There are so many things we give up, put on hold, say goodbye and hello to when we bring children into this world. I think we can all agree that going out to dinner is one of the most basic acts we all took for granted before children. But what about after children? So many are afraid to take this leap because of what MIGHT happen. Let me just tell you… it will happen. There, now we can move on and navigate the waters of getting out there, being human and going out to your favorite place every once in a while when you need that escape or the fridge is empty, or most likely, both.
When we brought home our first daughter 11 years ago, we went out to eat almost right away. I still remember the meal. It was chilly-cheese fries and a chocolate milk shake at one of our Chicago favorites. Considering I now have a career in nutrition, that is completely appalling and embarrassing, but such is truth sometimes. I had my little one right there with us with all the noise and chaos surrounding her tiny pink covered car seat. I didn’t know many things as a new mom, but I did know that I never wanted her to subscribe to the “rest can only happen in my own bed when it is 100% quiet” mentality. Those times are great, too, but life is life and it is not always quiet.
Another mentality that I was not allowing was the one where the children become accustomed to running the show. They will have decades of their lives, “in charge”, but first they have to know how to respect their parents, elders, communities, time, siblings and themselves. If they are in charge at age 1 going forward, how are they going to understand how to effectively lead later in life. Everyone must learn before they can teach.
To be honest, we never went through the hesitation of taking kids out to eat, even as the twins were born two years later and our fourth daughter came 2 years after that. However, I have met a considerable amount of petrified parents that will not even consider the prospect. Here are some mental checklists to go through before you head out the door.
• Poop happens – pack an extra set of clothes, wipes, diapers etc. and if you are out of that phase, accidents can still happen. An extra set of clothes in the car is always a good idea. This goes for spitting up/reflux as well.
• Screaming and Crying happens – bring things to entertain them. Toys, books, coloring, snacks, etc. all go a long way to keeping them happy.
To read more of Nellie’s tips, click here…