An Open Letter to the Woman at Cracker Barrel

by Maria Moser on July 28, 2014

in Guest Posting,Motherhood

Motherhood via @chgdiapers

An open letter to the lady who shot me a disgusted look and asked to move away from our table in a restaurant, because my three-year-old was throwing a fit:

Hi. You don’t know me. I’m Stacy. I’m a wife and mom to three kids born in 3.5 years during my twenties. In a breathtakingly short span of time I went from single college girl to newlywed to new mother to mother of multiples. I still wake up sometimes amazed that this is my life, thrilled and terrified that I’ve been given the opportunity to nurture these three souls.

You don’t know my kids either. There are three of them, as I said. All unique individuals with their own strengths and weaknesses, triumphs and challenges. Two of them decided to join our family at the same time, because I guess my life wasn’t crazy enough without twins. I’ve had a few kind people tell me that God only gives multiples to mothers He has a lot of confidence in, but just between us, I’m not sure He really thought it through when it came to me.

You don’t know that we’re headed home from a week-long vacation, which was a blast but also means that my kids have spent six nights out of their own beds, unscheduled and overstimulated. You don’t know that we’ve been on the road for six hours and eight bathroom breaks, with a good eight hours left to go. You don’t know that I have a massive headache from listening to the Frozen soundtrack for the 7000th time and diffusing arguments over whose turn it is to choose a DVD and who ate all the Pringles and who gets to use the coveted polka dot pillow.

But there’s something else you don’t know, something that almost nobody knows because it isn’t something I share frequently. But since you decided, after two minutes of sitting next to my family in a restaurant, that you were in a position to judge my parenting skills, I’m going to let you in on the secret. Here it is: I don’t know what I’m doing.

Seriously. I have no freaking idea what I’m doing. You’re an older lady here with your husband, so I’m going to assume that you either have children of your own or have had experience caring for siblings, cousins, nieces, nephews. If so, you know that kids are unpredictable little suckers. They have big emotions packed into little brains and bodies and sometimes all those feelings just explode. Usually it’s at the worst possible moment, because if there’s one thing I’ve learned in 7+ years of mothering it’s that even the best laid plans are often worthless, and fate isn’t kind to moms.

Multiply all those big feelings and needs and quirks by three, and I’ll admit that most days I’m flying by the seat of my pants. I read parenting books and mommy blogs and pray rosaries over my babies, but I still have no clue what I’m doing most of the time. I’m just doing it. I’ve been to childbirth classes and breastfeeding classes and CPR classes, but somehow I missed the class where they tell you what to do when your preschooler loses his shit in the middle of a Cracker Barrel. I don’t have a degree in child psychology or training in behavior management. I’m just a mom. I’m just a mom trying to straddle the line between acknowledging my kids’ feelings and holding them to a proper standard of behavior. Sometimes I give in too easily because I’m exhausted or too sympathetic. Sometimes I’m unnecessarily harsh and have to ask their forgiveness later. I worry every single day that I am being both too lenient and too hard on them. I spend a portion of every single night reviewing my parenting successes and failures, promising, always promising, that I will do better tomorrow. It’s so hard, trying to raise good kids while not losing sight of the fact that I already have them. It’s even harder when I’m frequently doing it on too little sleep and too much caffeine.

I don’t blame you for moving. I’ll admit, when I see a family with a baby or a toddler board my plane I send up a quick prayer that they won’t sit by me. I didn’t relish the idea of listening to a three-year-old cry through my lunch either. My leisurely break from an exhausting drive turned into 20 minutes of scarfing down my food under the shadow of disapproving stares. Chicken fried steak never tasted so good. Something about white gravy tinged with judgement really makes the meal.

And you know what? Maybe I didn’t handle it right. Maybe I should have punished the rest of my family by making us all pack up and leave. Maybe I should have sat outside with my upset child while my husband and other children ate their food. Maybe I should have given in to whatever he wanted to shut him up (honestly, that would have been an appealing option had I known what he was freaking out about – apparently he didn’t know either, because, ya know, three-year-olds). Maybe we shouldn’t have been there at all. I really just didn’t want to eat another French fry on this trip, and I hold to the parenting philosophy that says the only way to teach kids how to behave in society is to expose them to it. It’s his world too, you know.

