Posted by on September 22, 2014

The table in front of us has a family that includes two children. They are roughly 3 and 6 years old. A boy and girl. Maybe siblings. Maybe cousins. Either way, they seem like they enjoy being there.
The boy is coloring something in a
book. He’s quiet, at first, but yells his conversation a bit later. He eats and talks. He is engaged in the conversation. He’s eating everything in front of him.
The girl hasn’t stopped screamsinging “Let It Go” despite shushy requests from the adults at the table. They have been giving the I’m so sorry grin to adjacent patrons. She eats in-between song verses and all I can think of is “Hey, at least they are eating”.

Because I’m a parent and I know exactly how they are feeling. My kids could be their kids. But despite the possible perception that they are rude or impolite, my perception is one of envy.
I’m very jealous of this family right now.

See, my kids aren’t eating. They are complaining about being there and the food that they asked
for. My girl is singing just as loud but is whining in-between verses. The girl at the other table is clearly happy and singsonging her joy. My kid? She’s just making “noises of annoyance”. She whines that she wants to go home. My boy just refuses to eat. He’s begging for the phone so he can play. He has started lying down in the sitting area, complaining that he’s tired. The whines come in waves. I just want my kids to eat and allow me to eat
in some freaking peace.

I’m not a bad parent. My husband isn’t a bad parent either. We work very hard to get our children to understand manners and what is appropriate behavior in public places. A lot of times, they are more than accommodating but in restaurants there is some kind of force field and it repels the good manners that my kids wear on their sleeves. No other public place does what sit down eating places do to my offspring.

So why go? Why put ourselves through that? Because we don’t want to be limited to a fast food place with a play area to sit and eat a meal. Because Chuck E Cheese should be a birthday party place only. Because my hubs and I like food and like dining out every once in a blue moon and the biggest reason is because I refuse to let my children dictate whether or not I can go out for a meal. With every visit, they learn to do better and be better. They will have bad days like we all do but they will learn. Some days I look at them and say screw it but other times, like when friends ask to go out for a bite, I won’t let their past behavior change my plans. I’m hopeful. Sometimes they surprise me.

Restaurant manners: So far, we suck at getting the kids to understand them constantly but one day..someday…(hopefully before they are teenagers!) it’ll all work out as it should. And then I’ll hear those sweet words I long for….

Your children are so well-behaved at the restaurant!”




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  1. James Ward
    September 22, 2014

    YES! It’s a nightmare every time we attempt to go out. If it’s not one, it’s the other, then both kick into high gear.

    Let’s just freakin’ go!

    May we get a to-go box for everything and check? Please hurry…

  2. Kristi
    September 22, 2014

    To-go boxes are meant for parents. They should be renamed “Parent Pouches” or something equally Pinterest-y. 😉

  3. Carl
    September 23, 2014

    I don’t know how my parents did it with 5 children! Every Friday at the same restaurant. We still see the owners, their son and the daughter (always our waitress) at her restaurant.

  4. Faerie Barista
    September 24, 2014

    I always think my kids are being rude as hell but then get told how well behaved and good they are and I’m going huh?

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