Many times in the past months I have had business meetings at Mimi’s, a local restaurant I frequent because of their quiet and calm atmosphere. Not so lately. My meetings have been interrupted by toddlers who are yelling, screaming, crying and/or banging the utensils on the table. Of course, I can’t leave out the little ones who run around the restaurant like it was a racetrack.
I watch as parents either ignore their little offsprings or take them out to the lobby of the restaurant for a few minutes, only to return to the table and have a repeat occurrence. I have often wondered what parents promise or threaten their kids in these situations.
Yes, I have been vigilant in asking to be seated in a quiet area with no kids, but that only lasts until a hostess seats new people near me. I thought of carrying ear plugs but that wouldn’t work in a business meeting because I don’t read lips.
I wonder what parents are thinking when they would like to “go out to eat,” so I have listed a few choices to make my experience better as well as theirs.
*Teach your children manners at home, not at the restaurant. They should have been trained before they were brought to an eating establishment. Don’t let them scream or bang utensils at home and then expect them to be perfect little angels in public.
*Invite friends and family to your house for breakfast or lunch so your children can practice eating with others. It is an acquired talent.
*If you frequent McDonald’s or Chucky Cheese and let your children run around, that’s ok. Those restaurants cater to children, but don’t expect a miracle when you bring them in to a “grown-up” atmosphere.
*Get a babysitter and give yourself a break. Parents look forward to having a meal with some peace and quiet. Eating cold food becomes typical when you have small ones, so treat yourself to an enjoyable dining experience and let others enjoy it as well.
Yes, I am a parent and had 2 little well-mannered children who ate in restaurants at a very early age. Maybe this is why I am getting a little impatient lately with the lack of discipline I see in some young families.
I could suggest my business meetings take place at Happy Hour, and just hope that we are not interrupted by adults screaming, yelling and banging their beer bottles.