Just when I thought the whole "babies in bars" debate had played itself out comes this: several beer halls have had to implement an actual "baby's last call." Usually around 7 or 8 p.m., it's the witching hour when parents and their little darlings will be booted out of the bar.
I've got to hand it to the tavern owners. They're just making official what we've always thought, albeit with the risk of pissing off a major section of their clientele.
But at what point do rules like these become intrusive and judgmental? At what point do the rules step too far into making decisions about someone else's parenting?
It's not that I disagree with a baby's last call, necessarily. I've seen what the local bar is like by 8 p.m. I wouldn't take a baby inside.
But I'm not every mom. And I've heard some fairly reasonable arguments from some moms as to why they take their babies into bars at night. Most point out that their babies are still fairly portable, and they're just going to sleep anyway.
Not sure I agree, but that's their choice, not mine.
Still, who am I to judge? Who are we all to set arbitrary rules about what time a baby should be home in bed?
I can't help but wonder if there's a point when society should just throw up its hands and say, "Listen, lady, if you want to screw up your kid, that's on you" and back away.
Because otherwise, where do we draw the line?
Baby's last call could easily be taken beyond the bars. Concert venues, for example, could start banning babies from late night concerts.
As a mom, I've had a secret wish that they would, if only to keep parents from taking an innocent little baby with delicate ears into an event that leaves my adult ears ringing for days after. But I know plenty of parents who would tear me a new one for even suggesting it.
And to be fair, taking your baby with you when you follow Dave Matthews or meet your buds for brews isn't child abuse. Not from a legal standpoint anyway.
At some point, we have to acknowledge that not everyone is going to parent the way we do. And no amount of rules about when parents "should" take their babies home is going to fix it.
How do you feel about baby's last call? Should parents be allowed to make that choice for themselves?
Image via psigrist/Flickr