totally legit or totally unfair?

A Mom Packs A Meal From Home For Her Kid When Dining Out

“You want me to pay $6.99 for chicken tenders and fries?”

A mom revealed that when she and her family eat at a restaurant, she packs a separate, prepared meal...
TikTok / @unbreakablemomma

Parents know that going out to dinner with young kids can be nothing short of a nightmare, especially if they’re a little more in the rambunctious side. Trying to get in a bite of food while picking crayons up off the ground, cutting spaghetti into bite-sized pieces, and telling the kids (for the 100th time) to use their inside voice can make the entire experience, well, not worth the effort.

On top of all that, kid’s meal prices are not cheap. The average household spends about $3,500 on eating out every year, or around $300 a month. That’s a lot of money for food your kid might not even end up eating — and often for pretty mundane fare like grilled cheese or nuggets.

One mom decided that she was no longer going to risk her kid wasting restaurant food and took a different approach to eating at restaurants with kids. The internet had a strong and mixed reaction.

TikTok user Karlie (@unbreakablemom) revealed that when she and her family meet up at a restaurant to eat, she packs a prepared meal for her 2-year-old son before heading out. She does not allow him to eat the restaurant’s food. While some TikTok users thought she was being over the top, she made some pretty compelling arguments for her parent hack.

“Call me cheap, call me whatever, but if we’re going out to a restaurant, I’m packing my kid a meal,” Karlie begins. “On Friday nights, my family and I get together, and tonight, we’re getting food out. My son is not getting food out.”

First, she remarks that restaurant food prices are high, and she’s not going to shell out almost $10 for a kid’s meal that her son will take two bites of and set aside.

“For one, you want me to pay $6.99 for chicken tenders and fries that my son is going to throw half of it on the floor? You’re crazy,” she says.

She also mentions that what she packs for her son is likely “healthier” than whatever the restaurant has on the menu. “Tonight on the menu: peanut butter and jelly, bananas, mild cheddar cheese cubes, and a chocolate Lara bar,” she says while showing the prepped meal.

Lastly, Karlie mentions that kids do not have a lot of patience at restaurants, and sometimes the wait can get long. “Also, when we get to a restaurant, my child is not waiting for anyone to take his order. He wants to eat now. I can just hand him this and let him go to town,” she said.

Her son is usually treated to a chocolate milk when dining out as a “little takeout treat.”

After Karlie’s video went viral — gaining almost half a million views — TikTok users wasted no time giving her their opinions on her parenting method.

One user said that she knew someone who used to have this done to them in a cruel manner, calling it “abuse.”

However, several other TikTok users (and Karlie) shut that down.

Karlie replied, “No one said I’d do this forever, I even said if he wanted something off the menu I would give it to him & share my meal, but he’s happy.”

Karlie also put out a very cheeky response video to the accusation.

“Bringing a packed meal for a picky toddler who likely won’t eat anything there anyways? No it is not abuse,” another user said.

“The child is being fed so I don’t see how this is abuse at all,” one user noted.

Many users supported Karlie’s idea. “This is actually genius,” they wrote. “My son is so picky and I always end up paying for something he doesn’t eat.”

Another suggested that maybe bringing a snack to tide her son over is a better option than leaving him out of the entire dining experience.

“I just bring a snack for the wait but I think going out to eat is special for everyone not just the adults. 🤷🏼‍♀️,” they wrote.

One user noted, “I tried doing this once and I felt so much mom guilt. Like I was leaving her out or something 😭”

Karlie replied, “I get it! Sometimes I take my son out for special mommy and me meals!”

Others accused Karlie for taking advantage of the restaurant, saying that her son was just taking up space at a table where someone could be eating a meal that a server would get tipped on.

“You are paying for the seat at the table, not just the food. The price of the food to the restaurant is a tiny part of it,” one user wrote.

“It’s not like if there’s 3 of us sitting at a 4 person table they’re going to sit a stranger with us…plus I tip well so what does it matter? 🤷🏻‍♀️” Karlie clapped back.

After the negative comments continued to come in, Karlie posted a follow-up video, defending her decision to pack a meal for her son.

“Hey, some of you guys are really upset about me not paying $6.99 for a two-year-old at a restaurant. A lot of people are like, ‘You shouldn’t have kids.’ What do you want me to do? Send him back?” she asked sarcastically.

“If he wanted a meal, I would get him one, but he’s happy with what I bring him. You do know you can disagree without completely putting down another person, right? I’m still a good mom and my child is just as loved even if I make a different decision than another person.”