For date night’s sake, my husband and I mustered up the courage to brave the daunting public with our baby last night! My four-month-old isn’t unfamiliar with the public. She and I try to get out of the house as much as we can, lest we get cabin fever. Our outings usually include story time, which is offered at Panera, Knowledge Nook, and the library. The atmosphere at these story times is informal, but my baby has proven herself to be one of the best-behaved kids in attendance. (This might be due to the fact that she is physically incapable of “running around” at this point.) As a result of this admirable track record, my husband and I felt comfortable upping the stakes by taking her somewhere that wasn’t exclusively for kids.
He and I haven’t ventured out for a date in at least three months, and in that time we have settled into a new state, job, and fiscally-sound situation. Needless to say, we felt a celebratory dinner was deserved. And when one hasn’t had the opportunity to establish a sitter yet, yes, celebratory date night does include the baby.
My husband and I are both sushi lovers, so naturally we were inclined to hit up an Asian Bistro for our first night out on the town. I expected it to be on the formal side, but didn’t think anything of it. After we arrived, however, it seemed as though the other guests were thinking plenty.
We were met with judging eyes and skeptical glances from the moment we walked in (not from the staff, but from the clientele). They were looking at us as if we were bringing a screaming baby onto an airplane- like we were interfering with their leisure. Before our baby even made a peep, these presumptuous diners were already expecting the worst.
After dinner, we went to grab dessert from a frozen yogurt shop. This was a quick in-and-out stop, but not quick enough for Mackenzie. By this time she had met her copacetic quota; and when she started to fuss, we fought our reflexes to pick her up so that we could self-serve our yogurt as quickly as possible. Once again, we were met with judging eyes.
I’m not sure if I was just being paranoid, if people were looking because she was crying, or if it was the fact that I was sampling every flavor of yogurt that I pumped into my bowl… Regardless, I felt like we were on display, and that their stares were undeserved for a casual place like a yogurt shop.
Now I get it, people don’t want to have their nights ruined by a screaming child; I don’t either. However, I believe perspective should be in order. People don’t just stop living their lives when they become parents. They don’t hold themselves up in their houses until the kids are all grown up, and they don’t deprive themselves of normal activities. So if you are a bystander, have some understanding and give parents the benefit of the doubt. My husband dismisses himself from the church sanctuary with our baby if she so much as baby babbles. We know what needs to be done, and when it needs to be done; we know how to handle the situation. There is no need for anyone else to worry about it, and there’s definitely no need to stare.