Would love some advice re. eating out with kids

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Would love some advice re. eating out with kids

Postby koreakids on Sat May 16, 2009 2:12 pm

Ok, here's the background info. My sister and I both have young children but I'm about a year ahead of her. My daughter was 17 months and my son 2 months when we moved back to America from overseas and had to live with my sister for about 3 months before we got our own house. My sister had hard wood floors and was very upset by anything moving on the floors (try to stop a 17 month old from pushing things!) or being dropped/splashed/spit up on the floors, etc... I became a paranoid wreck and a fanatic regarding keeping the floors clean to keep her happy and not wear out our welcome.

Scroll ahead a few years and now my daughter is 4, son 2 1/2 and we have a new baby who is 13 months. My sister now has two - 2 years and one that is 13 months. Every few weeks we go out to a restaurant together - never just us and the kids, always with husbands or my parents. When we get up to leave, the floors under my kids are spotless. If something drops I pick it up. I have even been known to get a broom or sweeper from the restaurant to clean myself. However under my sister's side it looks like a hurricane/tornado came by. Entire plates of food dumped upside down. Napkins shredded. Oh my gosh, it's so embarrassing! My sister never leaves a bigger tip - often it's someplace "tipless" like fast food - and she never attempts to clean AT ALL. She just picks the kids up and leaves. I'm horrified and don't know what to do. I've got my own 3 to juggle.

So...what would you all do? Do I leave a tip even though I can't afford it? Do I stay with my kids and clean? Do I ask her to clean? Do I just leave glad that my side isn't a mess and pray it doesn't reflect badly on me? HELP!!!
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Re: Would love some advice re. eating out with kids

Postby LorettaOliver on Sun May 17, 2009 12:19 pm

If it is really making you uncomfortable I would talk to her about it. Most restaurants don't really mind much when kids make a mess, they're prepared to sweep up and generally have easy-clean floors.

But, for most people that doesn't stop us from cleaning up after our kids. I know I did the same thing as you when my boys were little! If something fell, I picked it up, if they spilled I got a handful of napkins and cleaned it up. Heck sometimes I'd catch whatever it was before it even hit the floor. Hubby said I had "spill-sense" :lol:

From your description, I think I would feel a little embarrassed as well. That's a lot of mess! Yikes!
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Re: Would love some advice re. eating out with kids

Postby Kit on Sun May 17, 2009 4:53 pm

  1. Do I leave a tip even though I can't afford it?
  2. Do I stay with my kids and clean?
  3. Do I ask her to clean?
  4. Do I just leave glad that my side isn't a mess and pray it doesn't reflect badly on me?


Definitely not 1-2. Have you talked with your Mom about how this makes you feel? What does your hubby say? If you have a strong personality and can take what she throws back at you, you might want to mention how you feel about the huge mess. If you're not up to a possible fuss, you might try the suggestion below.

You say, in part, "...and pray it doesn't reflect badly on me..." The bottom line here is that you are not responsible for what your sister does or doesn't do. However, I would make it a point to go to those places, without the sister if possible, so folks know who has the sparkling reputation and you get a nice experience too. ;)
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Re: Would love some advice re. eating out with kids

Postby femmes07 on Mon May 25, 2009 11:41 pm

it's so embarrassing yes, and it's so annoying... If you can't afford to leave a tip, why don't you just let your kids go with dads first? And clean the mess before you and your sister go... Or you better talk to your sister about it, but d'you think she'd be open if you would confront her about her restaurant etiquette? However, patience is a virtue!!! :)
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Re: Would love some advice re. eating out with kids

Postby koreakids on Tue May 26, 2009 12:24 am

Thanks, everyone. I've appreciated the tips and advice.
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Re: Would love some advice re. eating out with kids

Postby Mel on Tue May 26, 2009 8:33 am

You could bring it to her attention at the restaurant and say something like "it really surprises me that as clean as you keep your home, that this mess doesn't bother you" (keeping it positive that she's a good housekeeper). If that doesn't work, you could talk to her again the next time you two are alone and be a bit more direct. If her actions still did not improve, then your next step could be to not go out with them anymore. Perhaps by everyone knowing that you're embarrassed by it (and probably everyone else at the table too), she might catch on.

If it were my sister, I'd ask her (in front of everyone) if she was raised by different parents than me because I'm sure I was taught to clean up after myself and kids and she should in turn be setting a good example for her kids. If she doesn't want to clean up the mess, then maybe she should do something different to try to avoid some of it in the first place. ....but then, I'm pretty rude when it comes to poor behaviors reflecting directly on me and mine. :wink:
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Re: Would love some advice re. eating out with kids

Postby jayaitch on Fri Jun 26, 2009 4:02 pm

Yikes is right! Do you have the kind of relationship that you can discuss this with her? It seems a shame to require such strict standards in our own homes and abuse places outside our home! Sort of a double-standard?

I would try to discuss this with your sister and if she refuses to change the situation, you have the choice of cleaning up all the mess yourself or discontinuing the eating out with her. :(
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