View Full Version : We were that family tonight...

July 30th, 2015, 02:53 AM
Do you ever go to a restaurant and see a family where the kids are plugged into electronics while parents ignore them? If you jump to the conclusion that they don't connect with their kids, please don't judge a book by its cover.

Tonight we were that family, and frankly, it was glorious. My husband and I are both teachers, and travel heavily with the kids. We have been with them 24/7 since June 18th. ONE night all summer when my Mom was here she kicked us out and put them to bed for us. Yes, there were three waking hours in six weeks that they were not by our sides.

Typically we eat at home, and all 3 meals are served at the table. The four of us eat together, no electronics allowed unless we are looking up something that the family is discussing ( maybe the distance to the moon or what time a movie is playing).

A few days ago my MIL was diagnosed with stomach cancer, and DH is understandably concerned. We are in packing mode and fly to NJ in 36 hours, so we are running out of food in the house. We lost track of time while we were at the pool for the last time this summer, so we decided to go out and try a place our friends rave about. We walked in and knew our kids would struggle with sensory overload, so after they made their choices and politely talked to the waitress they plugged into their iPads. My husband and I had a whole conversation, uninterrupted. The kids ate every bite on their plates.

We overheard the table next to us commenting about how sad families are these days, and I just had to shake my head. When on earth was the stranger at the table next to me given the right to judge my family and our actions? Is it simply because she is older than me that she can say things like this? I'm quite certain she does not know us and will never see us again, so I'm not so bothered by her as I am by the overall attitude towards modern families. It is not the same world I grew up in, I will do things differently than my parents, and that's OKAY.

Please don't assume the worst of parents. Maybe the iPad at the table is to prevent a sensory meltdown and allow them to have a conversation for the first time in six weeks.

July 30th, 2015, 02:59 AM
A great reminder of how easy it is to be judgemental, and that we never know what's really going on. How awful that you had to put up with such comments! Your energies need to be with your husband and his mother. I'll pray for you all.

July 30th, 2015, 03:05 AM
First I am sorry about the news of your mil, and will keep you all in my prayers.I see the families today and know we ware all different,if I don't know someone I would not judge them from only seeing them once.When my son was young (many many years ago) we went to a restaurant and we sat beside an older man.When the server sat us you could see the look of disgust on this man's face.I could tell that this man thought for sure his dinner was ruined,but I always carried toys,books etc... with us and after dinner this man came over to us to tell us how well behaved my son was.I understand how you must have felt.there is nothing wrong with some computer time,it's the parents that let the computer raise their children that bother me.(i hope you're not a grammer teacher.LOL)

July 30th, 2015, 03:58 AM
I'm sorry to hear this news about your MIL. As to the electronics issue, it was rude of her to express her opinion loudly enough for you to hear. Unfortunately, the older generation often has trouble moving with the times. It happens to every generation. All I can say is try not to let it bother you. I'm trying hard not to be one of those older, judgemental people who frowns upon the behavior and attitude of the younger set. However, it's not always easy. Let's talk about this again when you're my age (63). hahaha

July 30th, 2015, 06:31 AM
I am so sorry to hear about your MIL, I will keep your family in my prayers during this difficult time in your lives.
It's true, people do assume things they shouldn't. I remember years ago, when I was in the process of getting my Bachelor's degree in nursing, and I worked part-time during the Christmas season at a local discount store ( I had been working there for several years during the holidays to provide extra income for the holidays ). One day, this little girl was in line at my check-out line and I noticed while checking out the customer before this little girl ( she was around 4 yrs old ) and her mom that the little girl had two severely blackened eyes ! I immediately misjudged this.....that was until I had seen who the little girl's mom was. This little girl's mom had went to school (and actually was a close friend of my older sister ) with my older sister. Of course right away, ( until I seen who the mom was ) I thought there was some abuse going on.....and of course there wasn't. The little girl had fallen and landed head / face first.
So, yes, a lot of times we tend to think about things that actually aren't really the facts. Nowadays, I don't think I would get a family eating at a restaurant as you described your family a second thought, simply because I had taken my own grandkids out to dinner with their electronic devices etc. and the children are always polite to the server, and attentive during our meal, but a lot of the time they are doing homework, or chatting with a friend prior to ordering their meal etc. In fact, I have gotten compliments as to how quiet and well-behaved the kids are when I have them out, and I remember getting the same compliments when their parents were younger as well. ( I rarely get the chance to have my grandkids without their parents because all of my kids except my DD's family live out of state )
It's sad that you had to overhear that...but you probably didn't notice other people in the restaurant that knew what you and your family were doing because they as families did the same thing(s) too.
Thanks for sharing this, I am sure you have made some people realize that there's certain reasons for things, and not to judge what they see so quickly.