So request another table. That’s fine, really. I understand. But maybe next time you encounter a family struggling with a little one’s big feelings, you could offer an encouraging smile instead of a glare. When you see a mom who appears overwhelmed by all of the demands on her time and body and attention and patience, offer a kind word. Tell her you’ve been there (even if you haven’t). Tell her she’s doing a good job. Because she is. She’s just a mom, like I am. Just a mom, rocking my baby on the porch of a Cracker Barrel in some godforsaken part of Alabama, holding back tears because your silent judgement hurts, even though I know I shouldn’t let it. Just a mom, trying to do my best, even when I don’t know what that is. Just a mom, holding myself to a standard of grace, not perfection. I wish that you would too.

SMitchell Profile

Stacy Buxton Mitchell is a wife and mom of three, including toddler twins. She recently moved her family into a 456 square foot studio apartment on her husband’s grandparents’ farm, where she juggles children, chickens, honey bees, a milk cow, and the medical school application process.


{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Holly W July 28, 2014 at 10:19 am

Thank you. Just Thank You.

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2 Rebecca July 28, 2014 at 10:43 am

Loved this letter! I had a situation recently where my 1.5 year old was singing and laughing loudly at the table in a small restaurant; but by the looks I got you would have thought that he was swearing in church.

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3 Angela July 28, 2014 at 10:52 am

On the flip side, you don’t know what she was going through either. She could have been having a bad day and just really needed fewer distractions. She may not have been judging you at all.

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4 Laurie P July 28, 2014 at 11:39 am

exactly.

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5 Lisa Miranda July 28, 2014 at 10:55 am

You are doing it! Never forget that. I know your children never will. Thank you from a Mama with all the same feelings and sentiments, but not the right words. Thank you, very, kindly.

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6 Hannah Avery July 28, 2014 at 11:52 am

We were just in a Cracker Barrel in the middle of a long hot trip too. My children are an almost 4 year old and an 18 month old. Thankfully, they didn’t act up too much this time, but they so could have, and I pretty well remember my son throwing a fit at a Cracker Barrel when he was younger. It can happen in a blink of an eye to any of us Moms. Sorry the glares happened!

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7 Julie E July 28, 2014 at 12:06 pm

It’s amazing how soon people forget…we’ve all been there!

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8 Tami July 28, 2014 at 12:30 pm

Hang in there! You are doing the most important job in the world, raising children.
It isn’t easy!! I’ve raised three, and have two more to go!
It will be worth every minute, believe me.
Truth of the matter is, women like that are more times than not, jealous.
They made mistakes in child rearing, and taking it out on you.
All I can say is, hold your head up high. You are doing your best, and ultimately,
You will succeed! God has given you this task. Not some old ornary bitty that
You will most likely, never see again.
Keep on keeping on! I’ll be praying for you!!
God Bless

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9 All Natural Katie July 28, 2014 at 2:41 pm

Thank you for saying what so many of us experience and don’t even speak about. Now that I am a mom (to a 16 month old boy), I try to be understanding of others’ situations. I try not to judge when I see a pregnant woman with 2 toddlers, one of which is screaming, in Whole Foods. As my boy enters toddlerhood, I am now one of those moms who has a kid who randomly changes moods.

The best we can offer is to do what we think we should, hold them, comfort them, and pray that we won’t put ourselves down by others’ insensitivities and ignorance.

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10 Leslie July 28, 2014 at 3:55 pm

Persevere and don’t let these things get to you!!! I’m a mom of 12. At one point I had 5 under the age of 5. It is hard. It is so hard. But I learned many years ago that there really are child-haters out there. You know, like the king and queen in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang? They would rather spend time with their dogs and avoid children at all costs. Instead of hating back, I feel sorry for them. They will grow old with no one there to keep them young at heart. So, please, persevere. I’m sending you lots of hugs from the trenches.

