dining-out-with-kids

We did it … well, we tried.

We did it! Well, we tried. And obviously by ‘It’ I mean, we ate out at a restaurant that doesn’t have a children’s play area.

I had a rough idea of how difficult it would be, but I was honestly tired of being the one who always says “no”. Most of our friends have kids who are older than ours. That means that, whilst they do understand, they are past the stage of having to consider little kids every time they want to do something. Whereas, that is my life. For now. 

Some Context 

Our good friends have two older boys. One is 16 and one is 10. I think they are a bit tired of me holding back our group excursions and using the excuse “Is it suitable for the girls?”

Don’t get me wrong. I am dying to go to a restaurant the doesn’t have ‘fish fingers & chips’ or ‘mac & cheese’ on the menu. A restaurant where I don’t have to order the kids drinks in “take-away cups with the lid on please”; or a clown faced ice-cream on the desert menu.

DYING I tell you! But I know how it will go down, and that is even less my idea of fun.

So their kids were away last night at various sleep-overs so they suggested we join them at well know Seafood & Sushi restaurant. A place they know I usually like, but a place I have resisted numerous times BECAUSE IT DOESN’T HAVE A KIDS PLAY AREA.

Anyway, I decided I was maybe being unfair to them, and to the girls who also deserve to have different experiences. So I said yes, we could go.

Preparing to be prepared

I prepared relatively well I think. We went early enough that it wasn’t too late for the girls, and I took them each a sticker/activity book to keep them busy.

It did actually go better than expected. They were fairly well behaved:

  • they only needed to inspect the bathroom facilities once,
  • both of them ate most of their food without dropping it on the floor,
  • no one spilt anything,
  • they only swapped chairs twice,
  • and no one cried.

Well – maybe the waitress cried after we left, but seriously, she really needs to find another calling in life. Not only did she not order one child’s meal, which we specifically requested (sushi), but we waited nearly an hour for all the food. Then she charged us for extra drinks. I think she was very sorry she came to work last night.

via GIPHY

I’m sure some of you are thinking I’m being a bitch about her, but I’m really just giving you the overview, not the full details.

The Experience Itself

Getting back to the kids. I really tried to enjoy myself but the reason they were so well behaved was because they had my full attention the entire time we were there.

I played with them with the sticker book, I leapt to do their every bidding. At one point I felt like an octopus between the sticker book, rescuing drinks from being knocked over, picking up crayons off the floor, buttering bread rolls, taking them to the loo, wiping their noses, and explaining nicely why they can’t stare at the couple next to us trying to have a romantic dinner for two, and of course … trying to drink my wine.

via GIPHY

My husband and our friends kept trying to engage me in conversation, but I think they all eventually realized it was futile. Like I knew it would be. 

This Is My Life Now

I don’t expect to be going back there any time soon. It really would have been easier to just go where we normally go. This is something I accepted a long time ago.

*sigh*

It’s not anyone’s fault, it’s just where my life is now. And in case you were wandering, no, we don’t have family nearby or reliable baby-sitters to call on.

One day I will look back and miss it, or so I’m told repeatedly. Some nights though, I really would like to get dressed up, go to dinner with my husband and have an adult, intelligent conversation with him.

Sorry my love, we did try. Let’s give it another five years? 


Comments

  1. You could do what we did for a bit. Get the other half to book a half day off every now and then (TOIL helps for this) and drop the child off at school/daycare what-have-you and go out for lunch or breakfast.

    It’s not perfect but it does the job till something better comes along!

  2. It is so hard without help or a baby sitter. I understand, we don’t get alone time here either. Glad it did go well, but I truly understand.

  3. Lol! I know this feeling well. And let’s face it. Even at places with playgrounds, they still demand your attention. I am normally found up on the jungle gym too and going down the slide because if I dont i get the WHINING! But MOOOOOM! Pleeeeeeeeeeeese come and play! It’s just so much easier at home! Start making a once a month dinner (brunch / lunch is more preferable!) date with your friends at home or travelling one where you do it once at yours, next at theirs etc. The kids will get used to the others being there or going to their houses and eventually you’ll have time to just sit. for five minutes. and talk to an adult. about anything other than kids! But it’ll probably only be 5 minutes!

  4. One of my favourite things used to be eating out. Alone with my husband that is. One of my current LEAST favourite things to do is eat out with three children under the age of 3. I end up doing exactly what you did and spend the entire time seeing to them, I eat cold food, there is mess everywhere, I feel like everyone is staring at me, despite how well behaved my children are, I just don’t enjoy it. One day!!

  5. Fair play to you, although dear Jesus it sounds like hell! My three are still pretty young, and fussy to boot – the idea of trying to manage them at a proper dinner out makes my teeth itch. One day we’ll try, but not in the near future!

    #ItsOk xxx

    1. Author

      In South Africa you have loads of family restaurants that have large play areas for kids that are looked after by playground attendants so even though there is a family vibe, parents can still sit and eat a proper adult meal whilst the kids are playing. I have yet to discover anywhere like that in the UK. ?

  6. Oh wow I can relate to this one. We are very scarce on babysitters also so it is once in a blue moon that we go out alone together and I point blank refuse to go to a nice restaurant with the two duckies for that very reason – what is the point if you are going to spend the entire time tending to them? You can’t enjoy your food or an real adult conversation all the while costing you plenty of money. But good on you for giving it a go. It is a brave thing to do. I know how tough it can get when you never get out and you are so desperate! #itsok

  7. I feel your pain Carly. Eating in in front of the telly in your cosy PJs at home is far more enticing (post kids) than dressing up, going to a fancy restaurant, being on point all the time, still eating cold food and then paying for it!!! #itsok, i’ll opt for a takeaway thank you. But well done you for trying!

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