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Going out to eat with preschoolers is my idea of a good time!

How many of us actually go out to eat with our kids?

This is really a mixed bag. I mean seriously sometimes I just want a break from cooking dinner and cleaning up. So clearly we go out to eat. However with kids who are 3 and 1 - well this can end up being more stressful than worth it.

Okay so here is where I am conflicted.

Pros of going out to eat with preschoolers:

1. I don't have to cook.
2. I don't have to clean up.
3. I have the opportunity to teach my children how to have good manners in a a restaurant.

Here is where my "pros" list ends.

We went out to eat on Saturday night. It was actually my husband's idea because he had done some painting in our kitchen and declared the kitchen off limits to the entire family. I didn't put up much - I mean any fight whatsoever. However I did veto our usual family pizza haunt and hoped to actually go to a restaurant that does not serve a large pepperoni.

Huge mistake. Can you relate? I had visions of my kids sitting nicely while they colored on menus and my husband and I leisurely sipped our margaritas. What a treat for everyone! I know I am delusional and I fully accept that.

To be fair, my 3 year old behaved very well. So well he almost was competing with my daughter to prove what a better sibling he was and what a horrible choices she made. After the third time of going out front with the defiant I refuse to sit in a high chair and color and I need to scream at the top of my lungs in the middle of the dining room I returned only to be asked by the 3 year old in an excited hushed voice as to whether or not said sister got a spank outside. Serious kid drama.  Just like juicy celebrity gossip to him he had to know the punishment she faced for her reckless restaurant behavior.

Not knowing how to respond and finally muttering that's none of his business I hastened to chugging my 10$ margarita (because you all know there's no to go box for that) and taking a bite of my cold tacos before said daughter decided it was appropriate to throw food into my purse and yell at the top of her lungs.  Being mortified, hot faced, and desperately trying to clean up the explosion of food which at one point looked presentable at the pass; totally worth not cooking and paying a huge tip to a totally annoyed waitress.

After we paid the bill and the price of sitting down as a family at a restaurant, I wondered is it really worth it to go out with young kids? In my humble opinion it is not. I told my son next time we will get a sitter and he can come out with us and his sister gets to stay home and go to bed. However if I happen across a sitter you can be sure both kids are staying home and I will take my time with my margarita and eat hot tacos. Because you know what - if my kids never learn how to behave at a restaurant that's fine by me because next time we go out to eat as a family it will be when they are able to pick up the tab.


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