Adults Only Please

November 25, 2008 7:00 am

A couple of weeks ago when my SIL was in town, we got a babysitter so we could go out for an adults only dinner. We put both kids to bed before leaving so I didn’t feel too guilty about going out and was excited to actually leave  the house on a Saturday night. Our plans included dinner at Friday’s before heading to The Melting Pot for chocolate fondue (You HASAYers can shove it, I had company in town so the diet was on hold). When we walked into the restaurant, the place was vacant. It was 8PM on a Saturday night so I was expecting to have to wait for a table but no. I scanned the room and there was only one other table, a family with two small kids around the same age as mine. I instantly had a feeling which turned out to be right, the hostess led us right to the table next to the family.  I’m usually a wuss about speaking my mind to strangers but I gained some courage and spoke up. I turned to the hostess and blurted “I have a babysitter tonight, can we PLEASE not sit by these kids?” I couldn’t believe I had actually uttered those words. She didn’t look too happy but she obliged and moved us to the other side of the restaurant.

When we sat down at our new location (we were upgraded from a table to a booth!), Jamie and my SIL were both shocked that I had asked to not sit by the kids. They were laughing and carrying on and openly mocking my decision. Truth be told, I was shocked too but it turned out to be the right move. Jamie said when he saw those kids he knew we’d be sitting right next to them. He was actually thinking that he wanted to sit elsewhere but he didn’t want to speak up. I actually felt really guilty for asking to move but I made sure that when I was talking to the hostess, the children-having family didn’t catch onto my plea. I’ve since learn to live with my horrible request. Sure, people with kids should be able to dine out but people who don’t want to be near kids should also get their wish. We paid our babysitter good money to sit on our couch while the kids slept the night away. We did so in the hopes of enjoying a kid-free evening and that’s what we got.

I don’t know how those kids in the restaurant ended up behaving since we were moved to the other side of the place. For all I know, they were perfect well-behaved little angels, the complete opposite of the way my kids would  have acted. We haven’t been in a restaurant (save McDonalds) with Graham since he learned to throw tantrums. Jamie and I don’t enjoy handling our kid’s meltdowns in the public eye so we just don’t put him in a circumstance that might allow for it. There’s no judgement here though, other people bring their kids out all the time and never have a problem. We don’t. We’d rather not take the kids out for a nice meal and spend the entire thing stressed out trying to get them to eat their food or quiet down. When they’re a bit older and possess some manners, we’ll take them with.  I know that I have parents and nonparents reading this blog so there should be a well-rounded audience.  I’m curious to hear if you guys think it was wrong to request a seat move? For you parents in the audience, do you get annoyed when you’re childless and you are faced with someone else’s screaming kid in public?


  1. The Stiletto Mom

    Not really. I enjoy watching someone else struggle with their kid while I don’t have to. Usually, I never get to see what other people go through bc I am too busy throwing down on my own….who totally deserve it. I am mean like that.

    The Stiletto Moms last blog post..Oh Superman Where Are You Now?

  2. Sass

    Just came across your blog from Heinous’s. I was intrigued because I, too, have completely left the working world to stay home. There’s nothing more frustrating than going out for a nice dinner sans kids and ending up near someone else’s kids.

    I’m always distracted by them, even if they’re well behaved. Congrats to you for standing up and saying something!

    I’ll be back to read more!

    Sasss last blog post..He’s no Sinatra…

  3. carrie

    No, I do not think it is wrong. If you got pissy, yes. They (kid family)deserve to be there just as you. BUT, if the place was empty, there is no reason not to move and enjoy the evening. If th eplace was packed, you would not have heard them over the noice sitting next to them 🙂
    How funny, we both wrote about going out to dinner without kids……

    carries last blog post..Wolves (25/30)

  4. feener

    i can remember one of the first times i had ever gotten a sitter and hubby and i went to chilis (it was last minute) and i was so effing happy to be out with him and away from my child and sure enough we got put next to a family with 4 kids and i was miserable the rest of the night. i think it is FINE to to ask for the seat move.

    feeners last blog post..hummmm

  5. Katie

    No way! And you handled it pefectly. Whenever we go out, we usually take the kids. Sometimes we get compliments on how wonderful our kids are, sometimes we are mopping up vomit with paper-napkins and running out the door as fast as we can. It’s a crap-shoot. You made the right call 🙂

    Katies last blog post..Bag Tag

  6. jenni

    I think it is fine to request a seat move, as long as it is done discretly, so the parents aren’t made to feel like assholes for bringing their children out, especially when the kids aren’t even being PITAs.

