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Challenge: Stop Mom Judging

My family of five is the reason you hate going to restaurants

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My family could be the reason that you hate going out to eat.

Perhaps not, but probably.

It could be that you no longer enjoy venturing out to food establishments because of the crappy first impression you get from all hostesses who nowadays seem to be encouraged to present as aloof and rude to guests based on the idiotic thinking that such makes the restaurant’s employees, and the place more "trendy."

NEWS FLASH for you business owners:

It doesn’t.

Or, possibly, it's the length of time it takes for your food to be served, anything less than five-star waiter service, or even the periodic disappointing lack of menu variety.

Heck, it could even be the ridiculously high meal prices and the ever-shrinking portion sizes.

But, nah, its likely none of that.

It's my family.

We are the reason you hate going to restaurants.

We are a family of five and only two of us are adults.

We are a family of five and only two of us know how to create and maintain an inside voice.

We are a family of five and only two of us can get through a single meal without spilling at least one drink and two sets of silverware and leaving a food mess all over our face, the seat, and the surrounding floor area.

We are a family of five and only two of us know how to sit still and not accidentally bump, twirl, ninja-kick or fall into anyone in the surrounding vicinity.

We are a family of five and only two of us finish our plates, while the other three -- after playing around with it, of course -- waste an embarrassing amount of body-nourishing goodness.

But, we are a family of five, and the matriarch of the family -- me -- is Italian.

Hence, food is life.

Okay, my kids are life, but food gives me, and us as a family, the energy to love one another, learn and grow and tackle our chaotic, busy, adventure-filled life.

Sure, I could cook and feed them at home, and I do most of the time, but nothing beats eating a meal that I didn't have to make, that tastes better than anything I could have prepared.

We all know that life is full of big and small challenges whether you are a parent or not.

But, parenting, and parenting children well, on top of life's day-to-day stressors, it's hard work.

And, do you know what hard work does to a woman?

It makes her hungry, and when mama doesn't eat regularly, mama gets hangry, and when I'm hangry, I don't want to wait for me to cook a meal that I'll inevitably botch in someway.

And, so, we head out to a restaurant and spend the money that we shouldn't at a food heaven, and usually irk a select few fellow-restaurant goers in the process.

So, let me say this:

I'll start with an "I'm sorry."

But, I must add that if my family is the reason you hate going out to eat, maybe you should find a better reason.

While I could cover my mouth and keep this likely-to-be-unpopular opinion to my darn self, my toddler's already staked claim to my speaker by placing her jam-hands right upon it.

Instead, I think I'll leave you with this advice which I surmise you might take to trash and if so, could you look for my phone? I think my three-year-old threw it in there.

Okay, here’s my pro-kid guidance:

Go out to eat.

Then notice my untouched, second-glass-because-my-toddler-knocked-over-the-first, glass of wine and use said visual as an excuse to order and savor a pour of your own.

If our noise makes you feel like banging your head on the table or taking a public nap, just tune us the heck out and dial back into your table partner(s).

Are we making that hard?

Then make gentle eye contact me, offer me a soft smile and an understanding look, and I'll receive and respect your message loud and clear.

I’ll then reciprocate with a hard-effort attempt at having my well-meaning, innocent tykes make a noise and behavior adjustment.

And, not because you are a being a judgmental doodyhead, but because you are at least trying to "receive" my family and especially my children and the noise we make as we learn and grow how to act a restaurant.

Listen, my husband and I don't allow our children to be disrespectful -- in public or ever for that matter.

But, kids will be kids, and sometimes they are going to do the wrong thing, in the wrong place, at the wrong time, in front of a grumpy person who will be sure to call out that child and parent on it, probably in front of others and possibly to the restaurant manager.

Please don't be that person.

Please be a kind human who can fathom what it must have been like for your parent when you were a kid who ventured out to eat with your family.

My family could be the reason you hate going out to eat and if we are, maybe try to eat all your meals between 8:00 am, and 2:45 pm, as my kids are in school then, and anyway, I prefer an early evening time slot.

Just a thought.

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