baby

"My baby might be four months old but it doesn't mean she can't be in a restaurant."

Last Sunday was out of the ordinary for us.

After attending a family birthday lunch at my in laws, my husband and I were presented with the rare opportunity of an (older) child free night.

I was due to return back to work the following day after four months maternity leave and my in-laws kindly offered to have our older kids overnight, so I could ease back into things. Working from home while caring for children is not always ever easy so I jumped at the chance.

We soon realised that not only were we free of the bath time/bedtime routine for a night but that our dinner options were a little more extensive than usual.

Sure, we had our four month old in tow but she’s the third child and I’m a lot more relaxed about things. She isn’t in a proper routine yet, and she’s an easy going baby so we decided to have dinner in a restaurant near our house. Plus, she’s breastfed so we are kind of a package deal.

We decided to go out for an early dinner. Image: iStock.

We could have stayed home but it’s so rare that we get the opportunity to have dinner in real life restaurants that we decided to go for it. We’re not talking a fancy ten course degustation either, just the local Thai place. I really didn't think that taking our baby with us would be an issue.

Everything was great. The food was amazing, the location was gorgeous and the baby was perfectly behaved. In fact, she slept most of the time in her capsule.

My husband and I had actual discussions that didn’t revolve around our children and we both finished our meals in our own time. Any parent will tell you how blissful that is.

As I was eating, an older lady also dining at the restaurant walked past. She seemed nice at first. “Oh what a gorgeous baby,” she said. I smiled and thanked her and then in the most condescending tone I’ve heard she said,  “Oh mummy, it’s too late for me. Take me home. I need to be in my bed. I shouldn't be out at night”.

Pardon me?

It was a rare night out for us. Image: iStock.
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Firstly, lady it was 7:00pm. I was two streets away from my house and my baby was sound asleep. Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, it’s none of your stinkin' business. Unless my child was disturbing your dinner (which she wasn't) your opinion is not needed. Pretending to be the voice of my child to make your point is actually just patronising.

What you really meant to say was, “In my opinion, despite not knowing you, your child or your parenting, I believe you should take that child home. I don’t agree with her being out at this time and by all accounts I am somewhat of a baby whisperer. It’s not what I would have done, so therefore it’s wrong."

But saying that to a stranger would be rude and intrusive, wouldn't it? Put on a baby voice and no one will hear what you're really trying to say.

My four month old baby was asleep in her pram beside us. Image: iStock.

Guess what? It's still rude and intrusive.

To you, it may have looked like I was a first time mother, someone who needed your wisdom (I'm joking by the way, new mothers really don't want your opinions either) but in fact, no. I’ve spent five years listening to the parenting tips of strangers, some of which have been judgement veiled in cutesy baby talk, just like yours.

So random stranger because I don't know you, I won't make assumptions. I don't know if you've got kids, I don't know if you have grandchildren. What I do know is this, so long as a child's basic needs are being met, it's none of my damn business what their parents choose to do with them.

I suggest you adopt the same mentality.

Have you ever been shamed for having your baby in a restaurant? 

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