Childfree? Noisy Kids Upstairs? You May Be Asked to Suck it Up

My thanks to a reader, (let’s call her “Sally”) who sent in this very interesting article and link. As the Sally says, it’s probably not unique to the childfree.

I’ve made few if any changes to it because it didn’t need any changes. So anyone who thinks it’s “whining” just look away now and don’t read on.

I also read the article at the link below. And what I will say is this:

I was brought up in an apartment. We were six kids. The walls were pretty thick. But my parents were ALWAYS mindful of the neighbours – and as such if we were rowdy we got a telling off and were told to stop being noisy. None of this “be tolerant cause children need to be children rubbish.” What the..? Neighbours have every right to peace and quiet and you, dear parent, are responsible for seeing your kids understand that and abide by it.  Of course that means you must be willing to control, sorry parent them since kids go as far as they are allowed to go. If you can’t or won’t, move out and get a house. Apartments are not for everyone. They are for those who accept that everyone has the right to a peaceful abode.

I am thankful I live in a condo now where it looks like there are no kids. We’ve lived here for 5 years. If there are any kids they are very quiet as we never hear them. So everyone’s happy.  I must add we do have strict noise controls in the condo rules. Everyone signs up to them and our property manager takes all complaints very seriously. I just don’t understand people who seem to think everything should be relegated to the whim of kids’ noise. Having kids is not the benchmark for “tolerance”  and said “tolerance” is often a thinly-veiled order to “suck it up, buttercup – not our fault you’re childfree.”

Anyway, enough from me… for now. Read what Sally says and share your thoughts.

Sally’s story starts here:

“My husband and I live in a brownstone condo in NYC. With the exception of the nutters who moved in with their screaming child and then moved out within nine months, for six years we have enjoyed a blissfully quiet, childfree existence neighbor-wise.

That is until one month ago. A family with a toddler moved into the unit above us
and as God is my witness it sounds like a herd of buffalo up there. Their child seems to be possessed by the devil as he cannot walk, but only runs back and forth and back and forth on HARD WOOD FLOORS, dropping his little toys, which are
made of cement, as he goes.

This fun fest starts  at 7 a.m. and continues to 8 p.m. when they put him to bed.  I work from home and my quality of life has plummeted.  I’m so stressed I can barely focus and I feel like I’m being held hostage by a three year old.

To make matters far worse, Ms. stay-at-home mom has her girlfriends over EVERY afternoon from 2 until 5 pm and they brings their kids who also run around, scream and drop things.

Yesterday there were FOUR strollers in the hallway. I honestly thought my head was going to explode
from the noise. I mean it’s not like there aren’t at least ten coffee shops within two blocks from our building, yet they must turn our building into a daycare center. GET A LIFE!!!

Because we are civilized human beings, last week we left them a VERY nice note introducing ourselves and  explaining about the lack of soundproofing in pre-war buildings and how the running shakes our entire apartment.  We asked if they would be kind enough to put down rugs and rug pads to absorb the shock on the hard wood floors. When we moved in our downstairs neighbor mentioned that she could hear our cat running up and down, so we put down thick pads and thick rugs in the main rooms, including the kitchen because we are not jackasses. And I can say with a great degree of confidence that a 10 lb. cat makes far less noise than a 3 year old human.

In our case we have been ignored by our neighbors and now we have to take on a battle royale. I’m sure that because it’s a child making the noise they think we should just suck it up–because that’s how kids are. Or they’ll label us child-haters or worse. To me, noise is noise and I don’t care who is making it–
but I certainly don’t think you should get a free pass because it’s a kid. I see this as just another example
of the entitled parent phenom. We actually pay more than they do to live here, but yet because they
have a poor harmless child, in their minds, their rights supersede ours. They moved into a quiet building with
an existing community of quiet owners and apparently we must accommodate them. So now we either move, which
means selling which could take months and taking a loss in a crappy market or we sue or we report them to the city. In any case, it will be a major stress fest on both sides and undoubtedly unpleasant all because they can’t put down carpet and tell little Johnny to walk instead of run.  GRRRRR.

In my desperation to find a solution, I discovered this older article in the New York Times which
I thought you might find interesting and may be relevant to some of your readers. Because now all the young parents
want to maintain their edgy NYC persona they refuse to move out to the suburbs, even though it would
actually be better for their children because they would have space to run around. I don’t know what it is
like in Canada or London but as you can read in the article, children are becoming one of the most frequent cause of noise complaints in NYC.  In a very noisy city, that is a pretty frightening development.

I particularly enjoyed (sarcasm) the comment by the mother in the article who said that being a parent makes you more sensitive and understanding. As childfree we hear that all the time, but I’ve never heard it applied in this context. I think my situation is a perfect example of how truly selfish people with children can be. Because really in what way is she sensitive if she doesn’t understand how  she is disturbing her neighbors and that they have
rights too?
I know that she means that another mother would understand that life isn’t always perfect and kids will be kids. But as is clear in the case outlined in the article,  she is not being particularly sensitive or tolerant of her neighbors who chose to not have children and have different kinds of lives. Her sensitivity extends to her offspring. Oh, how very self-sacrificing!!  In my mind that doesn’t really count.What would be self-sacrificing would be if she said, “Hmmm, because I have a child maybe I can’t live in a charming pre-war brownstone because of the type of architecture used to construct these buildings since my son runs around like a demented and evil Chuckie doll every day and I have no intention of controlling his behavior or actually parenting him.” Instead, I’ll make my neighbors sacrifice for a child that is not theirs!  Awesome!!

Plus, I can GUARANTEE that if she had someone above her waking up her little darling from his nap with blasting hip-hop music her tolerance and sensitivity would undoubtedly be imperceptible to the offending party. I would also bet if she couldn’t earn a living because she couldn’t concentrate in her own home, she would probably feel remarkably less sensitive about noisy children.

While my comments and this article may be construed as “whining” by at least one of your readers, it was on my mind today :( and I wanted to share the story with you as yet another way those with children try to get over on the childfree.

Sorry for the rant and thank you so much for listening and for all that you do!”

Sally’s story ends here.

Thanks to “Sally” for both sharing – and writing this article. It must be a nightmare situation to be in.

Here’s the article link – I read the article: The noise children make is a growing source of complaints

And here’s the comment from the West Side Mother:

“I think you become a more sensitive person when you have a kid — you have to become more tolerant and understanding,” the Upper West Side mother said. “You kind of realize that life is not as tidy as you’d like it to be.”

My response to that? You don’t need to have a kid to be tolerant and understanding. And frankly I find it neither tolerant nor understanding if you expect other people to live with noise created by your offspring. My own parents never thought their kids had the right to disturb others just because we were kids.

What are your thoughts? As always feel free to share on the blog.