We’d been out and about meeting people and running errands and it was lunch time. Instead of driving back home with hungry children, I decided to treat us all to a pub lunch in a pub renowned for being family-friendly.
The novelty of the summer holidays is wearing off for the girls and they’re going through a highly competitive stage, which can mean arguing about ‘who spotted something first’ (in this case the bell behind the bar) or about who receives or finishes their drink first. However, aside from a couple of very minor things, which I quickly nipped in the bud, they were actually very good and that’s always a relief when I’m outnumbered 3:1.
All was going very well but then started some VERY loud screaming from a toddler on another table. The screaming went on, and on, and on. My three were asking me lots of questions about it.
I’m under no illusions; I know that my daughters’ behaviour isn’t impeccable at all times, but the continued screaming was making me feel uncomfortable and if it was me in that situation I’d have taken my child outside if they were making all that noise. In fact, there was a period of about five months, when the twins had just turned two, when we just didn’t take them to restaurants, pubs etc. My eldest was fine, but they wouldn’t stay put in a high chair and they couldn’t be entertained with colouring or drawing. They just wanted to run around. We knew it would be hugely stressful for us (and not relaxing or a treat in any way) and annoying to fellow diners, so we just didn’t do it. It was a stage. We accepted it and then tried dining out when we felt that it would be nice for all of us. When we did, it was a lot better and much more fun.
After what seemed a long time, someone complained (not me by the way). The mother was discreetly spoken to by the staff, who – from what I can gather – asked if she could take her child outside until she calmed down. The mother totally erupted and said she wouldn’t take her child outside, she said her daughter wanted to be held the entire time and that she didn’t give in to that as she was strict with her child. I admired her stance (I too don’t like to give in to demands from the kids), but the 15-month-old girl really was making lunchtime a very unenjoyable experience for everyone else.
The mother then went on what could only be described as a bit of a rampage. She wrongly accused a group of women, who were trying to eat their lunch, of making the complaint (it was in fact one of two businessmen that were having a lunchtime meeting that had). She demanded to know if they were mothers and what they would have done. She didn’t let it lie and got really stuck in with them. At this point the manager stepped in and asked her to stop harassing customers.
It was all rather awkward. She didn’t give in to her toddler’s attention-seeking behaviour, but she did heavily impact the dining experience of everyone else in the pub for the worse.
What would you have done?