Five years ago when I was planning my wedding, my husband and I came to an agreement that there would be no flower girls or ring bearers. In fact...
...we really did not want to have children at our wedding at all.
I had been to too many weddings where I would get all caught up in the emotional, beautiful vows, kleenex ready for the tears when a fussing/screaming/loud child would ultimately spoil the magic moment.
Our wedding was somewhat of a destination wedding in that 99% of the people attending were from out of town. I had reserved cottages for our friends (yes, a few did have children at that time) but we made it clear without boldly stating "no kids allowed" that it was an adult's only celebration.
Would I change the fact that we had zero (and I mean ZERO) children at our wedding now that I am a Mother of two? Absolutely not. And not to brag or anything...but our wedding was FUN. And I believe it would have been a completely different experience (and possibly not as much of a fabulous time - for the parents that is) if children were present.
There are places and events that when children are involved make life more enjoyable. Like Children's Festivals, Water Parks, Farms, the Zoo, Amusement Parks...
Weddings, restaurants, or anywhere that would ask a child to sit for more than 15 minutes...not so much.
Which brings me to the topic of conversation today.
I made a point of watching (rather more of an attempt) the Dr Phil show on Monday evening. I am not a television watcher and besides Ellen I am not really a fan of talk shows either, however, "Bitchy" from the blog The Bitchy Waiter was tweeting and fb'ing left right and centre that he was going to be on the Dr Phil show. And since I love his blog in it's entirety (even and especially when he bitches about kids...it's hilarious and let's face it...all true) my curiosity was peaked. The show was entitled "Brat Ban". Not a fan of the use of the word 'brat' however I'm not going to argue about the semantics of a silly talk show's subject title.
The gist of the show (of the 20 minutes that I actually got to watch before my boys decided they wanted my utmost attention by clobbering each other) was about individuals (mainly Mother's) being against children being banned from restaurants and planes. In fact one Mother was angrily righteous about her child being able to 'eat steak' if they so wanted (WHO ORDERS STEAK FOR THEIR CHILD I ASK?) There were opposing sides of-course...one of the Mother's on the show that was in agreeance that children are best being left at home was Mom Blogger Jennifer Brandt.
I won't even go there about children being banned from planes. That's ludicrous.
Because along with a crying child no one wants to sit beside....
- a person who's drooling, their sleepy lolling head hitting your shoulder time and time again
- the person that won't stop talking to you even though you have your ipod on and your nose buried in a book
- the person who is hacking up both their lungs, snot and mucous flung far and wide (delicious)
- or the person who has body odour so terrible that you can taste it.
No. In fact I'd rather deal with a crying child than any of the above.
Onto the restriction of children from restaurants...I don't believe there should be an all out disallowance ... that is impractical. But I do understand from a diner, server and restauranteurs point of view that children (I'm specifically talking about babies through to pre-schoolers) can cause an unpleasant disturbance amongst people that want to enjoy their dinner in peace and quiet and without being flung in the back of the head with a chicken finger. Children tend to be loud and they tend to be messy. That is a fact. Before I had children I was a waitress for about 10 years. I served in family friendly establishments to fine dining restaurants. I remember the cheerio clean ups and the occasional wild child.
However, in the year or so that I worked at the fine dining bistro I don't recall anyone bringing their baby/toddler or pre-schooler with them.
Why would one want to eat at a quaint, romantically ambient restaurant with their child(ren)?
Dining at a family style restaurant is stressful as it is due the sheer fact that children under the age of 5 or 6 most definitely have ants in their pants, why would you want to up the stress levels by lugging your child into a restaurant that clearly does not stock crayons or serve chicken fingers? (my kids will eat anything but when we do the very, very rare out for dinner excursion they love chicken fingers and fries - never would I pay for an adult's meal for my children it's a waste of food and money)
Personally, I would be entirely annoyed if my husband and I made plans to go out for a very rare nice dinner (paying a babysitter at that) and had to endure a meal with a fussy, crying child within the same room. I came to get away from children!
However, I do believe that most parents use their common sense when it comes to having dinner out as a family.
It's the rare parent that does not and has caused this ridiculous discussion in the first place. And I don't believe there is a complete solution for it all. I certainly don't think that 'banning' kids entirely is the answer.
I can just continue to hope that parents use their good sense.
And ask that, please, before you decide to trudge all your kiddos out for dinner, pick an establishment that is suitable for everyone...or just do yourselves and your kids a favour.
Get a babysitter and enjoy a romantic dinner out with your spouse.
It's much more enjoyable for all.
Provided other parents share the same logic you do, that is.