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Mommy Dearest: Distressed By Diners' Dirty Looks

Mommy Dearest: Distressed By Diners' Dirty Looks

Mommy Dearest,

My husband and I have always loved trying new restaurants and nothing has changed since we've had our sons who are 3-year-old and one.

For the most part, our boys are well mannered and sit still at the table. We are careful to dine early and bring goodies to occupy them.

Thus far, we've never had a big outburst. What I find bothersome is the looks that diners give us when we walk into a restaurant. Like they are just waiting for our kids to act up. It's so rude! Is there a good way to handle the glares?

—Distressed By Dirty Looks

To see Mommy Dearest's response,


Distressed By Dirty Looks,

I usually chalk up mean glares to unhappy people. It sounds like you are doing everything you can to create a great environment for your sons as well as fellow restaurant patrons. And, as paying customers your well behaved lil ones have just as much right to be there as anyone else.

I've experienced ill intended looks a time or two myself and though it's hard, I just try not to let it unnerve me. The best revenge is when someone comes up to compliment your kids and the diner who gave them the dirty looks is in earshot.

—Mommy Dearest

Sumbit a question for this feature at the Mommy Dearest Group on TeamSugar.


Indigo4320 Indigo4320 9 years
Get over it. Why should you even care if you get dirty looks? If your kids are well-behaved then it'll show and the glare-givers will feel bad for having assumed your kids will cause a mess and be loud. You just have to put up with the glares because usually you see a family with small children and they are making a ton of noise and a huge mess. I used to be a server in a restaurant and would seriously cringe at the sight of a family with young kiddos. It typically meant gooey crackers stomped into the carpet and crayon marks on ketchup bottles and chairs...AND the kicker being the parents tip poorly. I've seen it happen time and time again and THAT is why you get glares...
minaminamina minaminamina 9 years
I don't have a problem with well-behaved children in restaurants, but the brats that are screaming and running around with parents who refuse to keep an eye on them are not only annoying, but DANGEROUS. Your kids sound fine to me - but anyone with the aforementioned brats better not threaten to sue me if I dropped hot soup on them because they're darting through my legs as I serve...
snarkypants snarkypants 9 years
i at least wait til people are annoying until i glare. i think it's stupid that people expect you not to bring your well-behaved kids somewhere. now poorly behaved kids, that's another story. however, before bringing your kids to a NICE restaurant, please think about whether their behavior is acceptable not only to you, but others. i've been out tons of times when a little one gets bored after eating and wanders around the restaurant stopping at every table to say hi. then a parent comes chasing them down with a big smile on their face. "isn't s/he cute?" NO not cute. annoying. and dangerous. i've even seen a server trip of a kid, nearly dropping a plate on the kid's head!
SugarKat SugarKat 9 years
I went out to a restaurant the other day with 4 kids (two under two, one about 7 and another about 10). The kids were great until they had to wait 45 minutes for their meal after we were all told that they'd bring out the kids meals early! Even then, they weren't really disruptive, but we were all hungry and cranky. Once I was at a Mexican restaurant and there was a 40something year old man talking on his cell phone on speaker! Talk about disruptive. The other person on the line finally asked if she was on speaker and I yelled from about 4 tables over, "Yep, you're on speaker...we all know what you're talking about." The other patrons clapped and laughed. My point (yes I do have one) is that adults can be disruptive too so people shouldn't judge based on age, and kids are more likely to act up if you get crappy service. Another thing, you should take your kids out on their schedule, not yours. They're less likely to act up. I won't go out after 7 with my 2 year old daughter because she usually is in bed by 8 and needs her night routine. I know that by disrupting that, dinner won't be that much fun.
wiciltd wiciltd 9 years
As a non parent I can understand the peoples looks yes, I do agree that it's not really fair.. But from my experience I am probably guilty of the same thing.. Not with babies mind you..I know babies cry it's their thing.. With me my annoyance generally stems from 3yrs+ But you also have to remember all parents seem to think their children are fabulous and everyone else should agree.... And some parents also think it's perfectly okay to bring a toddler to a restaurant and then not do anything when the kind screams cries and generally disturbs everyone around them..And the parents just smile goofily at their kid as if they're singing pretty music.. But then there ARE those rare kids who's parents actually discipline them and teach them how to behave in public.. And you breathe My mummy does daycare and she is very in control of her kids.. She actually got $20 from some old ladies to buy the kids some ice cream because she thought it was a delight to be able to eat in a restaurant with kids and not be serenaded by insanity.. That's just my two cents
lickety-split lickety-split 9 years
people here take their kids to expensive restaurants that's annoying to me. if it's a family restaurant great, no problem. but when i'm paying for atmosphere, i don't want to deal with kids. i'm talking $100 a person restaurants. the last time we went out was for our anniversary and it was 9:00 p.m. there were little kids (4 and under) running around their own table and going to the bathroom a dozen times and the occasional scream. so from now on we won't go to that restaurant and we told them so when we left. maybe those people are regulars, and we don't spend that kind of money on dinner very often, so maybe the restaurant doesn't care but there you go. if we go to something like outback, or black bear diner i expect little kids, but 9:00 p.m. at ruth's chris i don't. so i guess my advice is dine early :)
