What a lovely Fall Saturday we had. We raked leaves into garbage bags shaped like jack-o-lanterns, we carved our own jack-o-lantern, we made a fall craft and we walked downtown to see the scarecrows. Back in the day, a pizza dinner out would have topped the day off perfectly. And oh how I hoped it might tonight. Nothing went wrong per se, but eating out with children can be just so exhausting. Even though I have two kids, I think I am an amateur when it comes to dining out with kids. I seem to never remember to bring something for them to do while we wait for our food. Sometimes I forget to order food for the kids. I’ve actually been out to eat twice in the past 8 days and both times someone had to remind me to put in an order for the little ones. What is my problem? I am so used to my older child not eating anything that I forget that the younger one eats like a horse. For instance, tonight the 21 month old ate two slices of pizza and the 4 year old ate one bite of pizza – no lie. But she didn’t complain of being hungry before bed and she doesn’t usually wake up hungry.

Back to dining out with kids – to me it’s almost not worth it. I don’t feel anymore relaxed when I get home and I hardly get to enjoy my meal. The little one spent most of the meal standing up in her high chair, even though my dad did an excellent job of amusing her. The big one kept sliding off the booth seat and going under the table or laying down on the booth bench with either her feet on the wall or in my lap. She stood on the seat and looked out the front window, she jumped on the seat excitedly. I’m not really one to worry much about what others think in situations like this. Or at least, I don’t think that’s why I get so anxious. I think my worry is that I am raising a child that would act like that. I want to think I am doing a better job than that and that I have control of my children in public. I guess the bar I’ve set for myself is pretty darn high. I just really really really want to be raising nice, calm, respectable children who are in control of themselves. It’s not that I am upset about what other diners think about me as a mom and about my kids and more about beating myself up. If I can’t get them to sit up at the dinner table and stop making high pitched noises, how can I raise them to be kind hearted human beings?

So dinner was not so bad. I got to eat my delicious salad. Two waitresses commented that my kids did just fine. I guess my face showed that I was a little worked up? But I was so amped up that when I got home I let something small be my boiling point and I lost my cool big time. I used to really love eating out, but sometimes I think it’s just not worth it and maybe we should wait until the kids are older. Maybe it feels worse because my husband wasn’t there? Maybe I have no control of them when I am outnumbered? Maybe the kids sense my anxiety about this and feed off of it. If we took them out to eat more would they get better at it? Would it go more smoothly if I just brought a stupid coloring book?! Wow, typing this all out makes me feel really really silly for stressing about this.

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