Welcome to the gates of hell, friends.
…Kidding, well, sort of.
I actually think there are ways to eat at restaurants with young children and still enjoy yourself. Want some tips? Yes, I think you do. [A word of caution: many of my tips will lead complete strangers to judge you and call you a mediocre mom behind your back. If you’ve made your peace with this, proceed. If you’re holier than thou and want to maintain a public image of a perfect parent, this is where you close the window.]
Tip 1: Order a massive cocktail
Ideally the cocktail will be the approximate size of a child’s face, so you can cover it up and pretend they’re not there. There are two small issues with this, however. The first is that you can still hear them. The second is…
…they’ll fiiiiiiiiiind you.
Tip 2: Dine with other families
I highly recommend going out for meals with other families. This way, the children can entertain themselves (read: run amuck, dance, disturb other people’s meals, almost pull heat lamps, umbrellas and various other heavy things down on themselves) and you can theoretically eat your meal while it’s hot. Theoretically. If you get nasty looks from other patrons, remind them you’re not giving your children iPads instead, and the people will be instantly appeased and praise you for your amazing parenting techniques.
Tip 3: Order strategically
If you order your children anything other than chicken fingers, fries, pizza, or mac and cheese, they won’t stay seated longer than 30 seconds. Let them get juice/chocolate milk wasted, let them have dessert, but most importantly, let them eat nothing. It doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, and kids’ meals pack up beautifully for lunch the next day.
Tip 4: Dine al fresco
If the weather is good, patio dining is always an A+ choice when you’re with kids. First of all, fresh air is so good for children. Secondly, when they inevitably spill their milk and drop 92% of their meal on the floor, you can sleep better at night knowing the rain will wash it away and/or you’ve fed some adorable critters.
Tip 5: Order all the things
You will need to carb load for the energy to wrangle up two extremely sugared up kids and get them to bed at a semi-reasonable time. That extra slice of pizza will single handedly fuel your mad dash through the house chasing a naked toddler refusing to put on his diaper before he goes to sleep.
Tip 6: Go at 5:30 pm. The early bird special guarantees annoying fewer other diners, and also ensures you can still make your 9 pm bedtime. It’s win win.
I hope you found all my tips helpful and that you’ll find the strength within to venture out for dinner with your kids now. Takeout is really gross guys, am I right? So go enjoy a meal hot and fresh, and thank me later. XO, The Athleisure Teacher/Mediocre-st Mom