July 30th, 2015, 11:42 PM
I would so much rather see kids quietly using electronic than yelling,crying ,fighting , etc. Several years ago we were in Nashville,Tn where my DH was to have ablation of his heart and I was playing with a Gameboy and he was reading on his Kindle. Some older woman came into the area and made a comment about us. I so wanted to tell her to engage in cannibalism. I was 59 and DH 80.
You all are so right, judge not lest ..... Ok enough of my ranting ! I will send positve thoughts and prayer for your MIL,DH and whole family . Big Hug !

K. McEuen
July 31st, 2015, 12:19 AM
You can bet she would have had something to say had your kids been loud and unruly too. You can't please everyone, so please the ones that matter. Best of luck and good thoughts to your MIL.

Claire OneStitchAtATime
July 31st, 2015, 12:22 AM
I totally agree, you never know what people are dealing with behind the scenes; no idea what pain they carry. It's generally best to assume they have a reason for doing what they are doing, and keep your thoughts & advice to yourself. Kids can have illnesses or developmental issues that aren't apparent to the naked eye, and the parent may already have been a superman or superdad that day. You really can't judge other people's parenting from a single encounter.

Hope MIL does OK.

July 31st, 2015, 12:28 AM
I only say something if I see someone is getting hurt or going to be. Otherwise I don't care if kids are on cell phones. I have my own problems, My dd invited me to breakfast where her boyfriend works. He took a break and read the newspaper the whole time. Could care less about knowing me.He ended up living with me. Now she's having a baby with him.

I don't judge anyone. If your hurting a kid yes.

July 31st, 2015, 02:50 AM
people make such a big deal out of electronics it's ridiculous. Just because you have your cell phone out doesn't mean you're not communicating. DH, kids and I do it all the time but we are also talking to each other about who/what we are checking out on our phones. DDs and I are also avid readers. It's not unusual for us to meet for lunch and read our respective books or kindles until the food comes. We stop and talk or discuss what we're reading.

July 31st, 2015, 04:10 AM
I would rather see kids plugged in and behaving over loud/screaming kids any day. One of my pet peeves is a crying baby or a kid allowed to run loose in a public place. One cannot judge quality family time in a public place.

Prayers for your family during this stressful time.

July 31st, 2015, 09:24 AM
Sorry to hear about your MIL and am sending good thoughts.

I'm totally impressed you understand about sensory overload though! :D

July 31st, 2015, 12:10 PM
So sorry to hear about your MIL's cancer. That is such a difficult situation. As for your choice with your kids in the restaurant, I applaud it. I can remember taking our son to restaurants when he was very small and being tense the whole time in fear he would start to act up. Fortunately, probably because he was only, he gained a lot of self control early and actually was pretty sophisticated. I have a feeling with the upbringing you are giving your kids they will have sensitivity to cultural cues and a good sense of social context as time goes on. Not so much for the so-called adults who think it is their prerogative to criticize others audibly in public. They are bullies and overbearing know it alls. Remember the old Saturday Night Live Dana Carvey character The Church Lady? When I see someone like that trying to bully and criticize I think of that ridiculous character. It helps me laugh instead of getting angry and spoiling my own good time. Picturing someone as ridiculous is a good coping strategy to draw on.

July 31st, 2015, 03:44 PM
It's human nature to judge and compare. Everyone does it. You never know - her comments probably sparked a conversation about modern customs and behavior at her table. Let's hope she also noticed your kid's manners and how well behaved they were.

I'm sure we can all remember in the past when things were done differently and how people commented negatively on 'what is the world coming to' It's a sign of changing times. It happens and we all grow with it.

Just don't let it affect how you relate to older people. Don't be judging back.

July 31st, 2015, 08:42 PM
People don't remember bringing a whole bag of goodies with you to "entertain" the kids??? Books,crayons,pencils,coloring books,little cars and dolls??? People read books,magazines and newspapers while they eat. Today, it's all encapsulated in an electrical device. The physical is different, the premise is the same. The important thing here is not the judging lady, but how you and your DH raise and love your kids, you know the truth so don't let others bug you. Now go and be with your MIL and she will be in my prayers for healing and health. God Bless all.