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11 Carrie Barron July 28, 2014 at 8:18 pm

Thanks for sharing this. And after reading the blurb at the bottom about your life, I say Bless you.

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12 Aubrey July 28, 2014 at 8:39 pm

Excuse me while I wipe away the tears. Thank you for writing this.

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13 Wayne July 29, 2014 at 12:50 am

I’m a father of 7 year old twins. And after reading this article I have even more sympathy for the woman at Cracker Barrel. So what that you were on a vacation. Maybe this was the woman’s only night out in a year. Or maybe seems out every night, so what as well. Why should she have to sit and listen to your child throw a tantrum? The one thing you did get right is the statement that you don’t know what you’re doing. Did it not occur to you to take your child out of the restaurant? A child having a tantrum is natural, but it’s not “natural” for me. I would be as equally annoyed, after all I have my own children and don’t need to hear yours. It is this arrogance, that a child should go anywhere and have free reign to act out. You wouldn’t tolerate my behaving that way, so why should I, or anyone else for that matter, tolerate it from your child?

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14 anonomys July 29, 2014 at 7:11 am

I agree, I also agree that this article is kinda ridiculous. We live in society, some things are acceptable and some are not. For example it IS acceptable to be annoyed and move if you are not happy with the company in a restaurant or other establishment. It is not acceptable to allow you little monster to wreak havoc on the masses then be upset and write a passive aggressive article to the person who asked to move rather than endure your poor parenting choices.

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15 anontoo July 29, 2014 at 12:56 pm

Agree, agree, agree. And I’m a mom too.

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16 Darrell July 30, 2014 at 1:39 am

Totally agree. This sob story was completely unnecessary just because this immature mother got her feelings hurt over a simple glare. Welcome to planet earth. People aren’t here to cater to your every emotion, and I have every right to be a little upset your kid is causing a scene just as much as you have the right to be in public with him. Get over it.

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17 Brittany Burrows July 29, 2014 at 8:36 am

To the two pricks above that felt the need to be complete assholes.. If you don’t want to hear children scream, cry. or even laugh while you are trying to have dinner THEN STAY THE HELL HOME! These are public restaurants.. Not “Wayne’s Restaurant” or whoever the hell “anonymous” is.

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18 Allysha Bonsall July 29, 2014 at 8:58 am

I was thinking the same thing! We had an older man ask us to keep our girls quiet in McDonald’s one morning. They were laughing at each other and doing their baby talk thing. I nicely told him no they are 1 and almost 1 and they are having fun at a fast food restaurant. He went and told the I’m guessing manager that they were rudely disturbing his morning read. The worker told him they couldn’t and wouldn’t tell us to leave or make them stop because they were being kids. Some people are just I don’t know.

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19 Christi July 29, 2014 at 9:34 am

Brittany, now you are being just as judgmental and ugly. Yes, as moms we are all doing the best we can and sometimes we inconvenience others, even though we try our best not to. Yes, these are public restaurants, but the public expects & deserves certain behavior. The woman also paid to eat at Cracker Barrel. She shouldn’t have sent an ugly glance when she asked to move, but again, you don’t know what her day was like. Maybe she can’t have children, maybe she had just come from a funeral or had been fired from her job… or just wanted a little peace away from her own children.

It isn’t fair to the other patrons and the waiters/waitresses when children are throwing temper tantrums… they can’t take orders and other tables can’t have conversation. We can’t afford nicer restaurants, so sometimes the only “date” meal I have with my husband is at a Cracker Barrel or something similar. Due to paying a babysitter and maybe if we’re lucky, a movie, that “date” just cost me $75 and I can’t even have conversation with my husband due to children screaming around me… and I have sat and cried at a restaurant because I just wanted that 20 minutes with my husband. Absolutely, as mothers, we should all be supportive… we all know what it is like when our children are misbehaving and we are really doing the absolute best that we can. Maybe offering a smile to the mom or to pick up the toy that has been thrown would be much better than glaring while moving, but you can’t criticize others for being upset.

