Nosy Neighbor Writes Letter Shaming Parents For Apartment-Living

by Mike Julianelle
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An anonymous letter shames parents for apartment living with their two kids

Parents get judged for everything these days, but this may be a new one. A couple received an anonymous letter from someone who thinks they’re harming their children by living in an apartment near the beach.

A story in the San Diego Union-Tribune details the letter a Mission Beach couple received from some creepy jerk who decided he or she knows what’s best for their kids.

The couple, who have lived in their two-bedroom apartment on the beach for nine years, are stunned and freaked out.

Kelly Bruning, a stay-at-home mom, recalled how she felt when she got the note. “My initial reaction was just shock. It was just a bunch of emotions all at once.” And now she and her husband, a civil engineer, can’t help but feel paranoid. “I’m wondering whose eyes are on me,” said Brüning. “It’s a scary and strange feeling to go through.”

The letter chastised the couple for not providing enough space for their kids. “Because you like the beach your kids are trapped in a tiny one bedroom upstairs apartment,” the letter reads. Kids need a yard to play in. A swingset or a trike to ride when they want to, not when it’s convenient for you…”

Yeah, pardon my French, but fuck you.

I live in Brooklyn in a “tiny” two-bedroom apartment. My kid had a trike once, and he never rode it, whether it was convenient for me or not. He doesn’t have a swing-set, unless you count the 10 playgrounds within ten minutes. He doesn’t have much of a yard to play in, unless you count the 10 parks we can walk to.

Everything in life is a trade-off. My wife and I tried the suburbs, and we decided we were willing to forego extra space and a lower cost of living for the lifestyle the city affords. Neither is inherently better, it’s a personal choice. The idea that a stranger thinks they know how your children feel, or that they know better for them than you do, is absurd and offensive.

The outpouring of support the Brunings have received from more neighborly neighbors has helped assuage any fears that the letter-writer isn’t alone in judging the family. “It’s so wonderful,” she said. “It made me feel like the letter is insignificant.”

And they aren’t letting the judgment of an anonymous weirdo with bizarre ideas about other people’s lives cloud their choices. “You know what? We love our boys,” she said. “We give them a life we think they’ll appreciate later on.”

When you have kids, you have to make tough decisions, and you’re always considering the effect your choices will have on your kids. The last thing any of us need is a snotty stranger deciding we’re not parenting up to their standards.