I recently noticed this article about a restaurant who were criticised and even threatened for banning “small, screaming children”.
Apparently, there are parents everywhere who are outraged by both the ban on children and the way it was worded.
I am not one of them.
Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t go to this restaurant even if it wasn’t as far away as Nova Scotia. But that’s because it’s a lobster restaurant, not because they don’t want screaming children in there.
I take my children to restaurants. Actually, they’ve been to some rather nice restaurants. This morning I even took the two girls out for breakfast on my own.
But if they start screaming, we leave. Well, we would. They’ve never started screaming because they know better than that.
And also because if they’re not behaving themselves before we go out, we simply don’t go.
We had an incident recently where we had a restaurant booking but Libby was being a nightmare. Cancelling was the only option, I wasn’t going to ruin everyone else’s meal.
And just because I have children, that doesn’t make me more tolerant of other people’s children if they insist on allowing them to run around a restaurant shouting and screaming. That’s not okay.
I understand that occasionally, children can have a bit of a moment. If that’s all it is and then they calm down, that’s fine.
I also understand that children can have total, complete and utter meltdowns where they do nothing but scream. That’s fine too, but if you were looking for a cue to leave the restaurant, that was it.
And I understand that some children have special needs or disabilities that makes it impossible for them to be quiet in a restaurant. And I wouldn’t expect them to be quiet for a moment, that’s totally fine.
What annoys me is the people whose children can, and should, behave well during a meal. But they are so wrapped up in their own little world that they zone out to the chaos that is being caused.
Even in restaurants where there are toys for the children to play with and they are free to run around. Even, heaven forbid in soft play, it drives me mad when people don’t keep at least a cursory eye on their children.
And don’t get me started on the snot. I can’t count the number of times I’ve dragged my children out of a play area because snotty child whose mum is too busy nattering to wipe its nose is about to touch one of them.
But after all that, I do have to put in a good word for the children. The majority of them behave perfectly well and probably brighten everyone’s day by being there.
Which brings me neatly on to the groups of people, usually in suits, who consider themselves to be better than the rest of us. They go for lunch to “put the world to rights”.
These people are loud, rude to the restaurant staff, obnoxious and usually sweary. They are also the type who look at me like I’m something they’ve stepped in because I dare to eat out with my perfectly pleasant and polite children.
Give me a room full of screaming, snotty kids any day over these people. Actually, I’d rather have dinner with my dog.