I guess.

In your case, I think I'd also have stayed put. But maybe given them a seat on another day when I wasn't feeling really rough!

LaBag Wed 28-Sep-11 10:18:36

YANBU. Does anyone else remember the sign that used to be in the buses

"Children under the age of 5 (?) travel free on the understanding that they do not occupy seats to the exclusion of fare paying passengers"

slartybartfast Wed 28-Sep-11 10:19:44

labag i think that still applies.

Sirzy Wed 28-Sep-11 10:20:24

If the mother was really struggling I would have let them have my seat but normally no I wouldnt.

I was always told to give up my seat for adults as a child and will tell ds to do the same when old enough. Really annoys me to see children having there own seat when the bus is full - they should sit on the adults knee, or if old enough stand up so the adult can sit

hester Wed 28-Sep-11 10:21:29

I don't think adults should give up their seats for schoolchildren, but small children are something else. Many 3 year olds can't safely keep themselves steady on a moving bus.

Hullygully Wed 28-Sep-11 10:23:29

I would have given them the seat in solidarity and sympathy with the mother.

ForYourDreamsAreChina Wed 28-Sep-11 10:26:35

I am also from the generation that was made to stand up, or sit on an adult's knee on a bus if there were any adults standing. dd (8) is also made to sit on my knee if there is an adult standing.

It's more complicated when there are tiny ones involved....on reflection, I'd probably have asked the mother if she wanted a seat, on the presumption then she'd gather the kids onto her knee (or at least the little one) but I'd probably wait and see if someone else did it first wink

YANBU not to have stood though, not at all.

JodieHarsh Wed 28-Sep-11 10:30:06

Sirzy I think if she'd been really, really harrassed and struggling I would have given it to her....

Hully I didn't feel any sympathy for her (is that awful?!) - she looked perfectly happy and competent, just having one of those normal mornings of crowd-control that I imagine motherhood does tend to bring.

I'm honestly not being bitter or unpleasant but surely being a Mum just does take extra sort of grit and powers of control and strength and you have to develop them, and not always expect others to accommodate you??

In case the sentence above sounds reall foul - truly, if she'd been in a state I would have bounced up and helped, but it just looked like a pretty oridinary bus journey, to my untutored eye...

TheHumanCatapult Wed 28-Sep-11 10:35:36

yes you should have stood up trying hold on to couple small dc and stand up is tricky . I would expect ds1 or ds2 to stand up for someone with small kids .( i can`t but i take my seat everywhere I go )

TheHumanCatapult Wed 28-Sep-11 10:36:38

as in waiting for someone else to give up their seat if everyone thought the same no one would offer .

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