The minute I see a child sitting at a table, it makes my nerves jangle and my stress levels soar, writes Kate Mulvey

A few evenings ago, I was sitting in an expensive restaurant with a couple of friends. Halfway through the lamb cutlets, three rowdy children at the next table started to misbehave.

Two of them, who were about five and seven, were loudly quarrelling and kicking each other, while their parents continued with their own meal as if nothing was happening. As one of the boys began loudly banging his spoon on the table, I decided I’d had enough.

‘Excuse me,’ I said as I whipped round in my seat. ‘Could you please deal with your children?’

The mother bristled as if it was my fault: ‘What do you want me to do – leave them at home?’

Not a bad idea, I thought, as I turned back, seething inwardly. Why did these parents think it was OK to disrupt everyone else’s evening just so they could escape the house without bothering to find a babysitter?

The minute I see a child sitting at a table, it makes my nerves jangle and my stress levels soar, writes Kate Mulvey

The minute I see a child sitting at a table, it makes my nerves jangle and my stress levels soar, writes Kate Mulvey

It’s not the first time an evening meal has been ruined like this – from the toddler who splattered me with ragu sauce, to the ear-splitting screams of babies as I am tucking into steak frites on a date, not to mention the four-year-olds who decided to use a Michelin-starred restaurant as their own personal playground. As a result, the minute I see a child sitting at a table, it makes my nerves jangle and my stress levels soar.

So I firmly believe it’s time we stood up to today’s unruly families and banned all children under ten from restaurants after 7.30pm.

I don’t think it’s an unreasonable demand. An evening spent enjoying good food and wine with friends is a refuge of peace and calm, where the stresses of the day can melt away amid the laughter and chatter. The last thing we want is a noisy pack of rampaging infants giving us a collective headache.

Kate Mulvey says it's not the children's fault but she does blame the parents

Kate Mulvey says it’s not the children’s fault but she does blame the parents

I am not the only one who feels this way. Fellow childless mates moan about the toddler brigade, and even friends with children tell me that when they manage to carve out a bit of ‘me time’, the last thing they want to hear is bellowing children. We already have adult-only hotels, where grown-ups can escape being colonised by families, so surely a child-free restaurant should be an option too?

Before you accuse me of being a bitter, oblivious child-hater, let me say that I have regularly taken my beloved nephews out to eat over the years – but at the more socially considerate lunchtime slot, or for an early dinner before most people go out in earnest.

Because I do get it; becoming unruly is what children do. I wouldn’t assume a three-year-old could stay quiet for hours. That’s what daytime, child-friendly eateries are for.

It’s not their fault – but I do blame the parents. When I was younger, if we were taken out to restaurants we had to sit up straight and behave, or else we would be marched back home and straight to bed. And no matter how well we minded our manners, we were home and tucked up in bed by 7.30. My parents would have been mortified at the prospect of me and my siblings causing a scene and drawing other diners’ attention, and they would have acted the second we stepped out of line.

How things have changed. Now entitled and selfish parents let their toddlers climb over chairs and rush around annoying everyone else while they quaff their prosecco.

Well, I am sick of our modern, child-centric society where the family is king and parents think the rest of us should bend our lives around the diktats of their snivelling brood.

Yes, children should be free to play and have fun, zooming around in parks and gardens with their footballs and scooters.

But by allowing them to run amok in a restaurant in the evening, you are discriminating against those of us who want to chat to our fellow diners without a side order of squabbling brat.

Restaurants are not cheap. If I have paid a tidy sum to enjoy the privilege of eating out, I shouldn’t have to worry about your marauding children ruining my night just because you can’t find childcare.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

Ipswich, Queensland: Tragedy as woman is found dead in Brisbane home after welfare check – as man is arrested

By Freddy Pawle For Daily Mail Australia Published: 20:56 EDT, 14 July…

Shania Twain Looks So Different Without Makeup

It’s super easy to imagine Shania Twain in the glamorous makeup and…

Donald Trump shot: PETER VAN ONSELEN on how Anthony Albanese compared an Aussie example with the shooting of the US President… so was it a bit of a long bow, Albo?

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has compared the assassination attempt on former US…

Major casino switches off pokies across three venues

The Star has shut down its poker machines after a glitch with…