My husband and I are huge fans of eating out. Part laziness on a weekend, but partly it’s something we’ve always done as a couple, and it’s always something to look forward to. Having a child is not something that I think you should stop your real pleasures for.
Recently I was discussing this with a fellow parent at work…. I can’t quite remember how we got on to the subject, but he was telling me how he never eats out any more. The reason being that their toddler won’t sit still, and so the experience was thoroughly unenjoyable. Trying to be helpful (cos that’s the kind of gal I am), I told him about the joys of the I-pad; that it was our trusted friend and whenever we went out to a restaurant with our daughter, we’d be straight on the WiFi and putting Blippi on YouTube. The suggestion went down like a lead balloon…
The accusation was direct; “So you’d rather be stuffing your face than spending quality time with your kid? I think we have rather different approaches to parenting”.
Well, clearly we do. Let me tell you why I think our approach works.
Every weekend we think of something fun to do as a family, and it inevitably includes something outside, and an obligatory trip to the park. We love walking, so try to find trips out that include something child-friendly and something where we can stretch our legs. We love our family days out, and so does Jess. She loves everything about the weekend. But as I started, we also love eating out- and unfortunately this isn’t always compatible with the behaviours of a toddler. Luckily for us she loves using the I-pad, and since she isn’t allowed it in the house, regards time with it a real treat. We often finish walks to a trip to a country pub. She’ll sit happily munching on whatever we order her, swiping between shoes. So really it’s win win all round; we get an hour or two relaxing, and she gets to watch videos with a grown man running around soft play. It works.
Don’t judge our parenting on a couple of hours over a full weekend. Because of our treats we don’t feel like we’re missing out on our pre-child pleasure, and no doubt are happier, more positive people because of it!