Is Janet Street Porter right to want child free restaurants & caf?s?

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I’ve just read this article by Janet Street Porter in the Daily Mail.

Newmummyblog child free restaurants and caf?s

So, as a mummy, what do I think? This might be controversial but I think she has some excellent points, and, I wonder if I’m just a more considerate parent than others. Did she write it to incite an uproar from mumsnet and netmums? Who knows, but I’m sure there are many child free adults who’ll agree with her. Am I one of the few mummies who actually agrees with some?of her points?

What do I agree with?

  1. Why would I take my baby to a cafe or restaurant where the buggy blocks the paths, where I feel awkward at cramming a buggy into a cramped cafe which is obviously not designed for children. No I wouldn’t, as a new mummy, I’ve been known to walk out of many such establishments. I feel awkward, self conscious and spend the whole 5 seconds I’m in there willing Baby H not to grab the nearest jacket/chair (from her buggy) and hoping I can get back out without some unwitting diner coming the opposite way giving me dirty looks for even considering dining there. Seriously, could you not just smile and say something like, ‘it’s a bit tight for pushchairs in here?’ Believe me, I’ve learnt my lesson, I’m not going back there with a buggy or little one.
  2. Janet mentions kiddies breaking china in certain tea rooms…. Erm I don’t know why on earth?I would take my child there. That’s the epitomy of adult only! Definitely not somewhere I’d dream of taking a little one!
  3. As for posh restaurants, do these parents not want to save these for the very odd night they might manage to commandeer a grandparent/aunty/uncle/nanny/babysitter to give them a date night? Hubby and I have been out on our own three times this year. Twice we were paranoid and went to the pub two minutes from home, ready to gulp our drinks and run home if baby so much as squealed for her granny or aunty who were babysitting. However, on one occasion we were braver and went to the yummy Jamie’s Italian and then the very lovely Montpellier Wine Bar, both about 15 minutes from our house. But my point is, we now have a list of places we look forward to going to when we can have a date night, restaurants on a par with the Ivy.
  4. Airplane child zones…. This is exactly what would make me fly with a baby. I’m paranoid, I clearly remember last July, sat listening to kiddies on the plane to LA thinking, that’ll be us next time we fly. Thinking how will it go, how will we occupy baby. Needless to say H will be one this weekend and we’ve not flown anywhere yet, it’s the longest we’ve not?flown. I think we would have by now if there was a child zone, it would easy that pressure of being quiet, the pressure which babies pick up on and upsets them.
  5. I also have to say baby poo does smell, it stinks,?parents do admit that. We’re the first to comment and run for the baby changing.


However, in agreeing with Janet on?the above points, I have to say, children are a part of our society too. For that matter parents are as well, we all have rights. My baby WILL cry at undetermind times, she will poo, she will squeal, that’s what they do and society should be considerate of them. I’m more than happy if caf?s and restaurants and other places we might frequent aren’t suitable, let’s face it, our fireplace at home isn’t suitable for baby to play with, and neither is the china cabinet. So why would we think everywhere is ok when we’re out?

Janet you were a child once, you might not have any, but I can assure you us parents are doing our best trying to be considerate. We all remember what it was like before children. Our kiddies would end up rather insulated and would not learn if they were kept couped up inside. They have to see other people, interact with them, watch how they eat and drink. It’s all about learning how to act in different situations.

I’ll also add that I have made mistakes, found a restaurant or cafe with high chairs and room, but it just doesn’t have decent changing facilities, or it was quiet when we arrived and then as it’s filled up,?it’s not quite as child orientated as it first appeared. I learn from my mistakes.

I think parents are a lot more upset when you walk straight for our buggy demanding we move or we get it wrong and visit a cafe we don’t feel welcome in. We feel terrible if baby cries disturbing others, but it’s life and we do our best to calm baby down. We don’t want a crying baby either!

Really, I think all parents have to be considerate of others, and where they take their pushchairs and little ones. However, non-parents, please be considerate of us, don’t tut, don’t give us death looks, one day it might be you with the pushchair. Considerate parenting is vital to our society, but so is society being considerate of everyone else. I’m more than happy if certain restaurants want to have an age limit or an area where kids are and aren’t allowed. Let’s face it, it makes date night more special!


What do you think? Please remember we all have opinions, this is just mine, and it’s clear they’ll never all be the same!


Lynne x

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  • Reply
    Mama Zen
    November 24, 2015 at 9:18 pm

    I like your honesty! I agree there is nothing worse then being in a place that’s not set up for children and having the ‘fear’ they are going to have a tantrum or embarrass you. I spend most of my time is play cafes for this reason. I think a child only section on a plane is a great idea! I’m sure my husband would be very happy there whilst I sit in a another part of the plane in peace. I can dream.

