When it comes to eating in public, my family just graduated from being a “booth” family (wherein we can fit in any restaurant booth) to being a “long table in the middle of room” family (wherein everyone can gawk at us oddities saying grace and at yours truly nursing non-stop).
It’s as much fun as it sounds like and I think a new kind of family friendly restaurant is definitely in order.
“What?! Eat out in public?! Why aren’t you at home preparing every meal from scratch?” You may say.
“Well, my family is bigger than yours and my kids behave perfectly no matter where we sit,” you may say.
“Don’t worry, your kids are small now but they will grow. No need to go over the top trying to imagine a whole new breed of restaurant,” you may say.
To which I say, “Look, I have three kids, five years old and younger, one’s an infant, and yes, a.) we do eat out because I do have days where I am loathed to cook and b.) congrats on the perfectly behaved offspring, but for us, the reality is that as soon as we went past two kids, we began to think the only place that would feed us was the zoo and c.)if anyone did create an eatery with a large family in mind I would so patronize the place! Wouldn’t you?
And if I was to go all out in designing it, it would look something like this (disclaimer: postpartum motherhood fantasy about to commence):
- The restaurant would not just be one room, but a room of rooms, each large enough for several large families to use and not disturb others.
- In each room, there would be little tables for little people, with seatbelts on the chairs, remote controlled from a switch panel at the parents’ table.
- There would be ample space for strollers, car seats and high chairs.
- There would be crayons attached with strings to the kids’ table to prevent them from getting lost or falling on the floor.
- The restaurant would provide complimentary disposable bibs and placemats.
- There would be a wipes station; baby wipes for the kids, and cleaning wipes for the table and hand Sanitizer every five feet.
- Each room would come with it’s own family bathroom with a baby changing station, kid sized toilets and stepping stools up to the sinks.
- There would be a private nursing station, behind a screen, with a rocker and Netflix so that I might never want to stop nursing (imagine that!)
- Perhaps complimentary champagne for the mothers. Because that goes with any meal, even breakfast, right?
- And let’s not forget the all important endless river. This one might take a little extra effort with the packing of the bathing suits and towels, but just imagine it: you, sitting, socializing away for a couple of hours while your children float in on large inflatable tubes around you in a perpetual circle, completely entertained while being monitored by a life guard on duty.
If it sound like I just turned my ideal restaurant into a cruise ship/water park hybrid it’s because I did.
And of course the food would be amazing, affordable and delivered to my house by robots on days that just didn’t feel like going out.
I apologize for the complete “first world problems” rant in this supposedly Catholic post, but you know, a mom can dream!
Have any ideas for your ideal family friendly restaurant? Leave a comment below!
Copyright 2013 Marissa Nichols
About the Author
We welcome guest contributors who graciously volunteer their writing for our readers. Please support our guest writers by visiting their sites, purchasing their work, and leaving comments to thank them for sharing their gifts here on CatholicMom.com. To inquire about serving as a guest contributor, contact editor@CatholicMom.com.