Ms. Demeanor's Vertical Etiquette

Dear Ms. Demeanor: My neighbor uses the lobby as a daycare for her son. Should I get involved?

Either offer to babysit the kid or zip it.

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Question:

One of my neighbors makes her little boy wait in our lobby after school, sometimes for as much as an hour or more. It’s really none of my business but I feel bad for the kid. My super usually gets distracted from his work and ends up chatting with the boy. Should I get involved? Signed, Childfree and Concerned

Answer:

Dear Childfree,

You should get involved only if you want to help, rather than judge. I understand that you feel badly for the child, but consider the parent as well. There is nothing more difficult than being a working mother. Childcare options are elusive at best and very expensive at worst. Many parents just do not have anywhere to send their children after school that is safe and affordable.

If you really want to help, introduce yourself to the mom and offer to host her son for the hour or so he’s waiting—it sounds like you work from home. If she agrees, you will be doing a great favor to both mother and child. If she does not want the boy going to your apartment, perhaps you could take some time to talk to him in the lobby so that the super is not distracted.

I live in a doorman building where many parents and nannies use the lobby as a play area. We constantly remind them that it is inappropriate for the children to hang out in the halls and lobby but it still happens. New York City is not known for its spacious living quarters and in winter, children get cabin fever and have no place to go. The lobby seems ideal. But, yes, it does distract the staff and the last thing a prospective buyer wants to see is children running around the lobby.

So, try and help this mom. You, the little boy, and the super will all be better off. A win-win for all. 

Ms. Demeanor


Dianne Ackerman is the new voice of reason behind Ms. Demeanor. She has lived in her Upper East Side co-op for the past 20 years and is the vice president of her co-op board. She is filled with opinions that she gladly shares with all who ask—and some who do not. Have something that needs sorting out? Drop her an email.