Along with Sally Bercow, Miley Cyrus and Russell Brand, Janet Street-Porter has got to be up there with my idea of a hellish Come Dine party guest.
So it surprises me to admit that I am in accord with her one particularly divisive subject: children’s behaviour in restaurants.
The writer and broadcaster laid in to the parents who allowed their offspring to run riot in cafes and dining establishments immune to the discomfort caused to diners around them.
I work hard, my free time precious, so when I go out for dinner or grab a coffee with friends I don’t want it being ruined by a soundscape of screaming children or by brats running around my table.
JSP has a theory that mums have different hearing to those who don’t have children. That they are “impervious to the ghastly racket little Johnnie or Klay is making as he screams for attention”.
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Now, here’s where I have to disagree (I knew my entente cordiale with JSP couldn’t last). It’s not all mums who act in this way but the ghastly Joules-wellie wearing ones I often write about, those Mumsnetters who are contemptuous of anyone not accepting of their independent and free-spirited offspring.
Since Master A was a baby, I have always been mindful of those around me. If he cried – which, I’m lucky to say was a rare occurrence – I would remove him from the restaurant until he quieted down – even if it meant my food went cold.
When out dining he’s never been allowed to shout, throw his food, jump up and down from the table or run around – and that applies while eating at home, too.
Now he’s almost eight I monitor his game gadgets. Hyper-sensitive to their noise levels, I insist he puts all games on mute when we’re out.
It’s a simple case of being respectful to people around you – and reminding yourself that it’s not compulsory for everyone to adore your child.
Working Mum, obsessing about an evening with JSP, Bercow, Cyrus, and Brand would play out.