Taking your kids out to a restaurant can feel akin to setting your money on fire, sometimes. It’s made even more excruciatingly painful by the judgey eyes of other cranky diners.
Blogger (at No Idea What I’m Doing) and dad-of-three Clint Edwards shared his dining out experience on Facebook a couple of days ago, and it’s gone wildly viral as struggling parents nod their heads, hit ‘share’ and think longingly about tacos.
Clint had taken his family to US restaurant Red Robin and let’s just say things didn’t go as he’d hoped. Because… 2-year-old tantrum. We’ll let Clint explain:
“I’m stuck in the van with my toddler. We went out to dinner as a family, and she had a meltdown because mom wouldn’t let her throw chicken strips. So she screamed, and screamed, and kicked and kicked, and since I was the only one finished with my meal, I had the pleasure of dragging her out of Red Robin,” the (possibly shattered) dad wrote.
I'm stuck in the van with my toddler. We went out to dinner as a family, and she had a meltdown because mom wouldn't let…
We’ve all been there, right?
Clint acted pretty decisively, attempting to restore order as quickly as possible and remove his child from a situation that just wasn’t working out for anyone. Good one, dad.
Once he’d got to the car, he realised that despite his swift exit and best endeavours to ensure other diners weren’t disrupted, there were sourpusses sitting in the stalls, delivering withering looks and judge-y stares.
We bet you’ve encountered them too? They seem to be present on the sidelines of every episode involving kids acting out. Their snotty stares are reliably unhelpful and frankly, unkind.
“I can’t control her”
Clint took to Facebook to describe his family’s experience and point out that it takes a village to raise a child – and sometimes a little more compassion and understanding form the other villagers wouldn’t go astray.
“I carried her past the bar and everyone stared at me, most of them childless, I assumed. No one with children would give me that straight faced, lip twisted, look that seems to say, “if you can’t control your kid, then don’t go out.” Well… no. I can’t control her. Not all the time. Not yet.”
Under already exhausting and challenging circumstances, grumpy types really can push parents towards the next level of overwhelming self-doubt and isolation.
“I get it. Kids are irritating when they are loud in a restaurant. I know. I’m living it. But before you get angry and judgmental, realize that what you are witnessing is not bad parenting, but rather, parents working hard to fix the situation,” Clint wrote.
This great dad pointed out that kids learn on their feet and the only way to teach kids how to behave acceptably in public places like restaurants is to… take them to restaurants and other public places.
“She’s two and it’s going to take years to teach her how to act appropriately in public, and the only way I am ever going to teach that is to take her out and show her what’s right and wrong. By saying no a million times, letting her throw a fit, and telling her no again.”
Clint reminded readers that these big lessons take time and that we’re all in this together.
“These lessons take patience, hard work, and real world experiences, and I’m sorry to those at the bar who got irritated by my child’s fit, but you are part of this practice. Your parents did the same with you, and that’s how you now know how to recognize when a child does something irritating in a restaurant. It’s how you learned to look at a situation and say, “That parent needs to control their kids,” he wrote.
“That’s what makes babies”
While Clint’s post is super relatable and will strike a chord with every parent, many of the comments under the post are absolute comedy gold.
“Well you did the right thing but you should have walked real slow past the bar so they get the stark reminder that alcohol can lead to sex and that’s what makes babies so they better be ready because next time it will be them,” Facebook user Marty wrote, in solidarity.
“I still think child development class in school should be watching caillou on a loop and listening to a child cry and scream for 5 hrs. Lol,” Kimberley chimed in.
“I was the oldest of 4, 2 of which I swore were spawns of Satan… I remember going through the drive thru at Sonic at like 13 with one screaming in the back and her looking at the little cashier girl and just saying, “Birth Control.” I was horrified at the time but it’s pretty hilarious now,” Facebook follower Hayley chortled.
We truly are all in this together. Clint is right. A little more kindness would make a world of difference to exhausted families trying to socialise their kids and spend some time out the world.