I praise the mom who wrote this as she understood the woman wanting to move tables – and didn’t yell “Don’t want to listen to my kids? Well then stay the hell home!” as you just did. She was just leading through kindness and understanding, and reminding us all that we might want to think twice before judging another.

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20 Maria Moser July 29, 2014 at 9:38 am

That happens to me every time I get a break from my kids (rare.) Even at the grocery store. Blissful shopping trip alone? I have the screaming kid 3 carts behind me, ha ha. I’ve even tried to change my path but I can never get away.

I don’t know their story though so I just smile!

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21 Brittany July 29, 2014 at 10:42 am

Blah blah blah. It’s life. Kids scream, yell, throw tantrums and sometimes there’s not a damn thing we can do about it. Get over it and eat your meal.

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22 Christi July 29, 2014 at 12:05 pm

Seriously? In that case, Brittany, I would hope you would have respect for the fellow people who are paying to enjoy a nice meal, as well as the staff of the restaurant who are trying to serve everyone else, and take your kids out of the restaurant if there is truly no calming them. How can I “get over it” and enjoy my meal and the conversation at my table if I can’t hear it due to your child screaming? I’m not saying every child should be silent and perfectly behaved in a restaurant, but how are they supposed to learn otherwise if you just ignore? You might be used to the tantrums and are able to tune them out, but the rest of us are not. My daughter was HORRIBLE with tantrums, but we always had respect for other patrons and removed her… yes, many times I sat alone while my husband sat outside or vice versa until she got over herself or we chose to leave. Yes, we tried a variety of options and sometimes, like the author of this blog, we probably offended others while trying to do our best. But we tried to remember that others in the restaurant were spending their hard-earned money to enjoy a meal at the restaurant and it wasn’t fair to them.

I’m sure you will be looking forward to a nice meal out one of these days for a date or girls’ night, where someone else is actually serving you instead of you taking care of everyone else, and you will be stuck next to a table full of screaming children. I hope that you will take a moment away from your friends to help that mom or dad calm/entertain her children so that you can then enjoy some pleasant conversation with your friends that you can actually hear.

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23 Brittany July 29, 2014 at 5:38 pm

Oh lawwwwd woman you’re taking this way too seriously lol

24 Tina July 29, 2014 at 8:40 am

Sorry, my child does not have tantrums. However, I’ve still gotten the same dirty looks when she (for example) talks during church (not screaming, not yelling, not running around, just talking and it’s not for lack of shushing). And that’s from a lady who had 3 children (teens now) of her own. Some people forget what it’s like, but you can’t change them – you can only change yourself.

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25 Janna L July 29, 2014 at 9:23 am

Very well said!

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26 Victoria N. July 29, 2014 at 10:08 am

I have a 1 year old and everyone on this post is lying if they said their children doesn’t throw tantrums. ALL children throw tantrums. I get ugly stares all the time when mine child is just being loud from playing. I just smile and go on about my business Because honestly I could care less what other people have to say about my great parenting. I love kids and even before I had my son I never complained about someone’s child because I knew the parents were doing the best they could. Some people don’t have all the help others get with their children so don’t be so quick to judge. I give a great big hand clap to all mothers and father’s who go through this and handle it well.

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27 Maria Moser July 29, 2014 at 10:36 am

My boys got stuck in a waiting room 2 days in a row for my daughter’s appointments last week & they weren’t being “bad,” just rather loud, climbing on chairs etc. My blood pressure was through the roof trying to get them to stop. There were only maybe 2 other people in the waiting room but I felt like a terrible mother for my 2 and 5 year old (bored) boys not sitting like angels. We brought toys but that made things even louder! Ideally I would NEVER have them in a waiting room that long but sometimes you don’t have a choice!

