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  • Writer's pictureCampbell Whitman

Table For One

In many typical American film or television scenes involving a character who has to eat out at a restaurant by themself, it's often portrayed as if said character feels like a loser, embarrassed by their non-cool, social status. They cover their faces with the giant menu to hide from an acquaintance who saunters by their table, or continuously look around in fear that they might be seen by anyone who may, even kinda, sorta know them.

After living in France for two summers as a teenager and seeing people gladly take a table for 1 to enjoy a meal alone or a newspaper with tea, coffee or even better, booze, I quickly noticed a major cultural difference. And, at this phase in my life, I would do almost anything to eat out alone!

You see, eating dinner with kids is like asking an entire circus staff to sit down together at one table, eat simultaneously without any chaos, begging them to leave the the tight rope alone, asking the elephant to not shit on the table, the clowns to please abstain from squirting water from their fake, flower broach in everyone's faces and the bearded lady to not end up with more food on her beard than in her belly. Then put all of that together, in a blender and run it backwards, while playing circus music, of course! It's exhausting and honestly, I don't believe that I have truly enjoyed a meal since my first child was born.

But in some happy news, I recently went on my first solo vacation ever since having kids, almost 6 years ago. I could say, "I don't know why it took me so long." But I would be lying...

We all know mothers tend to put themselves last and I certainly have fallen into that group, but, it's also that being an American-born woman, now European mother, I see just how differently my American culture goes about raising kids. In Europe, mothers are not such slaves to their children's lives. They also often have part-time jobs which helps maintain a better balance in regard to their pre-children lives versus their post-children lives. And, let me tell you people of the internet, that is the key to happiness after kids, and therefor the happiness of children in itself!

So, pardon me, for wanting nothing more than to be eating at a restaurant alone with no one needing a damn thing! I don't give a shit what people think. I get enough judgment from the circus back home.


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