Although I am relatively new to motherhood, from my experience so far I am pretty sure that going out to eat with a child from the ages 4 months- 8 years old is a complete and total nightmare. Today I had breakfast with my husband and 15 month old daughter Ella at Village Inn. Which obviously if you’ve ever met me and my family you would know that the experience was cringe worthy to say the least. In light on this morning’s events I have decided to put together a list of tips when dining out with a toddler..
1) Invest in a ridiculously over-sized pair of sunglasses (think Olsen twins), you don’t want to risk someone recognizing you and realizing that you have raised a bratty child. Depending on the severity of your child’s level of brattiness, consider adding a wide brimmed hat to your “eating out attire”.
2) When entering a restaurant be sure to spot out the most direct routes to the bathrooms and exit. When the yelling gets really loud you want to be able to escape the situation quickly. Yes, it may seem a bit harsh to bail on your dining partner, but hey, no one ever said life was fair.
3) If your child is anything like mine, the floor around your table will look like a garbage can threw up by the time the meal is over. Learn to casually trip waiters carrying trays(don’t worry they won’t get hurt) so they will drop food/plates all over. It will make a huge mess and take the attention away from yours!
4) Wine helps. A LOT.
5) EVERY server hates to get a table with a loud, messy toddler. Tell your server you are babysitting. This way you can avoid any blame for tantrums, flying food and broken salt shakers. More importantly, the wait staff is less likely to spit in your food.
6) Don’t be afraid to stare down fellow diners shooting dirty looks your way. I mean, come on, YOU’RE not the one who just emptied 17 sugar packets all over the table. With just a look you can let other patrons know that you are not affected by their disapproving stares and that if it comes down to it, you are not above throwing a piece of broccoli at their head and blaming it on your 16 month old.
My husband and I love to eat out. Yes, of course sometimes we’d prefer to hire a sitter(i.e. my mom), but sometimes that’s not in the cards. My best advice for dealing with a fussy kid is laugh it off and get over it. Sure, the other diners will probably hate you for about an hour, but who cares?!? Just don’t be an asshole, which means: clean up the mess your kid makes, at least attempt to calm her/him down, and tip really well. Oh, and seriously, wine really does help.