I’m not refereeing to your children in this post. I’m talking about the people around you everywhere you go with your kids.
As a new parent, most of us are really nervous about taking your children out and worrying what others think of you or think of the baby that may cry or coo or have a tantrum.
I remember being so nervous about it and sweating like crazy. I wouldn’t go places by myself in such worry of what may happen. I let that get to me too much.
I remember the one evening we went to dinner and he was fussy so I quickly grabbed him and walked outside to rock him until he would calm. I try to be considerate to the best I can be. I’m not there to make anyone uncomfortable or listen to my baby cry like crazy while we all want to enjoy a nice evening out.
Another time we were in Target and our son did have a meltdown. We made a plan since I only had a few items to get. I quickly went for all the items while my husband took our son to the car and drove around while he calmed down. He still tells people how embarrassed he felt, though there is nothing you can do when they have tantrums, especially as an infant. I could hear my son all the way across the store he was so loud. WOOF!
Now that he’s a toddler, my nerves have calmed a bit and I have more of a “deal with it” attitude. He doesn’t cry like a newborn anymore, but he is a toddler and a busy guy at that. I don’t have the mentality of worrying what others think because well, most of them are parents themselves and understand that we’re doing the best we can in the situation. Also, toddlers can be jerks.
A few scenarios that have happened to us that I want to share because I’m certain you all have experienced it too.
First one, we went out a few months back when restrictions were starting to lift and had dinner with our neighbors. We went to a new restaurant together to try out and it’s a touch more upscale than other restaurants in the area but not a reason for me to think my child wouldn’t be welcomed there. Our neighbors raised two boys, so they know what it’s like going out with kids and I felt very comfortable going with them.
However, my son likes to be busy, so we brought crayons and coloring items as we usually do to occupy him. That doesn’t always work though. He was chatty with his noises and crawling around the booth a bit between us. I kept seeing this woman at a table near us give me those looks of judgement. She was there with her husband and when I say she was giving me looks, I was getting heated inside and wanted to make a comment.
I refrained because it’s always not worth it. My son wasn’t screaming, he wasn’t throwing a tantrum and he was staying within our booth. It’s up to her to stare and not enjoy herself because she’s too worried about how my kid is acting. This occurs more than you’d like it too, but I really try to not pay attention to them. I also have my husband hitting my arm saying, “knock it off.”
There’s another scenario we run into often and that is with the judgement of the younger people who do not have kids or are not around them. When I say younger, I mean 20 an under. I don’t think I’m old by any means. 😜
We went to the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium on Father’s Day. It was HOT! I’m so glad we went early because it only got hotter too and we were all sweaty by the time we left.
My son has enjoyed the zoo more every time we have gone! This time he was so excited to walk on his own most of the time and would become overwhelmed and excited with the animals he saw so he would squeal in excitement.
It was hilarious to us that he thought the animals were that cool and most parents thought it was funny too. The part where this turns is when we go into the monkey building. That cute squeal echoes inside there. We kept telling him to say “wow” or we would do the “shhh” finger move. I had one mom laugh and tell us, “Oh, he is just excited!!” Then we had a teenager and her mom eyeballing us.
To be totally fair here, we were passing people and not around most of the same people for long because he was too excited to stand still long enough to oodle at any of the monkeys. He quickly moved on to the next one! But this teenager and her mom somehow stayed close to us and I noticed the looks. I happened to fall back, and my son and husband got ahead of me. As I passed them, I hear the teenager say, “why would you let your kid keep squealing like that?” and I kept moving along.
I didn’t stick around for the mother’s response because as irritated as I was to hear that, we again were attempting to correct him since it was loud and we recognized that. She is also a teenager and I know I had once made those comments too not knowing much. There is some grace to be given in those situations.
I would really like to do a PSA for everyone around us when our kids are loud or acting out that the parents are TRYING and we don’t want to ruin your time either. Also, if you think they’re annoying, we probably already rolled our eyes and realized it ourselves. So nothing you do or say is making the situation better for anyone, especially the parents.
The last scenario is the best one and not often do not happen to us because I believe people are more afraid to say the nice things than they are to be mean to people.
We go out to dinner here and there. It’s not always easy to keep a toddler occupied and happy. We have a little pack of crayons, matchbox cars, and learning cards on hand in his diaper bag to pull out and play with at the table.
For Father’s Day we went out to Texas Roadhouse and it’s always loud in there so I’m never worried about how loud he would be. But this night, of course, had a giant backup in their kitchen for the food and it was coming out late. We were waiting much longer than usual.
My husband and I stayed on edge a little knowing we only have X amount of time until he loses all interest in sitting in that booth. We both kept playing with him whether it was passing the cars across the table, coloring, picking at the blooming onion or he pretended to tickle us. He is NOT always that pleasant and we were very thankful that he was being so good with us being there for so long.
The entire situation was solidified when a lady, who I noticed was a mom too with her husband and 2 daughters that were maybe in their early 20s. She stopped at our table before they left to tell us how good our son was being and how cute he was.
A big sigh of relief came over me and my husband as we said thank you to them. That small comment to us really means a lot when they see we were doing what we could to keep him busy during that long wait for dinner.
Again, every time we go out as a family, we are looking to enjoy ourselves as much as the next table. The public eye is always on you as a parent to make sure you’re “doing it right.”
The hardest part is to not let that pressure take over enjoying your time out together. Keep your heads up, bring some things to enjoy with the kids at the table, and understand not everyone is accepting of our choice of bringing kids to dinner but that is on them. They can be miserable if they choose to be. 😉