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28 Terra July 29, 2014 at 2:14 pm

I agree that, as mothers, we should support one another… and if we don’t agree, then agree to disagree!! With that being said, I know exactly how it feels to want to eat a meal with my family. Not, sit outside with an upset child while the family eats without me. I do not have a toddler, but I will soon enough. My son is 4 months old and going through that “I am going to stay awake and cry, fight my sleep” stage. There are more times than not when I tend to him while my husband eats alone, leaving me with a cold meal. But, this is being a mom. I am not saying this to complain, I accept it… gladly accept it! I don’t necessarily like them, but I have looked forward to that moment of being a mommy to my own, and I take the bad with the good, and am thankful that I have the opportunity to even have this experience.

Just a couple of weeks ago, we went out on a very rare dinner with extended family, who we don’t see much, and some friends. Sure enough, when our meals made it to the table, my son decided it was time to “stay awake, cry, fuss, fight his sleep”! Not only was he sleepy, but he was in the early stages of a cold and didn’t feel well. Yes, you could say that we should have just stayed home, but we didn’t. In fact, he was laughing, happy, fine before we left home. But, babies get sleepy, as did he, right when we got our food. It don’t take long, usually, for me to get him calm & to sleep and I was working on just that when I glanced over and noticed an elderly woman glaring at me. I didn’t glare back, just kept trying to soothe my sleepy infant. (He was not screaming, just fussing mainly with a cry here and there.) I noticed during the 10-15 minutes that it took to get him to sleep, that every time I looked up at my husband, this lady was just giving ugly looks. At first, I felt embarrassed, that my child was crying, but that embarrassment quickly diminished. I didn’t care that my baby was fussy. He is a baby. He depends on me for everything: food, safety, comfort, everything.

As a mother, I will do everything for my son, but as a woman, wife, individual… I have needs there too. We can’t sit at home every time our family or friends go do something. Not only is it unhealthy and depressing, but what does that teach my son as he grows up? He has to learn how to behave and act when in public and he cannot do this by never leaving the house. My parents seldom left us with a sitter. If we misbehaved or acted up while at a restaurant, church, etc. we got in trouble (whether right then, or later). And you know what? We had consequences for bad behavior and we learned from it. So, is it fair for someone at the table next to you to have to listen to your child pitch a fit? No. But, is it fair for you to sit at home, or in a vehicle, or outside while the rest of your family enjoy a meal together? No, it isn’t. I feel that unless it is an “adult” restaurant, with candle light & 5-course meals, then people should expect children to be present, especially at family restaurants, such as Cracker Barrel. And if children are present, then a fit or two can be expected. If an individual does not like this, then there are other options. You cannot expect to avoid children everywhere you go. Don’t get me wrong, I understand trying to have a budget friendly date night. I apologize if you wanted a date night with your hubby, or a moment to clear your head, but more times than not, children (yours or not) will be present… Movies, restaurants, the mall, walking down the street… This is the reality of it.

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29 Brandy July 29, 2014 at 3:27 pm

You are an amazing, strong, beautiful, loving mother and I don’t know you.

What I do know is I have a 17 year old daughter with an attitude from hell on most days, an 11 year old son who is as sweet as can be but on the husky side and twin baby girls that are 3 months old on the 1st of August and I feel your pain.

The stares when I walk in to restaurants are usually because my children are mixed, we honestly look like a bag of Skittles (Taste the Rainbow). More so however people look, stare and think hmmm are the babies hers (mine) or the younger girl, meaning my daughter, is the husky boy her son or is he adopted (he doesn’t look anything like us), why does she have to bring that big ass stroller in here, doesn’t she see there isn’t much room to begin with!?…. and so on Plus when my two oldest get to bickering as they always do I don’t care who is around I snap back at them, acting like they didn’t have any house training … just to prove that my snap has now caused a huge attitude to set in with my daughter and alligator tears with my son. Heaven forbid one of the twins be awake at this time, it becomes an all out war!

I don’t know you but I know your struggle and I respect you for eating your food. You are doing You! The best You you know how to be and I will do me the best me I know how to be. Screw everyone else who has something to say or not to say, go cut your eyes elsewhere, I, WE, don’t need your criticism, eye rolls or under your breathe comments.

You go girl!