    Here in DC there is a booming trend of kid un-friendly restaurants – they don’t have kids menus, don’t have high chairs or booster seats, stuff like that. A lot of people hate this policy, but I kinda like it. If I want to go to dinner sans kid and sans other kids,I know just where to go. But we usually bring Oscar out with us because he’s generally well behaved.

    jennis last blog post..2 AM is as Good a Time as Any to Write a Letter to my Unborn Kid, Right?

  7. cyndi

    I think you did it just right – yay for you being assertive and all, politely of course 🙂 I’m with Katie, it’s a crapshoot for us. We’ve modified ours a bit, we took them everywhere before they started getting annoying. I think the kid-unfriendly thing is a great idea, especially if they offer takeout 😉

    cyndis last blog post..The Harry Shuffle

  8. Michele

    You handled the situation perfectly. Don’t feel bad. We love you!

    About not taking your kids out until they have manners? I’m of 2 minds on this sort of thing. Ok, I’m of 2 minds on a whole bunch of things but that’s between me and my therapist (like I could afford one? HA) Anyway, the kids won’t learn to behave in a restaurant if you don’t take them occasionally. Occasionally mind you! Not every time. And kid friendly places. Where if they meltdown you can get doggie bags and leave.

    JR and I always said that we were going to be married long after the kids were gone so we had to get away by ourselves a few times a year. Just to touch base with our relationship. No Kid talk.

    Sorry about the uber long comment. I won’t feel bad if you nod off in the middle. Plus, you need to do what’s right for you and Jamie. But you did ask?

    Micheles last blog post..My Thankful Spin or where I get all sentimental and maudlin

  9. Cat @ 3 Kids and Us

    I don’t see anything wrong with what you did. As parents, we need adult time too.

    Cat @ 3 Kids and Uss last blog post..? Look what’s baking…?

  10. Keely

    Nothin’ wrong with that. If the restaurant had been packed or it put super stress on your server to seat you in Iceland, maybe. But obviously you would have taken that into consideration.

    Keelys last blog post..In which I alienate a lot of people

  11. Cape Cod Gal

    I think that’s fine. When I was a hostess in a restaurant, I use to try and be sensitive to couples and people without kids. I always thought there could have been the chance that they were out on a “kid free” night and didn’t want to have to deal with screaming kids. I’m appauled at the way some parents let their kids behave in restaurants. They let them run around, crawl on the floor and have screaming fits. If I had even thought about doing that when I was younger my parents would have killed me. On the rare occasion that I do spy some parents with well behaved kids, I make a point to tell them how great their kids are behaving. It’s a testiment to their parenting skills and they should be commended! I’m sure Graham will get over the tantrums soon and you can start dining out again. He’s too cute not to be seen in public!

    Cape Cod Gals last blog post..Diving Down and Crotch Watching

  12. GreenJello

    No, it wasn’t wrong. Sometimes you really do need to get away from kids, and just be an adult. 🙂

    The hard thing is to go out to eat without the kids, and then not discuss them. 🙂

    GreenJellos last blog post..Quotable Quotes

  13. HeatherPride

    As a former restaurant manager, my official take on the situation is that you are the paying customer and you can sit where ever you want to. It’s really no big deal at all – they get it all the time, guaranteed. People ask for different seats a lot – most of the time they don’t state the reason, but it happens. Don’t sweat it. I promise the people at the restaurant never gave it a second thought.

    Also – your Melting Pot is empty on a Saturday night??? Man, we have to make reservations for ours even during the week! I’m so impressed!

  14. Sprite's Keeper

    Not wrong at all! I’ve done it myself. Sometimes, when you purposely need adult time, you want adult time which doesn’t include listening to mom and dad nextdoor pleading with Junior to eat his fries instead of shoving them in his sister’s nose.

    Sprite’s Keepers last blog post.."Mommy’s Here"

  15. Lydia @ On The Verge

    I would have done the same. It is so rare to go out without kids. I want to enjoy myself. I only get annoyed when the parents don’t do anything about their child.

