Some of you may have recently read the article written by Janet Street-Porter. Outspoken as always, I’ve seen a great divide in parents views on her argument.
If you haven’t read the article, see here.
In short, her argument is that young children and babies should be banned from restaurants and cafes. Or, that larger restaurants should designate areas specifically for young children, leaving the rest of the venue child free.
When I first read the article, like the title, I wanted to tip spaghetti hoops all over her head. It riled me up. However, after my trip out yesterday, in some ways, I do actually agree.
Yesterday, we played grown up. We had a day out at the races, and enjoyed some afternoon tea as a family. My husband, Dominic and I. We’ve never been to the races before, we’re not really into it, but we wanted afternoon tea (we had a voucher for it), so thought why not! We were lucky enough to get hospitality tickets, so got to sit in the nice swanky part.
Swanky areas come with swanky people. And we came with a grumpy baby. The two don’t really mix. We were sat at a table right by a group of very ‘well-to-do’ folk, all dressed up and ready to place some bets. I was in leggings, a creased jumper (lifted right up by my baby, so the dreaded ‘legging bum’ was showing), and big chunky, muddy boots. I didn’t really fit the part.
But screw it. I wanted cake. I wanted scones. And I really wanted a cup of tea. I was going to relax, and enjoy myself.
Dominic had other ideas.
My beautiful, albeit grumpy child decided he wanted to exercise those little lungs of his. Where better? Neal and I had to take it in turns bouncing him around, singing to him and most importantly, keeping him upright – God knows why, but the child wants nothing more than to be upright and over our shoulders. I could feel people looking at us, trying to be polite, but we were quite obviously ruining the ambience.
This is when I remembered the article I’d read the day before. Janet Street-bloody-Porter. We were those people. The people everyone hates. Should I have left Dominic at home? Probably. But did I? No.
I’ve never had an issue with other people having children at restaurants, or anywhere. And I still don’t. I welcome it. If a baby is crying uncontrollably, that’s fine, that’s what babies do. But suddenly I had an issue with me being there. I felt uneasy and like we should leave.
But then there were the staff. The staff were very accommodating. They took the extra effort to come and talk to us, and to talk to Dominic – who doesn’t love a bit of baby talk? We still sneaked out early, but they did make it much more enjoyable.
Do I agree?
I’m on the fence. I don’t think parents should EVER be asked to leave somewhere due to having children with them. I think children should be disciplined, but at the end of the day, children are children. Even the best behaved kids will act up at times. However I understand that some places are not as well suited for babies/children as others, and having areas better suited for children would be more beneficial for both parties.
What do you think?