Mother left ‘appalled’ by couple who let their baby make a mess in a restaurant divides opinion – as some brand the parents ‘entitled’ but others blast her for being judgmental

  • Woman took to British parenting forum after incident in a restaurant
  • READ MORE: The women who never say NO to their children 

A woman who ciriticised modern-day parenting for allowing children to act as they please has sparked a furious online debate. 

Taking to the ‘Am I Being Unreasonable?’ forum on the British parenting platform Mumsnet, the mum questioned whether parenting has changed for the worse since the days when her own children were young. 

She explained that she was left ‘appalled’ by a young couple who were seated beside her and her family in a restaurant and allowed their baby to feed himself with his hands and make a mess. 

Things got worse when the baby screamed to get out of the high chair, banged cutlery on the table, spilled water everywhere and pulled soil out of a pot plant.  

The divisive post left some Mumsnet users riled, with some claiming she should mind her own business, while others agreed that parents are too relaxed.

Taking to the British parenting forum Mumsnet, a mother criticised young parents who allowed their son to eat with his hands in a restaurant and make a mess (stock image) 

The onlooker was unsettled right from the start when the waitress brought over a high chair.

She overheard the other mother say that while the baby will sit in the highchair, he does not like to be strapped in, so the tot will remain unstrapped. 

But, for the older mother, the worst happened when the food arrived and the parents ‘literally plonk a bowl of mash, veg, and gravy on the highchair for the baby to eat.

‘He puts his hands in and starts feeding himself with his hands.’

When she complained that the food was going everywhere, the parents just looked at their child and praised him for being such a great little boy. 

The original poster added that by the time the dessert arrived, the child had food everywhere.

She went on to say that when the parents made a half-hearted attempt to clean their child, the baby had an almighty tantrum, which in turn led to him nearly falling out of the highchair because he wasn’t strapped in.

The fiasco did not end there though as the child started to bang his cutlery on the table and pull the soil from a nearby plant.

To the older mother’s shock, the parents simply said ‘he is just so independent and clever for his age’.

The outraged customer sought clarity on whether a lot of parents take too much of a relaxed approach nowadays from her childminder friend, and was told: ‘Unfortunately, yes, a lot of parents are like that these days.’ 

Certain users agreed that she was indeed being unreasonable, with one writing ‘Mind your own business maybe?’ and another commenting ‘A baby made a mess, you say?’ 

Another also chimed in with sarcasm adding, ‘Don’t they know they should stay at home and never take a baby anywhere?!’

A fourth angrily remarked, ‘Ok so what’s the point of moaning about it? You saw one snap shot of their day, criticised every part of them taking their young baby out for a meal and now you’ve started a thread to say how awful, entitled, and what c*** parents and people they are. Well done do you feel better now?

The mother said she was ‘appalled’ by the parents and asked if this is the way people are bringing up their children nowadays 

Others, however, took the middle ground, with one user writing, ‘I’m not bothered by a baby eating with his hands and creating somewhat of a mess at a restaurant, provided that the parents thoroughly clean up the table and (if needed) high chair and floor at the end of the meal. 

‘Eating with hands while the meal is ongoing seems harmless, and I don’t see why it would affect someone at another table. The plant and screaming are bad.’

Another expressed a similar stance: ‘I think it’s to do with a rise in baby led weaning but also the fact that people are just ruder now. 

‘It’s become more socially acceptable in some circles to leave a mess wherever you go. Staff expect to tidy up plates, wipes tables and brush floors in a café but an excessive level of mess is unreasonable. 

‘They should have taken the baby out or moved the plants out of his reach. Also if he was disturbing other people then one should have taken him out. I’ve had to do that before.

Others said that it’s not as bad as parents who give their children a phone or tablet to look at – without headphones.  

Some commenters told the mother to mind her own business and said that baby’s naturally make a bit of a mess 

Other Mumsnet users shared the onlooker’s rage, with one calling the young family ‘selfish and entitled’. 

‘There is nothing wrong with baby-led weaning, but do it at home. They could wait till he is a bit older to eat out or feed him at home and just give him non-messy finger food to eat/play with while they have their own meal’, they added.

Some users took the opportunity to share similar experiences.

One wrote, ‘I was having a pub lunch recently and the absolutely disgusting mess that some parents left for the waiting staff to clear up was bloody shocking! Carpet so bloody filthy they had to close the table so that the carpet could be cleaned.

‘I’d wipe the highchair with wipes and ask for a dustpan and brush if needed. I pick up any large pieces of food my 20-month-old may drop on the floor. Kids do make mess but it’s about being considerate of others, often I find that staff appreciate you’ve tried to clean up and will brush up themselves.’ 

Others sided with the disgruntled diner and said that a lot of ‘disrespectful’ parents allow their children to make a mess while eating out 

I commented to the staff and they were furious they said the booking name and phone number was used to call the parents and ban them from coming to the pub again. Some people are so disrespectful!’

Another shared that anger towards the family: ‘I completely agree with you. I just knew you’d get some posts saying “why are you bothered?” or “It’s none of your business”. 

‘It’s very hard not to notice bad behaviour, unless you walk around with horse blinkers on, and as human’s we are wired to judge other situations. 

‘Of course it’s ridiculous to allow a baby to feed themselves mashed potato without a spoon – I bet they don’t allow that mess at home. 

‘Extremely entitled to expect the waiting staff to clear all of that up. And why on earth aren’t they teaching a child how to use cutlery? 

‘It’s just lazy. And people complain about dogs in restaurants!’

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