  • Reply
    November 24, 2015 at 10:40 pm

    I used to be like Janet before I had kids. And I think that’s why I get paranoid about taking my kids anywhere. My 7 year old is very well behaved, usually lol. I trained him especially well on buses because I do see a lot of parents just letting their kids be like that. I’m always one to think about other people’s reactions to my kids behaviour so I always try my best to keep them quiet. But by god I have seen some lazy parents play on their phones while their children run about in busy restraunts, it makes me quite angry, I know you need to turn your brain off now and again to keep your sanity but there’s waiters rushing about with hot food, get off your phone sweetheart lol. So I think I’m with you agreeing with some of her points and not so much with others as we were all kids once and they should be allowed to live just like us, my poor boys are always getting shushed lol #abitofeverything
    Pauline x
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  • Reply
    November 25, 2015 at 7:40 am

    I agree with pretty much everything you’ve said here. I feel quite self-conscious in cafes and restaurants, and I think that’s because before I had a child I was probably quite judgemental. I think it’s a perfectly reasonable idea to have some child-free restaurants or areas for those who want them.
    Min recently posted…A-DA!My Profile

  • Reply
    November 25, 2015 at 11:04 am

    Love this. Totally agree with you on all points and yes, Janet does need to remember she was once a child herself! #bestandworst xx
    Rachel recently posted…Living With….Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)My Profile

  • Reply
    helen gandy
    November 25, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    I think she has quite a few fair points, I used to be one of those people who hated noisy kids and now I’m a mum of 2 ha! I wouldn’t ever take Alfie out to a fine dining restaurant on an evening, those occasions are definitely reserved for adults only! I wouldn’t hesitate taking them to a family friendly restaurant or cafe though, I mean why should I I need to drink and eat too!! Great post and thanks for sharing with the #bestandworst x
    helen gandy recently posted…Best and Worst Linky #28My Profile

  • Reply
    Julie Downes
    November 25, 2015 at 9:16 pm

    Great points you’ve made. Before children I would have avoided restaurants/ pubs that were overly kid friendly – now they are the places that we feel more comfortably in. Love the last paragraph too! #bestandworst
    Julie Downes recently posted…Sulky face – Wicked WednesdayMy Profile

  • Reply
    November 26, 2015 at 8:03 am

    Have you ever managed to get someone to have the kids, to meet friends, only to find one of them have brought theirs? Or been on a date night and had a family with tired grizzly young kids next to you? Well I have, and thats why I agree entirely with your post! We all need a break…nothing wrong with that. I do think though that people who make Mums feel uncomfortable in clearly family friendly places should just all go and Do one x Thanks for linking up to coolmumclub x MMT (PS had to take a sneak peak at this one before reading the rest tonight!) -*
    mummuddlingthrough recently posted…#coolmumclub Linky week 8My Profile

    • Reply
      December 10, 2015 at 11:31 pm

      Thank you! I’m all for going out and not being stuck in too! Thanks for hosting x

  • Reply
    November 26, 2015 at 9:19 am

    I dont see there being any harm in having the option of child friendly or not aslong as its made clear before parents enter. That would be embarrasing to be turned away.

    I know when my little boy was only a few months old all he did was cry so i avoided going anywhere as i appreciated that it xpuld be annoying to other people especially non parents and i was embarrased and at the time probably felt like i was being stared at and judged. From there being adult only restaurants there will be child friendly ones which SHOULD have the right and neccessary facilities aswell as a friendly and familiar atmosphere which would be nice especially for new parents. To sit and eat or even just have a cup of tea and feel as though your child is the only child that cries non stop…or has tantrums….or is a fussy eater etc etc.
    thismummylark recently posted…Baby Book for Single ParentsMy Profile

  • Reply
    November 26, 2015 at 9:22 am

    To feel as though your not the only parent with a little monkey causing havoc. Sorry. Typing quick between picking up toys and being bashed by said little monkey in the walker
    thismummylark recently posted…Baby Book for Single ParentsMy Profile

  • Reply
    November 26, 2015 at 9:33 am

    Great post. I agree with all your points – I think parents have to use a bit of common sense when unleashing kids in restaurants. If it is already a restaurant over run with kids – well, that’s one thing, but time and time again I avoid taking my daughter to certain places because I know what the outcome will be and it won’t be good for anyone. As with anything, it’s all about balance. Thanks so much for linking up to #coolmumclub lovely xx
    Talya recently posted…Welcome to the #coolmumclub linky…week 8!My Profile

  • Reply
    Rebecca U
    November 26, 2015 at 10:42 am

    I completely agree with you. There are just some things I have come to learn and accept, that you can’t (or shouldn’t do with children), like posh restaurants. I do think other people should be more tolerant of children though like on flights, they are entitled to fly just like anyone else #coolmumclub
    Rebecca U recently posted…How (and why) We Don’t Go Overboard with the Children’s Christmas PresentsMy Profile

  • Reply
    November 26, 2015 at 11:14 am

    I agree with you, I have learned from past experience taking a toddler to a restaurant has always turned out bad for so I’d rather not bother now lol x

  • Reply
    Colposcopy, naughty lists and why we turn to biscuits. | Tots 100
    November 27, 2015 at 8:18 am

    […] So, as a mummy, what do I think? This might be controversial but I think she has some excellent points, and, I wonder if I’m just a more considerate parent than others. Did she write it to incite an uproar from mumsnet and netmums? Who knows, but I’m sure there are many child free adults who’ll agree with her. Am I one of the few mummies who actually agrees with some of her points? Read more from New Mummy Blog here. […]

