There is a community group page on Facebook that I follow for my local area. Today as I innocently browsed their post and comments I saw something that made me irrationally peeved off. A woman was complaining about a local bar / restaurant in our area. The gist of the complaint was that the place was full of mums and prams and babies. It started with a statement that our local area was “so losing its dignity”. The bar was such a “let down” apparently because of this and she couldn’t enjoy her lunch and a pint!
We mothers and children had ruined her lunch!
And I say ‘we‘ because I go to this bar so often they know me by name, who my toddler is, what my order is for him (the children’s fish fingers and chips) before I ask for it, who my parents are and when my baby is due. They are always delightful and helpful and I even recommended it as a place to take kids in a recent interview in The Yorkshire Post.
I was also there on the day in question with my toddler and seven month bump. We sat in our usual seat in the corner and my toddler was his usual well behaved self. We had been to the doctors to get a prescription for my severe pregnancy heartburn and had popped in on our way home. I sipped on lemonade while my two year old ate his chips, coloured with the paper and crayons provided and danced in his high chair to the music selection. So while my fiancé says “It’s not a personal attack against you love!” It certainly feels like it. I recollected my toddler waving happily to a woman in there and shuddered at the thought it might have been her.
It’s also close to the bone because:
as parents (mothers and I assume Fathers too) we worry about people thinking this sort of thing when we walk into restaurants, bars, cafes, onto trains, planes – you name it! We tentatively walk into these places imagining you are all screwing up your noses like the witches in the Roald Dahl book
“Ewww…. I can smell ze …. children. Zey’ smell like dogs dwoppings!
We pray our children will be silent and not piss you off – but we can’t promise anything because they are children! It is beyond our control.
Dear small person racist*,
We are the babies, we are the toddlers, but most importantly – we are the mums (the parents).
We deserve to get out of the house just the same as everyone else. In fact – we need it more!
We spend 90% of the day cleaning up general shit (10% wiping up actual shit), running after the little sh…sugars and just trying to make it to seven pm without murdering anyone.
We cook and clean, again and again and again and again on a never ending cycle.
We are confined to the house more times than not because it’s just too much of an effort to get everyone dressed and clean and pack all the emergency shit you need just to make it out of the door – and in my case – then drag myself and toddler up the road with my crippling SPD, a huge pregnant stomach and acid reflux that makes me vomit – literally.
If we make it out to take our children to have the children’s menu it is just to save us from yet another pile of washing up and a meal ending up on our floor – which of course we then have to clean up.
We hope that maybe he will enjoy his chips for five minutes which gives us just five minutes peace in Twenty Four fucking hours.
Maybe we can see other adult humans who speak in adult human voices and can even have a conversation that doesnt include ‘Frog’ or ‘Car’ or ‘WHAT HAVE YOU JUST PUT IN YOUR MOUTH? SPIT IT…SPIT IT…”
If you are talking about new mums – I can not tell you how much of a struggle it has been for the poor woman to get out of her pyjamas and have a wash – clean the baby and get them dressed, pack a bag and leave the house, probably on less than two hours sleep, to venture into the real world.
She might be extremely isolated – as I was – depressed and congratulating herself on actually leaving her premises for the first time since the God awful experience of child birth.
She might be hoping for a smile – for another mum to give her a nod that says “I know how you feel…it gets better.” For a kind stranger to reach out! LIKE YOU.
The last thing she needs is the thought that someone is tutting “here she is with her baby! here to ruin my lunch!”
Other than being perhaps slightly noisy I don’t understand how mothers and children in prams could ruin your lunch anyway! Unless they were all projectile vomiting over themselves or having multiple nappy dysfunctions … both of which are possible I suppose.
If only we could herd the parents with their broods away from the rest of the public! Cattle Prods at the ready! Or just off a cliff – like at the beginning of ‘Far From The Madding Crowd’?
Perhaps we would all be better off if we just segregated the parent and child community. It might be better for us all if we had parent only bars. Parent only restaurants. Shops. Train carriages, planes, housing. Buses!? What do you say?
DON’T BE A SMALL PERSON RACIST! Babies / toddlers (and their mums) deserve to dine out too!
If it is a Michelin star haute cuisine eatery you might have a point – basically if there’s a children’s menu then it’s fair game woman!
Mother, toddler and bump – who may or may not have ‘ruined your lunch’.
*Small person racist is a reference to a joke in the last episode of the IT Crowd by Graham Linehan:
Jen: You’re being a bit of a small-person-racist Roy.
Roy: [Shakes head] A small-person-racist? That’s not a thing.
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