Have you heard about the mother who got chucked out of her local cinema for rocking up to a screening of Bad Neighbours - certificate 15 - with her 11-week-old baby in tow?
It was a "totally humiliating" experience, the new mum said.
“I don’t get out that often and it can be difficult to find things you can do with friends,” she told reporters. “At just 11 weeks old my daughter is totally oblivious to what’s going on, she would have just gone off to sleep.”
The branch manager of her local Vue cinema seemingly didn’t share that view, however, and Mrs Ross was asked to leave in accordance with guidelines which state that children are only permitted in to films rated U, PG and 12A.
I’m reliably informed that the film in question also features a baby - oh, the irony - and that one particularly compelling scene shows said child infant putting a condom in its mouth. So we’re not talking about letting your baby tag along with the rest of the family to watch Frozen, here. Oh no, we’re in a whole different league of parenting dilemma.
So - is it wrong to expect to be allowed to take a baby with you when you go to the movies, or are the guidelines on banning babies a bit harsh?
“I took both my daughters with me to the cinema when they were babies,” says mum of two, Lorraine. “What’s the big deal, as long as the baby doesn’t scream throughout the film? The days of children being seen and not heard are long gone. Or at least they should be.”
Mrs Ross seemed to share that sentiment, and reportedly said: “If she was screaming and interrupting everyone I would totally understand and would never stay in the cinema, but she was completely fine.”
But mum of one, Kirsty, reckons that’s not the point, and wouldn’t dream of taking a baby to a cinema screening meant for adults. More to the point, she says she wouldn’t react kindly to having her social life curtailed by the presence of an uninvited baby, either.
“I’d be really annoyed if I was on a night out at the movies and someone brought a baby in,” admits Kirsty. “Of course we’re past the days where children should be seen and not heard, but there are still places where kids are a no-no, and parents should respect that. Taking your baby to a 15 film is like bringing your fella to a girls night out - there are some things that you just don't do!”
I’m with Kirsty on this. I wouldn't want to take a tiny baby to the movies, although I think mums who manage to do so deserve respect for their powers of organisation alone. But no film could be so unmissable as to warrant doing that, personally speaking. Most of the films I’ve watched on the big screen of late have been frankly forgettable, so it’s not as if I'd be missing the opportunity of a lifetime by giving Bad Neighbours a swerve.
“Why on earth not just wait for the DVD to come out?” agrees mum of three, Henrietta.
Most of us don’t just have TVs these days, either; we have all-singing-and-dancing home cinemas of our very own (plus the popcorn is way cheaper from your local supermarket) so it’s not as if you’ll be deprived if you forego the cinema until your baby’s old enough to be left with a reliable baby-sitter.
And yes, I realise that not every new mum is blessed with an army of willing and able babysitters, but isn't that what movie rental services were designed for?
Am I saying that new mothers shouldn’t leave the house after dark, or aren’t entitled to watch a movie when the mood takes them? Of course I’m bloomin’ not. I think the cinema over-reacted in this case, for what it’s worth.
And I get that new mums need to get out of the house, and that resuming some semblance of a social life can be a sanity saver when you’re getting to grips with life with a newborn.
But this isn’t really about whether it’s ok to take a baby to a film geared for adults, and it’s definitely not about which films are appropriate ‘viewing’ for babies.
What this really spotlights is that many of us try to carry on with life as normal when we become mums, without adapting life to accommodate a baby. I know, because I did it myself when my first child was born, and I think I did myself - and my baby - a disservice in the process.
Why do we do it to ourselves? And why did we ever do away with the age-old tradition of the babymoon? That’s come to mean a posh holiday with your other half before your sprog puts in an appearance and disrupts your capacity to travel to exotic locations, but it used to mean taking time out to just recover from pregnancy and birth and bond with your baby, without rushing to resume a ‘normal’ life.
I've since realised that I didn't need to hurry back to my pre-parenthood social life, just as there was nothing to be gained by starving myself to squeeze back into my pre-pregnancy jeans. Neither of those things really matter in the long-run, and one of the best things a new mum can do for herself and her baby is to slow down and take time to adjust to new parenthood and all the changes it brings to your life.
Take it from me; kids really do grow up too fast, and one day - all too soon - you’ll feel as if your mothering days have passed you by in the blink of an eye. You’ll probably never look back on your children’s childhoods and wish you’d spent more time bundling them into the cinema late at night so you could watch frankly forgettable films.
But you might just wish you’d slowed down a bit, and putting the brakes on trying to live like a non-parent is one way to do that.
And signing yourself up to your local parent and baby cinema screenings might be a good move, too.