This post is an apology.
A massive sorry to the parents I judged before having kids.
Specifically the ones whose children were having a meltdown and I naively thought ‘why can’t you just control them?’
Because when your kids are having an all consuming, fist-throwing, foot-stamping tantrum, the last thing you want is some idiot shooting you a look.
We were at a café on the seafront.
It was hugely busy with people queuing out the door.
And my daughter was going crackers.
Crying. Screaming. The works.
The ruddy lunch was meant a treat for us all and it had completely gone to shit.
The other diners were starting to get a bit tutty, and to top it all off, as we hastily went to pay, the waiter started slow-clapping my daughter, as if she was just doing it for attention.
And I suddenly wanted to a) punch him in the face and then b) tell the couple that were shaking their heads on the table next to us to mind their own business.
Because, actually, being a four-year-old is quite tough work.
They're often told what to wear, to eat, where they're going to that hour or day, sometimes with very little warning.
And they’re just meant to suck it up.
My daughter had been mega excited about going to a café for lunch.
She’s decided long before we’d got there that she was going to have sausage and chips.
But they’d all sold out by the time we’d arrived, so we chose what she was going to have without really consulting with her.
And she was bitterly disappointed.
But instead of listening to her, I assumed she was just having a whinge and told her to eat up.
She got more upset and I got more wound up.
Until she was going bananas, the majority of the café had totally got their judge-on.
And at that point I should have taken a deep breath.
Got a bit of perspective.
And, more to the point, ignored everyone who was staring.
Instead, I suddenly felt hugely self-conscious, and tried to get her out of the café as quickly as I could.
Afterwards it took forever to calm her down.
We all felt emotionally knackered.
I was considering if 2pm was too early to get the gin out. (No. It’s not.)
And I just wished for about the millionth time since having children that I’d handled a situation differently.
So- parents I met pre-2011.
I was a dick.
To my daughter.
This is not the first, and most definitely won’t be the last time you will go berserk in public.
So lets try and find the most painless way through it.
And finally, to the waiter who slow-clapped.
You’ve lost yourself a customer there buddy.