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30 Cmk July 29, 2014 at 4:02 pm

Very nice! I’ve been there…. really I have… Hugs~

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31 Shannon Ferge July 29, 2014 at 4:51 pm

It’s been a while since I have had a little one, my one and only is an 18 year old skateboarding/emo kid who I completely adore and respect. He has his own look, he may have a piercing a two, longer hair and wear black band tshirts, but he is one of the kindest, most caring, kids I have been around. When we go out together, he gets his fair share of stares and looks and he just laughs them off. I unfortunately have a hard time biting my tongue. I have been known on occasion to look at someone and ask them if there was a problem, in most cases, they just turn and walk away. I guess my point is, don’t ever judge a book by its cover, what you see isn’t always what you get. The same goes for your experience in Cracker Barrel (a family restaurant no less). Whether this older person was a mother or not, what she did was just rude. Stacy we’ve all been there and gone through what you have, in some capacity or another. Your doing an amazing job and with three little one’s, you should be up for sainthood. Don’t let someone elses ignorance make you feel bad, just know that you are doing the best that you can, and in the end, that is all that matters.

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32 Julie July 29, 2014 at 10:07 pm

You are doing great! They have to work out their emotions even if they’ve forgotten what started them.

One of my little restaurant tricks with my kids was to ask for croutons for the kiddos to nibble on while they waited. It might help for some of your future restaurant visits.

Unless the pillow is a family gift, I’d toss it and get 3 identical pillows that are even more special.

I have 3 of my own, now teenagers, and sometimes they still forget what causes their freak outs. Just love them through it all. And just keep swimming.

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33 Raina July 30, 2014 at 12:06 am

I have to admit, I’ve never taken my 13 month old to a restaurant because he’s so needy and high maintenance. I’m afraid he will lose his shit too. I’m a big wimp I suppose.

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34 Angela July 30, 2014 at 2:24 pm

I was totally blessed with my son. He was so easy to raise when he was young. He did not throw tantrums. He was so very loving. And now he has blessed me with a granddaughter. Seems she has taken after me and not her daddy. Whoa! She gives grandma a run for her money. After one particularly bad, screaming tantrum, I just looked at my son and said, “Thank You! Thank You for not doing this to me.” LOL But ya know, that little girl is the delight of my life. I love her, tantrums and all, because I know that is just her way of trying to communicate right now. So bless your heart, continue in grace. You’re doing just fine ;)

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35 Amanda July 30, 2014 at 6:02 pm

I wanted to take the time to comment – which I never do – to tell you that a mother who cares this much about having a success for her children can’t just let the judgment of another go. For those of us who think so little of other opinions – I envy you. I wish I had the tools and ability to let it roll off like rain. I don’t think this blogger is complaining. I think she is asking for our world to be more compassionate. I don’t see her ripping the lady for moving, I see her expressing understanding for why she wanted too. All she was asking for was a smile – and a little less attitude from a world full of judgmental people. I think it is so important for us to all reminder to none look down on anyone – only God sits that high.

To the blogger: I am a mother of 3 (no multiples) – who in my 20s was a newlywed and a new mother. I had 3 within 3 years as well and it is to date the hardest and most rewarding thing I have ever done. I understand your struggle and every word you wrote rang true with me. I felt like I could have wrote it myself~ I praise God I read this today and I want to thank you for taking on the praise and backlashing that could come being this open. From a mother to a mother, I thank you .

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36 Cassie July 31, 2014 at 8:32 am

Admittedly different circumstances, same outcome. I had 2 babies in 12 months after being told I’d never have any. I was a single child so there were so many things I’d never experienced. Both turned out to have special needs. My stepson has special needs. So now I have 3 kids who can be high strung, moody, and loud and not even realize they are doing it. This article is not misjudging of someone else’s character. Its a cry for grace. I don’t care who you are, if your kid is miserable, so are you. And yes, it stinks to have an outing interrupted, but no one should go out of their way to make someone who is clearly hurting feel even worse on purpose. I had this exact scenario play out in church over and over. And it hurt me. And later when my kiddos would calm down and remember someone’s harsh looks or words, it would hurt them too. And whether kids have special needs or are just tired or cranky, they deserve forgiveness because they are just little people trying to get through moments they don’t always understand. And moms should be lifted up and not treated badly because they’re ALL just trying to get through those moments too. This mom isn’t saying her kid has a right to act badly. She’s saying he has a right to learn. A right to be seen as the child he is. Yes – its a grownup’s job to be the bigger person.

