Mom's Post About Dining Out Reignites The Never-Ending 'Kids In Restaurants' Debate

by Maria Guido
Originally Published: 

Viral blogger Constance Hall writes a post about dining out with kids

Kids in restaurants: it’s a topic that will never cease to be hotly debated. Some people think kids don’t belong anywhere near a restaurant. Some are A-Ok with the idea of kids eating out, but only in certain places. When it comes to kids in restaurants, many times it’s the behavior of a few that influence how the majority of families are treated.

This week viral blogger Constance Hall penned a post about dining out with kids. She had a particularly annoying experience in a restaurant and left feeling very judged.

When her kids couldn’t find space at the table to color, they took their coloring books to a corner of the restaurant and sat on the floor. A waitress walked over and informed Hall that her kids weren’t “allowed to color on the floor.” At this point, Hall tried to get her kids back to the table and couldn’t: they refused. They said “no” repeatedly. This is where the story gets a little weird, as Hall imagines that the waitress is getting some sort of euphoric rise out of her children disobeying her:

I politely asked my children to come back to the table..

They both said “no” Waitress beamed with excitement. I told the kids that they won’t get Ice-cream after dinner if they don’t do what I asked, they continue to ignore me. Billie-Violet decided she wanted Arlo’s colouring in, she snatched it. He screamed at her and pulled her hair, she sat on him and got him in a head lock… The waitress nearly orgasmed she was so excited about judging me for this.

Um, no. Contrary to popular belief, waitresses who act slightly annoyed by kids aren’t shrews who hate children. They are trying to do a job. Anything that makes that job more difficult is going to be an annoyance. Kids sitting on the floor and putting each other in headlocks falls into that category.

Most of the comments seem to think that this is behavior that should be totally expected from children, which is a little over the top, if you ask me.

Hall is an extremely relatable mom, and there are parts of this post that ring very true. Dining out is hard. She finds a place where she feels comfortable that welcomes families with open arms (it happens to be Jamie Oliver’s restaurant). When her kids start what she describes as “pole-dancing” a waitress runs over to say “please don’t feel that you need to control the kids, at Jamies we are very pro children behaving like children, you just relax and enjoy your evening.” Sounds like some sort of kids utopia. That’s great and all, but generally, a family-friendly restaurant does not mean “free for all where kids can run circles around the dining room.” It just means there’s probably kids menus, loud music, and high chairs.

Yes, there are some gruff servers out there. Dining out can be a real nightmare, because sometimes you do feel like people are just waiting for your kids to screw up. But there are certain things that are acceptable in a restaurant and certain things that are not just unacceptable, but unsafe. Letting your kids meander around and sit on the floor fall into that category.

As a former long-time waitress and current mom, I implore you: keep your kids at the table. It’s simply not safe to be running around an establishment where the possibility of running into someone carrying scalding hot food is a possibility. And yes, servers will get annoyed if they have to navigate that. How would you like some little person making an obstacle course that you have to navigate in order to perform your job correctly? It’s not fun.

“Waitresses do an amazing job, I did it for years and I am the first person to clean up after my children and apologise for their shit behaviour,” Hall writes. “However it’s so so important for mums to feel welcome and supported in society and not pushed to the side and judged to a point where they would prefer to just stay home.” Absolute truth. But come on — this does not mean all public places should be a free-for-all where kids do and act as they damn well please. If we do that, we’re missing a big part of the idea of taking kids out to begin with — to teach them appropriate behavior.

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