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Take your screaming kids out of my coffee shop

By: Thoams Wanhoff Posted: February-27-2011 in
Thoams Wanhoff

In the sixties in German union were fighting for the right of a weekend-off from work. The slogan was "On weekends Daddy belongs to me". This is something like a unwritten law, still. Because Daddy has a stressful and exhausting work week, it is only the weekend when he can spend some time with the kids.

Look at coffee shops. During the week you enjoy the chilly atmosphere of people reading books or work working on their laptop. It changes dramatically on weekends. Families flooding in, kids smearing their fingers over the cake display, mothers trying to walk with a large coffee latte into the kids playroom, getting hit by a red plastic ball, spilling the coffee all over their clothes. Meanwhile Daddy, who changed his business suit and tie into the very casual and individual shorts, shirt and flip flop, is trying to relax reading the weekend edition of the newspaper. He promised to spend the Sunday morning with the kids. Here we are, at the coffee shop. They can play with other kids. They can use the playground. And they have chocolate.
It usually takes not more than 10 minutes, when Daddy get's a break. It is either Mom asking for taking care of the 5 year old while she is trying to get the spilled coffee out of her shorts, or it is the 10 year old, who doesn't want to play with the younger ones. "Daddy?", he asks. "Hmm?" comes from behind the newspaper. "Why are soldiers dieing in the war?", he wants to know, referring to the cover story on Daddy's newspaper. "Because it's war", Daddy says. "But why they have to die?", Junior is insisting. Daddy folds the newspaper, making him actually visible now to his son. "Why you don't play with he others?" "There are no others, Daddy, this kids are all too young." Young is the keyword, where is the 5 year old? "Have you seen your little brother?" Daddy is panicking. Adrenalin is pumping in the bloodstream, and he feel the heart going into alarm mode. What to do first? What did his wife say where she is going? Why it takes so long? "Billy?" is he shouting through the shop, "where are you?" His face is getting pale, his hands a shaking. "He is under the table, Daddy, sleeping."

The weekend is the time, when kids want to spend time with Daddy. That means they demand the same attention his works get during the week. It doesn't mean that Daddy is physically there. A coffee shop or a playground isn't the best place to be WITH your kid. Go for a walk in the forest, swim a river, go camping, explore wildlife, build a castle at home, an igloo, a tent, whatever. Instead of feeling guilty because you work hard, feel happy to be under your kids control.

And take your screaming kids out of my coffee shop.


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