Uncomfortable dinners

Conversation. Smiles. Sitting up straight. What is this parenting witchcraft?

What’s better than raising children? Nothing! Well, maybe free beer.

Living in a capital city means there’s always a lot going on. Including this Tiger Beer promotion for a free pint in one of the many bars in Dublin. These kind of benefits almost make up for the lack of sunshine and overinflated rents.

I went with my wife and kids to Harry’s on the Green – a nice underground bar near Gaiety Theatre. Plush surroundings, deep mahogany furnishings, a fancy cocktail bar and soft jazz playing over the speakers. Immediately, my wife and I had the very same thought: “we don’t belong here!”.

Going out to places is always a little disconcerting. I don’t want to have to be forced to go to McDonald’s or the Hard Rock Cafe or Abrakebabra (although, great pun guys!). But I’m aware of the nuisance children can cause at such establishments. Those looks you get from other customers are similar to the looks you get just by stepping onboard an aeroplane with a kid in your arms. I wish I were ballsy enough to sit down next to a frowning couple, order two Redbull and Cokes for my kids and then tell them to run free. But I don’t. Placating them with a blank sheet of paper and a pen is usually enough.

So it was with intense relief when another couple with kids walked in. Hallelujah! Comradeship, solidarity, support!

A happy sigh and a smile to each other, we watched them as they sat down. This is now a ‘family-friendly’ restaurant. Haha! Bad luck couples – your quiet romantic afternoon drink is now truly ruined! With any luck these kids will be worse behaved than mine.

It gave me an idea. In the spirit of Airbnb and Uber, maybe families can do ‘restaurant-sharing’. You’re in town with your kids, you want to grab a bite to eat somewhere nice but feel intimidated, you log on to our website and find similar stressed out parents who are willing to enter the same restaurant ten minutes before or after you, just to tip the balance in your favour. That’s it. Don’t need to sit together, or even say hello – a knowing nod or smile is all. Noone has the energy to sigh, tut and grumble over two sets of kids.

This was all swirling around in my head when the mother pulled out two iPads to keep her daughters quiet. iPads! In a restaurant! What is wrong with parents today?!

Photo credit: Tetra Pak



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