    Lydia @ On The Verges last blog post..My First Giveaway!

  16. Katie

    I totally think you had the right to ask for a different table. In fact, from a mom perspective the family was probbly glad you didn’t sit there. That way if the kids did act up or get too loud they wouldn’t have to be in the spot of feeling bad for ruining your evening.

    Katies last blog post..Screw it…

  17. goodfather

    Nope – I feel NO GUILT AT ALL if I choose to sit away from someone else’s screaming children. Good call!

    goodfathers last blog post..Sisters

  18. Lisa (Jonny's Mommy)

    Actually, I wouldn’t care. They’re not my kids so I don’t have to stress or worry about it. 🙂

    With all that being said (whatever that was) I will say I don’t think it was wrong of you to ask to be moved. I think I would have just said: “Could we have a different seat please? ” without all the other stuff. You’re the customer. It’s up to you where you want to sit, I think.

  19. JuJu

    I don’t blame you at all. I don’t have kids but I probably would have done the same!
    I have seen a lot of kid public meltdowns and am always interested to see how the parents handle them. There are a ton of different ideas out there…

  20. Debbie

    Hurray for you! It’s not so much that it’s kids … it’s just the loudness that I don’t want to be by … and most often the loudness is from tables with adults.

    When I pay good money (I love that saying because it’s not like I have BAD money) to go out to dinner, I want to be able to hear what the people I’m dining with have to say. I want to leave without a rip roaring headache.

    Fun and laughter is fine, but there’s a line, you know.

    Debbies last blog post..Your Turn

  21. Leslie

    Heeelll no girlfriend – you did the right thing so don’t fret! You were discreet and polite and there’s nothing wrong with wanting some peace when you’re on a date night or out with your friends.

    My husband and I rarely get date nights so when we do you can bet we avoid the ultra-family friendly places because that’s what we get most of the time. However, we have stopped eating out with our kids because our youngest (21 mos) eats for 10 or 15 minutes and then he starts throwing his utensils and whining and yelling “all done” “out” over and over as loudly as he can. We probably won’t see the inside of a restuarant for several more years at least.

    Leslies last blog post..HASAY Update Week 6 – I can get my butt up – but I can’t keep my mouth shut!

  22. mrsbear

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with making that request. We rarely get anywhere without the kids, so sit down meals are usually out of the question, although Max is getting better. If I’m having a meal out without the kids and someone else’s offspring are having a bitch fest, it really doesn’t bother me, my attitude is more like “ha, ha, they’re not mine, I don’t have to fix them, neener neener neener”, immature I know but I’m not at least I don’t say it out loud.

    mrsbears last blog post..Channelling My Inner Sponge – HASAY Update

  23. Jim

    Good for you for requesting the relocation. You’re out for a little escape dammit. I don’t get as annoyed as before our son. If any kid is losing it in a restaurant though, they need to get outside for a timeout. I will tell a parent that too.

    Jims last blog post..The Wine Academy

  24. Toni

    Good for you for speaking up and someday when that hostess has kids and gets a chance to eat out with adults she will remember you and go “ahh, now I get it”

    We don’t eat out much alone or with Hunter. So, when we do I have one of those kids that people don’t want to sit by. Haa haaa we do our best not to disturb others but you know someone, somewhere is disturbed by everything.

    Tonis last blog post..A Comcast Update

  25. Michelle

    I think I must be the biggest bitch in the world, because my first thought was: “Why aren’t those kids in bed?” (I mean, your kids were, and they were the same age…)
    I think that it is reasonable to expect a toddler free meal at 8:00 at night. If you got there at 5, well, different story.
    I take Peanut with me to all kinds of fancy restaurants and she’s very well behaved. Most people don’t even notice that there is a child at the table unless they see her. But if I wanted an “adult night” I would do the exact same as you. I probably wouldn’t have given the hostess details, I would simply have requested a booth or a table near the window or wherever was comfortably distant.
    But then again, I have done the same for many other reasons. I have requested a different table because I wanted a quiet dinner and there was a huge birthday party…
    It’s your dinner, it’s your money. I don’t see anything wrong with what you did.

