I don’t know about you, but one of the most stressful aspects of motherhood is taking my munchkins to a restaurant. Here are a few different ways you can make it easier on yourself.
- Pick a loud place: I feel so much more comfortable in noisy restaurants where my kids’ errant screeches are covered up by the general hustle and bustle. This immediately lowers my anxiety. And if the restaurant isn’t loud inside, I often choose to sit outside. That is usually a little more casual and has more room for the kids to move around.
- Find your seating arrangement: Be intentional with how and where you sit. For example, a circular table or large booth works well for us. This way we can put the twins together and have an adult on either side to prevent them from getting up and running around. Then we stick baby V in a high chair with something crunchy, and she’s happy. But maybe your kids fight when they’re next to each other, and having an adult in between as moderator would be best. Do what works for your family.
- Order Quickly: We arrive knowing what we’re going to eat or willing to order very quickly. The faster food arrives at our table, the more likely the girls are going to stay seated without getting restless.
- Be Prepared: Because ordering quickly isn’t always dependent on you, bring snacks and toys. A cracker, a water cup, and some crayons go a long way when you’re desperate.
- Bring Help: Don’t do it alone. Ask for help. I find having a one-one ratio means I actually get to eat. Anything less than that, and I better eat before because I’m only going to get a few left over bites.
- Breathe: I go out to eat because I feel like it’s fun for my kids, but it’s not fun for anyone, if I’m a hot mess. So I take lots of deep breaths when I feel like I’m about to lose it, and I remind myself we can leave whenever we need to.
- Leave when things go south: Don’t try to stay longer than your kids can handle. Everyone will suffer. I always go out with the expectation that we will leave, as soon as the girls start losing it. I find they have a 30 minute threshold, sometimes 45. Know how long your kids can sit still and work within their capabilities.