Last week, I wrote about the importance of a world that embraces motherhood to the extent that it welcomes children into environments that wouldn’t necessarily seem to be child-friendly (such as school and work) as a means of enriching the lives of mother and child. This week, I found myself cringing a bit at the following video of NBA player Stephen Curry’s latest press conference, which featured an appearance from his adorable two-year-old daughter Riley. So, I decided to add a small caveat to my original argument.
Before you brand me a hypocrite, hear me out:
I’m not actually jumping on the “children shouldn’t be allowed at post-game press conferences” (or anywhere at all) bandwagon so vehemently championed by Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith. With the exception of safety issues, blanket bans are often ridiculous. An experience like this one — and so many others we don’t often feel comfortable including our children in for fear of judgment — can be enriching and it’s not fair to ban all children over fear of a little natural child behavior. Besides, I totally embrace the idea of kids joining their parents at work (hello, I work at Baby Babble Radio!) and I really would love to take my sociable little Boss Lady everywhere I go.
Here comes the but: It’s important to know your kid. Sometimes a combination of age and temperament means an event or setting isn’t for your little one at that particular time. For example, due to the fact that my 18-month-old daughter only seems interested in playlists consisting of three-minute Sesame Street clips, I wouldn’t bother taking her to the movies at this point. On the other hand, I know moms who swear their toddlers are mellow enough to enjoy a full-length movie, and more power to them (I would love an excuse to go see Home).
When it comes to work (which is what Curry was doing), that’s even more crucial. I was the weird sort of toddler my mother could take to work and actually be productive while I sat quietly with a coloring book and a cup of milk. My brother at the same age? Not so much. And our mom knew it. I’m not necessarily saying this is true for Riley Curry. Truth be told, that’s a matter for her parents to decide and, according to her dad, it was a pretty nerve-wracking impromptu experience. Besides, most people (journalists included) loved it and agree that he still managed to give a good press conference. I also agree that the “bring your kid to the press conference” sessions are a great way to liven up what is often a rote experience, humanize athletes and pull the attention of people who aren’t generally sports fans. I definitely thought it was cute too (though I did cringe a bit for him when she started disappearing under the table) so, no harm no foul.
In a general sense, though, particularly where work is concerned, it’s always a good idea to know your child’s limitations. It tends to be better for all involved and it’s a surefire way to ensure that an enriching experience doesn’t turn into an exasperating one. This is why — while I don’t mind (much) that the Boss Lady ends many of my business calls with a background “Bye Daddy!” — I’m not going to take her to meetings, media interviews and other miscellaneous PR moonlighting stuff just yet. As much as I’d love to have her tag along, I’ll wait until she’s a little bigger, when she’ll get more out of it and I won’t be distracted by trying to keep her from climbing a TV camera.
So, what do you think? Was Riley’s performance too cute or too much? Is all the fuss much ado about nothing? Do you think parents should be able to take their kids everywhere regardless of age or temperament? Tell us in the comments! *****
Calisa is the exhausted mother of an energetic, (generally) good-natured and ridiculously sharp toddler whose sole mission in life is obviously to keep mommy on her toes. She spends much of her time reading board books, changing diapers and saying “Ah-ah-ah! Mommy said ‘NO’!” while counting down the hours to bedtime.