    Michelles last blog post..Random Tuesday Thoughts

  26. Elle Charlie

    Hey, you log in your kid hours daily – no need to feel bad for needing a night TOTALLY off, especially after you already put in a full day including bedtime routine with your own!

    Elle Charlies last blog post..MacCrankipants

  27. Petra

    I completely understand and I am so proud of you for speaking up! I am also one that tends to avoid confrontation at all costs. As for tantrumming children, we also avoid taking our kids out as much as possible, and when we are out without kids, I don’t want to be around it. I get enough of it at home!

    Petras last blog post..Guest Post: The Wise (*Young*) Mommy Goes to Metropolis

  28. Krystal

    I would do the same thing. You want alone time and deserve it. We have done the same thing when we have our date nights. We too avoid public places like restaraunts with the kiddos because of their tantrums; hopefully some day soon we will be able to go out as a family.

    Krystals last blog post..unbelievable and unforseen tragedy

  29. steenky bee

    Snap. Did you know that I stopped by here at 6:00 am my time and tried to leave you a comment while I was sitting in the tub? Yeah, that’s right, I was with out clothing. Reading your blog. WITHOUT CLOTHING. But my damn iPhone wouldn’t work and it ate my comment twice. (I just tried to post this and your site wouldn’t let me because it contained the word NOOD in it. Except for it didn’t have two Os. It was spelled with an N, and then a U and then a D and then an E.

    So here goes. I’m wondering where you want us to stick that fondu stick. (That was comedy gold at 6:00 am I tell you) Then I went on to say that the last time I was at the Melting Pot Ian Ziering (Steve Sanders) walked over and asked directions to a bar. After he left we made all sorts of crude comments about Steve and a vat of chocolate. I guess you had to be there. But then get this, a week later, my friend from work (who wasn’t at The Melting Pot with us) runs into my office and squeels that she just caught Ian trying on sunglasses at Nordstrom. It seems that Ian likes fondu and sunglasses.

    steenky bees last blog post..Say A Little Prayer Before You Read This And Hope That You’re Not On My List

  30. steenky bee

    Also, I think that everytime I comment on your site I shall rip off all my clothes and be N and then U and then D and then E. Yeah. I found a work-around didn’t I? Much better than a reach around wouldn’t you say? HAHAHA! To you, that whole work-around vs reach-around is a brand new joke. I’ve been twittering about that for weeks. Sorry, I may be a little hopped up on caffeine.

    steenky bees last blog post..Say A Little Prayer Before You Read This And Hope That You’re Not On My List

  31. Ginger

    I have often wanted to cause a scene and asked to be moved, but my southern manners always stop me. So I wind up sitting there fuming inside, then I have a hissy fit meltdown in the car, afterwards. Lucky man, my hubby!
    Hey, Debbie told me to stop by and call you a name, which, again, I’m too southern and polite to type!

    Gingers last blog post..I’m thankful I caught me a good one!

  32. crazylovescompany

    I think you did the right thing.
    We’re expecting our first in the next week or two. When we go out to dinner, we typically don’t mind sitting next to a family with young kids. The few times the kids have thrown a tantrum or something we took it as a learning experience for us. Leave kid in restaurant to scream? Or take the kid outside?
    And when we get to the babysitter stage, I think I would do the same thing. You went out to have a grown up evening, so you should.

    crazylovescompanys last blog post..Swill Stroganoff

  33. KatOlivares@MotherFonker

    im too self-absorbed to notice other people’s kids.

    this is why the kids stay home — and are only allowed out now that they’re 8 and 13. woot!

    KatOlivares@MotherFonkers last blog post..Kiddie books for mom

  34. Sandie

    I don’t think you were wrong in any way!!! I would have done the same thing!

    We have a nice-ish restaurant here in town (as nice as you can be in a small-ish town eanyway!). Twice I’ve gotten a babysitter so I could spend some ADULT time away from the kids and both times I’ve been subjected to someone else’s children (I have no idea why someone would bring their kids to this restaurant…it’s way too expensive for me to bring my kids there so we can throw half their food away). Unfortunately, this is a small restaurant so there is NO getting away from them! At least the second time the kid was quiet (except for the loud burp he let out at one point).

    So, yes, I would have asked to move too!

    Sandies last blog post..People Watching

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