If you've ever had to deal with a child screaming on a plane, or a kid crying in a movie theater, you've likely had the thought, if you can't control your kid, don't take them out in public. Parenting blogger Clint Edwards used to feel the same way when he was a young waiter who was just trying to do his job. But now that he's a parent, he's learned the hard way that this isn't always a fair assessment.
Edwards, who writes for No Idea What I'm Doing: A Daddy Blog, took to the blog's Facebook page on Saturday to share his experience trying to take his kids to a restaurant. When he and his wife took their 3 children to dinner, his toddler began acting up, and since Edwards was the only one finished with his food, he got the task of removing said toddler from the restaurant.
"We went out to dinner as a family, and she had a meltdown because mom wouldn't let her throw chicken strips," he wrote. "So she screamed, and screamed, and kicked and kicked, and since I was the only one finished with my meal, I had the pleasure of dragging her out of Red Robin."
On the way out, he wrote, he could see the judgment on strangers' faces.
"I carried her past the bar and everyone stared at me, most of them childless, I assumed" he continued. "No one with children would give me that straight faced, lip twisted look that seems to say, 'if you can't control your kid, then don't go out.'"
But as any parent knows, you can't always control your kid.
"She's two and it's going to take years to teach her how to act appropriately in public, and the only way I am ever going to teach that is to take her out and show her what's right and wrong," he wrote. "These lessons take patience, hard work, and real world experiences, and I’m sorry to those at the bar who got irritated by my child's fit, but you are part of this practice. Your parents did the same with you, and that’s how you now know how to recognize when a child does something irritating in a restaurant."
Though no one actually said anything, Edwards told Scary Mommy that they didn't have to — he could already feel their judgment and shaming.
"I used to be a server, and I used to complain with a lot of other servers about people’s kids," he said. "Now I’m on the other end of that equation and I want to have a conversation with my former self about the realities of parenting."
"I get it," he wrote in his Facebook post. "Kids are irritating when they are loud in a restaurant. I know. I’m living it. But before you get angry and judgmental, realize that what you are witnessing is not bad parenting, but rather, parents working hard to fix the situation."
Most of us can probably relate to feeling annoyed when the toddler in the restaurant won't stop their blood-curdling screams while their parent seems incapable of getting a handle on the situation. But it's important to remember that it isn't the parent's fault. They're just doing their best, and a screaming kid won't always yield.