Look, I'm not a mum, but I've seen enough playground fights (among adults, mind you) to know that noisy kids in restaurants is a touchy subject.
It's right up there with the great debates of our time, like, "Should you get a fringe?" and "Is it ever OK to put pineapple on pizza?" (By the way the answer to those is no and yes.)
So, there I was, sipping my pinot gris in a restaurant when a mother, desperate for a moment of peace and a chance to eat her meal while it was still hot, handed her noisy kids iPads. The silence that followed was heavenly.
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Problem solved, right?
Cue the filthy looks and judgement from another mum at the next table. It was as if the iPad mum had just committed a cardinal sin.
As someone with a highly-demanding job, I can attest that screen time is both a blessing and a curse. Yes, even I get sucked into the endless scroll of social media or a Netflix binge.
But let's be real here, sometimes screen time can be a lifesaver. It can be educational (Hello, YouTube tutorials!), informative (I see you, news apps), or just a much-needed escape from reality (Ah, the joys of re-watching Grey's Anatomy for the millionth time).
For busy mums, handing over a device loaded with cartoons or games is like a temporary pause button on life's chaos. It's not lazy parenting; it's tactical survival.
To me, a bit of screen time is better than interrupting dinner out for other people.
A restaurant in America recently made headlines for charging extra to "adults unable to parent".
Yep, you read that right. If your kid acts up, your bill goes up.
I think we need to give parents a break. They are judged if the give the kids an iPad and they are judged if they let them play freely.
I say go ahead, let the kids have their iPads. It means other diners can enjoy dinner without the soundtrack of toddler tantrums or sibling squabbles. A win-win for everyone.
But how about a bit of empathy and understanding on both sides?
Parents, maybe a quick "sorry" if your kid decides to audition for "Stomp" using cutlery at the table.
And for those dining without kids or have children colouring in and not interested in screen time, let's not forget that every parent has their own journey and struggles.
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Instead of passing judgement about screen time, how about passing a note that says, "Hang in there, you're doing great," or even just a knowing smile across the room?
Trust me, that would go a long way in making someone's dinner a little bit better.
Less judgment, more pinot gris.