We don't often go out to dinner as a family. The main reason we don't go out is we're a family of 6~dining out is expensive for us. While I've heard rumblings that the economy is improving, the State of Maine is always last to experience such joys. We may get the first sunrise, but we always get the last of everything else. If we do go out, we stick to restaurants that we know won't break the bank, are places that the kids like to eat (obviously) and aren't just fast food. I mean, I can make mac and cheese and cheese quesadillas for a LOT less than it would cost at a restaurant.
With that said, we do take the kids out as special treats at times. Saturday we told the kids that if they cleaned their rooms with minimal fuss, we'd take them out for Mexican. We are not above bribing our kids with food for a change of scenery for us all (oh, and of course food we don't have to prepare and dishes someone else cleans up). We got to our favorite place and the wait was literally 2 minutes. If that's not a sign of the economy, I don't know what is (sometimes the wait there is 30 minutes). Anyway, as we were brought to our table, I was listening to another patron count how many kids we have. I'm sure we look like an armada coming into the restaurant, but the kids were being very well behaved. And they remained well behaved for our entire meal. Only Drew couldn't sit still in his seat; he was fascinated with a table of older boys seated behind us and kept turning to watch them. Other than that, no one yelled, spilled their drinks, threw food or any other tantrum that we often see at home. I was quite proud of them.
We get that "look" a lot when we go out to eat. That look of disdain from people, especially older people, that we've brought our kids out to eat. Last I checked, there wasn't a law against a big family eating out. If our children do have a bad behavior moment, they are removed from the table and brought to a quieter area to calm the heck down. But those moments are rare; for the most part, they're thrilled to be out somewhere else to eat and try hard to be on their best behavior. I'm not sure why people feel the need to judge. I suppose we all judge someone else at some point in time, but it really annoys me that people do that to my kids. We may be a big family, but we do have manners and they are expected to be used in public (at home, well, that's a post for another day). So to those to give us the "look"~buzz off. Big families can, and will, go out to eat.