Not-So Bon Appetit: Restaurant Kicks Mom Out for Diaper Change at Table


My older daughter just turned 6 and my younger one is about to turn 3. I gazed at them with delight over the weekend as they took turns using the potty and neither asked me to wipe her. Now that they’re both potty trained, my work here is done, right?

Well, no, I guess not. But I think back to my early days of motherhood — when they were in diapers, breastfeeding, needing pacifiers and “uppy” at all moments (especially the inopportune ones) — and I breathe a sigh of relief that those hurdles are finally in the rear-view mirror. They were good training, though, I’m sure, for what’s in store as they’re getting older. Little people, little problems. Big people, big problems. Right?

I read a story with great empathy — and even more disgust — about a mom who was kicked out of Brother’s Pizza Express in Spring, Texas, after she changed her 4-month-old baby’s diaper at the table. She tried to do it in the bathroom but there was no changing table, according to KHOU.com. She had her other two kids with her, too, ages 4 and 8, and didn’t want to drag everyone out to her minivan for the diaper change, which is why she “laid [the baby] down quickly and quietly changed her diaper,” using a diaper pad on a chair at the table in the dining room.

That’s according to the mom. According to an employee, however, the diaper change was neither quick nor quiet.

“How would you feel,” said the employee, whose brother is the manager. “You’re sitting there eating. I don’t want to lose all these other customers because they see a dirty diaper.”

The restaurant employees said other diners complained about the smell of the diaper and the last thing the manager wanted “is a customer throwing up.” That’s why they brought the family’s food out in to-go containers and asked them to leave. In the meantime, the family has complained to the Better Business Bureau and the restaurant is not remorseful, although they are considering adding changing tables to their restroom amenities.

Can I get an “Amen!” if you’re a parent who has been there? Amen! I have been there! Except I would have taken the baby out to the car. Out of sight may not be out of smell, but you’d be surprised — often times what others can’t see really doesn’t bother them.

Still, I’ve changed diapers on airline seats, especially when my babies were very little and there were no changing tables in the lavatories or it was a matter of absolute necessity and the Fasten Seatbelt sign was illuminated. In moments of despair I’ve also changed diapers on bathroom floors (and then practically bathed them after in vats of Clorox at the first opportunity). I know I’ve changed diapers on chairs. But in a restaurant? Even I have limits.

Being a parent is untidy and ugly and gross and inconvenient (you know, and lovely and sweet and full of roses). If you weren’t sure of that before becoming one, you learn it very quickly the first time your newborn blows out their diaper the second you’re somewhere without a change of clothes or a wet wipe. But that doesn’t mean you necessarily have to expose everyone else to your poopy woes.

If I ever had an 8-year-old and 4-year-old with me when a newborn’s diaper needed changing, and I lived in a safe area and was in a decent-enough restaurant, you can bet you bottom dollar I would have marched out to my minivan to change the baby’s diaper — and left the older kids alone in the restaurant for the three minutes it took to make the change.

Breastfeed where you will if you must, but changing diapers on a table in an eating establishment? That’s amateur hour, even for an amateur. You expect a lot of extra messiness and grossness and uncertainty from a first-time parent, but a seasoned pro with two older children? C’mon. Maybe if you’re only on your first child do you think that every diaper needs to be changed the moment it becomes soiled. Surely if there’s a rash situation it’s understandable. But once you have some parenting time under your belt, you know that a diaper can sit for a few minutes while you eat a meal. Has anyone ever expired due to a ripe diaper?

Parents with little kids expect — and deserve — some breaks, sure. But moms like this give parents and babies a bad name. Not to mention an even worse smell.


Image courtesy of ThinkStock


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