  • Reply
    Random Musings
    November 27, 2015 at 11:38 am

    Speaking as someone who doesn’t have children, I think Janet is a bit far from the mark here. It’s really not that big a deal if a baby is crying unless you’re the one who has to somehow make it stop! As for the pushchair, its not that hard to walk around it. I really can’t see many cafes taking her seriously, after all, their aim is to make money and parents spend just like non-parents.
    Restaurants are slightly different as most parents wouldn’t have their child out for a meal on an evening anyway.
    It can be frustrating when a child is left to run wild and the parents just ignore him or her, but the parents that think this is ok will probably be the same ones that ignore any rules anyway. #TheList
    Random Musings recently posted…3 Things I’m Thankful ForMy Profile

  • Reply
    November 27, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    I agree I’d be well up for them. At least if I was somewhere and someone complained about my kid I could tell them to take themselves to the adult only place! A cafe near me, whilst not being openly anti child, did everything possible to make the point they were. A sign on the door stated that it was a place for ‘adults’ and children were to be kept under control. I once went for a coffee, my son had fallen asleep in his buggy and I was told that I couldn’t come in with it unless I woke him and folded it. So I sat outside and drank my coffee in the rain, there was only one other person in there! That being said it’s closed down now. Parents drink a lot of coffee 🙂 #BrilliantBlogPosts
    Charlene recently posted…The 9 things that are pants about bottle feedingMy Profile

  • Reply
    November 27, 2015 at 6:28 pm

    I largely agree with your points but actually enjoy taking my kids to ‘posh’ restaurants. The older two eat really well and I find that places that offer ‘kids’ menus rarely offer much that will tempt them. I think I’m very lucky in Edinburgh but lots of places are very kid friendly that you wouldn’t necessarily expect. If I’m going to the hassle of eating out, I want to enjoy my food and that means going somewhere which offers something I like to eat. That said, my top child-friendly eating out tip is tapas – the service is always quick, there’s loads of nibble on in the mean time and they’re not usually that busy if you want to eat early! #TheList
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  • Reply
    Tracey Abrahams
    November 28, 2015 at 5:24 am

    I think its about balance and common sense, pretty much what you have put in this post. There are places that it is clear from the outset are not geared up for families and children. Twee little coffee shops with narrow gaps between seating and delicate china or high end resturants. But most parents are sensible enough not to go there. And children have a right to be seen in society, and they need to learn appropriate social skills related to eating in company. How can they do this if they never experience it?
    Thank you for sharing this wi5 us, Tracey xx #abitofeverything
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  • Reply
    Katy (What Katy Said)
    November 29, 2015 at 10:47 pm

    Definitely about common sense. I would never take my children to a place I would feel as though they may cause a nuisance. That being said it is also about the children- mine are well behaved and so would be fine in most places. If you know your kids run about or scream then no, probably not best to go to a candle lit Italian and ruin other people’s dates haha! x
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  • Reply
    The Speed Bump
    November 30, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    I agree with you – I would feel more comfortable going to places that I know are child friendly, so at least if they introduced child free cafes I’d know where to avoid! But also that children are part of society and they have to learn how to behave in cafes and restaurants eventually – Janet Street Porter is being a little unrealistic in thinking that we can ban kids from public places and they’ll suddenly turn eighteen and know exactly how to behave in cafes! #KCACOLS
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  • Reply
    You Baby Me Mummy
    December 3, 2015 at 8:56 am

    I agree, we are careful where we take Baby as some places just aren’t child friendly and it is not fair on anyone – the kids either. Thanks for linking up to #TheList x (if you can add our badge/link it would be great. x
    You Baby Me Mummy recently posted…A Cosy Christmas With B&QMy Profile

  • Reply
    December 3, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    Like this post and agree I take kids to child friendly places, but should we have to? Probably not, but it makes us and the kids feel safe and are able to be kids. x
    susankmann recently posted…Are You Worried About Children Being Online?My Profile

  • Reply
    December 5, 2015 at 12:28 am

    You make good points, although I’m of the opinion that children should be given the opportunities to sit and eat with the family out of the house. That is the cultural norm in many European countries, where babies get passed around family and staff and no body ever bats and eye. I breastfed on demand, I had to take my babies with me even on date nights or I would never have gone anywhere and I wasn’t going to spend my rare special night in a ‘family friendly’ restaurant which had small children running around screaming when my baby was snuggled in a baby sling snoozing or boobing lol.
    Maybe taking an overtired toddler to a posh restaurant is asking for trouble if they have never been taught table manners in places like supermarket cafes etc first. You have to work up to the fine dining 😉
    Thanks for sharing your honest opinion with us at #sundaystars
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  • Reply
    A Moment with Franca
    December 5, 2015 at 8:44 pm

    I understand that we should be considerate about other people that don’t have children but people without children should understand us because we can be stuck in our houses and stay in all day. We should be able to get out and have a nice family time in a cafe. Our children should learn manners when they are out and about too. Thanks for sharing this at #KCACOLS. I’m so behind today with my commenting!! Sorry! I’m looking forward to co-hosting with you this new week!! :-)xx
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