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37 Kay August 1, 2014 at 10:09 am

I’m a mother of three kids, who were also less than four years from youngest to oldest. I completely understand where this mother is coming from in her frustration. However, I don’t think it’s ok for kids to interrupt anyone else’s meal in a restaurant. I also don’t understand why the author felt “judged”. The other person asked to move to another table, which is actually very kind. She didn’t ask her to shut her kid up, she controlled her self and not the mom. On the other hand, it’s cracker barrell, not exactly a fine dining restaurant so what do people expect? I believe it’s one step from fast food and likely a lot of kids go there. Bottom line from what I read here, no harm was done.

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38 Marisa August 2, 2014 at 1:28 pm

I’m sorry when did Cracker Barrel become a fine dining establishment? It is a family restaurant. They have a giant candy area for goodness sakes. People need to calm down about a fussy kid at Cracker Barrel. If it was Ruth’s Chris, or Morton’s, are whatever $75 dollar an a la carte entree place you have in your town I would understand all the nasty comments, but at Cracker Barrel? Come. On.

Yes, this poor momma and her husband could have taken turns outside with their tantram throwing child. But they were exhausted. A big trip, a long drive home, it’s a lot. Stop judging. I’m sure there have been times when you made choices that were the best for your sanity at the time that others found terribly annoying- you just might have been so focused on your own issues that you didn’t notice.

Step out of your glass house, and stop looking at your parenting through rode colored glasses. NO one is perfect. Not you. Not her. Certainly not me.

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39 Kaye August 3, 2014 at 11:46 am

As the mom of two grown sons and grandmother of three little boys (one of whom is autistic), I can relate to your post. While I could write several pages regarding my experience with this issue, I will try to keep it brief, primarily because, after all is said and done, it’s fairly simple. There are restaurants that cater to children. Their menus and playgrounds are ample evidence that they encourage children to eat there. If you choose to dine at McDonald’s, for example, expect to be surrounded by children, and prepare to deal with all the noise, etc. that eating at such a restaurant entails. (I wish I had told the nasty lady in the booth behind us 37 years ago that if she was annoyed by childrens’ “kicking their seats” she should not have chosen to have her breakfast at McDonald’s!) There are restaurants that are “family oriented.” Children are welcome there, too, but common sense dictates that one remove one’s offending child(ren) when his/her behavior disturbs other diners, regardless of how tired one is, how hungry one is, or how much one wants to remain at the table. The other diners in the restaurant are often equally as tired, equally as hungry, and equally as desirous of family time, and it is inappropriate for parents to allow their children’s behavior to disrupt what would otherwise be a pleasant dining experience. Get up and remove your child. It’s the responsible, right thing to do. There are restaurants that are adults only. Use some common sense. Hire a sitter and leave the kids at home. If you don’t, you deserve every nasty look that comes your way. And as for the autistic grandchild who is physically unable to stay seated for very long, I carry small cards in my purse that explain his situation, and I pass these along to those who would judge and condemn. Once people understand his struggles, they no longer complain. It’s a simple as that.

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40 tammy December 6, 2014 at 11:21 am

If our children had complete mektdiwns, and would not settle, we took our meal to go. We’ve been on many long road trips, eating when over tired or over hungry is a recipe for disaster, for adults or children. If you want respect from others than show respect. I have 3 children, youngest is now 12, we have been there. You have options, just like the glaring patron didnt know your circumstances, you don’t know hers. Apologize, and remove your child from the situation, take your meal to go or wait and trade places with your spouse. My sister refused to sit in a restaurant till she was 3, when she had meltdowns, which was often, my parents took turns eating, one would be outside and then theyveoukd swap. We travelled a lot so this was the best option.

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