Why it is important to take our littles out in public

I realized the fatal flaw in the waitress’s placement of the girls’ booster chairs right next to each other when I witnessed Ruth’s hand shoot out to wave around in her sister’s face. Rose immediately emitted an ear splitting shriek that only children with older siblings know how to do. The eyes of the entire restaurant were on our table as I panicked and attempted to resolve the problem before the girls drew any more attention to us. Ruth, pleased that her hand waving had produced such a satisfactory response, waved her hand in front of Rose’s face again as I dived toward them to separate them. Too late! Rosie’s second shriek rent the air. The lady at the table next to us turned toward me and exclaimed, “God Almighty!” Tears welled up in my eyes as I picked Rosie up and took her outside to walk around. I felt as if the eyes of the entire restaurant followed me as we left the room in shame.

We who have children all know the look. That look that strangers give us when they see us venture out in public with our young children. That look that says, “if your child irritates me in the slightest, I am going to be livid!” And I can sympathize to a certain extent. I know first hand that children behaving badly can be extremely irritating. I also acknowledge that there are certain environments to which children should probably not be brought.

However, those of us with young children do have to leave the house every now and then, not only out of necessity but also for the sake of our sanity. We can’t always get a babysitter. Furthermore, our young children NEED to experience a variety of environments so that they can learn how to behave in public. And unfortunately while learning how to behave in public, they are going to mess up sometimes. We as parents sometimes depend on the patience and understanding of the general public as our children learn.

As for all those looks that you parents feel while your cheeks are burning from embarrassment at your toddler’s meltdown, I like to think that some of those looks are actually the sympathetic looks of parents who have been there. And they are thinking to themselves, Hang in there, mama. It may be hard now, but it is well worth it in the end.20140610-194213-70933805.jpg

About sylcell

Wife, mom of four girls, Catholic, insatiable sweet tooth
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12 Responses to Why it is important to take our littles out in public

  1. Jude says:

    Oh, this takes me back. My little boy was ‘finding his voice’ while we were out grocery shopping at the local supermarket. He shrieked at everything & tried to say the words that weren’t quite forming from his mouth. A crabby woman came up to me & told me to ‘keep your child quiet!!’. I was so flabbergasted for a moment I was shell shocked……….. & then I went after her with my trolly and rammed her saying ‘what do you want me to do, gag him’. I was so mad. I wonder what kind of child she was!!!!! I have told this story over and over again still flabbergasted at what a miserable old cow she was. My little boy is now 23 and is still loud, but confident and vibrant and just darned brilliant. Love our kids for who they are and what they become. My life is all the more colourful for having 5 beautiful children……… and that is another matter of how judgemental people can be that I have had so many children. God made me to be a mother and I am so blessed to be one. I wish I’d been there at the restaurant with you. Now I’m in my 50’s I don’t stay quiet. xx


  2. mvniemeier says:

    Thank you! I read this one morning at work. That evening, I took my two tiny humans to the library (5 and 2). The 2 year old emphasized your post well as he wailed at the checkout counter for his “choo-choo” movie. Many eyes were on us, glaring and waiting for us to leave as quickly as possible. But, I took a deep breath because you’re right – I needed to be out somewhere besides work or home and my tiny human needs to learn how to behave in public. Bummer it had to be such a noisy lesson. We just might go back tonight for round 2. :)


  3. My son is only 6 1/2 months old. I’ve taken him out with me everywhere since he was only a few days old. He was born at the beginning of winter, so the comments about that alone were enough to make me explode. Moving on. I also believe that you have to put your kids in everyday situations out in the world so they can learn how they are supposed to act. The younger the better. I hate being stuck in the house day in and day out. Go to work, come home, go to sleep. Do it all over again. Ick. I would go insane.

    Great post. Thank you for the reassurance that everyone goes through the looks and comments. It’s great to not feel alone.


  4. rachandboys says:

    This post actually made me laugh out loud, our middle boy is a shrieker and we have been subject to many a stare or a tut. The shrieking does work to the advantage though that I can’t hear any comments being made by the obviously childless woman in the corner ;)


  5. lawdawg2011 says:

    It is for these reasons that I love a well designed park, Chick-Fil-A, and GTA’s Wonderquest.

    The park allows the kiddos run and scream and tumble, with no reason for embarrassment. And boy, do they need the exercise. We stopped a great one in Lakeland, FL on our last trip: Common Ground – http://www.lakelandgov.net/parkrec/CommonGroundInclusivePlayground.aspx

    Chick-Fil-A offers much of the same, and you also get clean restrooms (which can never be over-appreciated), tasty, quick, nutritious meals with great customer service, values, and support (lots of high-chairs, plastic table covers, purell wipes, etc.)

    Wonderquest lives up to its name. Professional, live acting for kids. About the same length as a Disney movie, without the mindless staring at the television. The next show will be “Sleeping Beauty,” with options for back stage tours and ice cream socials with the cast – http://gta.ung.edu/Pages/Sleeping%20Beauty.aspx

    What you can always find at these places is other parents with the same end-goal: get the little angels out of the house before they turn into little monsters (from the cabin-fever of course).

    – from a well-loved husband, and father of three (with no financial ties to the City of Lakeland, Chick-Fil-A, or the Gainesville Theatre Alliance)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sarah Allen says:

    Thank you for the perspective on how we need to take our kids into these environments so they learn how to manage themselves eventually. I have avoided this for a while (ie. grocery store, restaurants, coffee shops, shopping, etc…) for the difficulty it brings. I have slowly started taking them on some errands and they are as tough to manage, if not more, because I have sheltered them from having to do things that do not directly involve their entertainment or pleasure. My husband and I have been housebound for nearly 3 years now for the most part and there are only so many movies you can watch while eating the same takeout you can handle before thinking, “we are so lame!!!” Thanks for the authenticity in which you write both in your experience of motherhood and journey to Catholicism. My husband was just confirmed in the church last Easter and I plan on attending RCIA this Fall as I search for a good program that also meets our schedule. 🙏


  7. Holly says:

    The funny thing is, pre-children I might have been thinking the same… Well not quite so bad. Just that hmm… I wish the child wouldn’t be so loud. No god almightys as such haha but now, we take our daughter almost everywhere. She’s pretty good but kids can be loud & disruptive. I think oh well… The occasional tantrum isn’t enough to stay housebound. Kids love outings! Stuff the cranky old women of the world ;)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I hate those stares and the side-comments strangers give during our difficult mommy moments. It is hard enough to keep it together while wrangling a tantruming child (or two) without having to worry about what others are thinking. Your blog is quickly becoming one of my favorites! :)


  9. Marta Withers says:

    You should have invited the rude lady to join you for a group lesson in restaurant manners.

    Liked by 1 person

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