JessNess JessNess 9 years
As long as your kids are well behaved just ignore the dirty looks. In my experience, if I walk into a place and notice there are a lot of loud kids I usually ask the host/hostess if they can sit me in an area without kids, that way everyone is happy. I've given dirty looks to adults who are too loud
qbert qbert 9 years
My only concern when I take my daughter (1 year old) out is the mess. I make sure to pick up every little piece of food that falls on the floor. I took her to an upscale restaurant with my parents and in-laws to celebrate my husband getting his MBA, so my two "babysitters were with us. I would rather upset some people next to me than leave her at home with someone other than our parents at this age. If somebody wants to be away from kids so bad they can send their kids somewhere and stay in. Don't go out in public if you dislike having kids around. I have met many adults that are far more obnoxious than most kids are. Particularly those that have a problem with kids going out in public. The only way for kids to learn what is socially acceptable when dining out is to dine out.
JennyJen2 JennyJen2 9 years
I have actually had an experience where a person asked to be moved because we came in with our daughter. It was in a sit down pizza joint and the middle of the afternoon - It really ticked me off because she was actually sleeping and never even made a peep. Our waitress was so mean to him after that and felt so bad for us. Come to find out she had a baby about a month older and was just as angry about his rude behavior as we were!
jennifer76 jennifer76 9 years
I went out with two girlfriends tonight and we sat in the bar section of a restaurant. There were THREE families with children in there! THREE! Now, we sat in the bar section because the restaurant was crowded and we didn't want to have to wait forever for a table. So, maybe they did, too. But people smoke in there! And it's the BAR section!
ashleyinspain ashleyinspain 9 years
There are certain restaurants where you expect to find kids and others where there is a reasonable expectation of a peaceful dinner. I confess to glaring--when the kids are misbehaving/running riot/being far louder than any other patron. I smile at kids who are behaving well (based on my own subjective opinion of what "well" means) and at stressed-out parents on airplanes. Taking kids on a plane, to the grocery, etc is unavoidable and I don't know many people who'd choose to fly with an infant, so I have enormous amounts of sympathy. Restaurants are a different matter entirely.
lms lms 9 years
I have an 8 year old who has been to many different types of restaurants with me from she was very little. I have never noticed any strange looks. I don't typically take her to high end restaurants, although she has gone before. She is pretty good in restaurants and she usually ends up being "friends" with the waiters and some other guests. I do understand when some kids are unruly and the parents don't do anything about it. I don't have a problem with them in any restaurant as long as they behave. I refuse to be subjected to "kiddie type restaurants" or "family restaurants" only b/c I have a kid and want to take her out.
brittanybe brittanybe 9 years
I have two daughters, 3 and 1, and we don't take them out to eat with us. When my husband and I go out to eat, we are taking a BREAK from our kids, and the last thing I want to listen to is someone else's screaming children. However, I never ASSUME that someoens kids are going to scream. If the kids are well-behaved, I don't mind. But if they start acting up, mom and dad need to get them out-- we're not paying to listen to your kids cry.
AKirstin AKirstin 9 years
It's unnerving, isn't it? No one would think it was socially acceptable to give a dirty look to someone because they are a specific race or gender, but no one seems to have any problem at all flaunting their ageism. It makes me sick. I see it every now and then, when I'm out with my six year old daughter. If they keep looking at us I just ask them if there is something I can help them with.
sweetnshy5282 sweetnshy5282 9 years
I hate when people give you looks when you walk into a restaurant, store, onto an airplane or anywhere else. children have a place in society just as much as adults do. I don't care whether the adult has children and got a sitter for the night or doesn't have children and never plans to. children should be treated just like any other person. granted there are places children don't belong, like an expensive, upscale restaurant or something. but if I walk into Friendly's w/ my kids in tow people can roll their eyes all they want. my kids have a right to be out in public just as they do.
Mme-Hart Mme-Hart 9 years
I second what Jennifer said. Honestly, my 4-month old has eaten in a Michelin restaurant and people gave us glares but who cares??? I don't know these people so I don't care. One guy rolled his eyes and so I blew him a kiss LOL!!!!
jennifer76 jennifer76 9 years
I don't understand why you would want to do anything about dirty looks. If someone says something to you, that's one thing. But, just the way someone looks...? Not worth getting all worked up over. P.S. It probably wouldn't hurt for you to have sympathy for your fellow diners now and then, even if they are rude people with mean faces. Sometimes, some of us scramble to find a sitter because we really just want to spend some time in adultland. And, $100+ later and the only night we're able to find a sitter in a long time, having to share that evening with the next table over's children can be a little disappointing sometimes. I wouldn't glare at anybody about it, but I can empathize with someone who might.
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