Well, this is a tricky one.
Toddler meltdowns do happen in shops and restaurants, and can’t always be helped. But that didn’t stop one coffee shop employee from calling out the mum for it on social media.
So here’s the story – an employee of the TYME Coffee Lounge in Glossops, Derbyshire, posted the above message on the company’s Facebook page a couple of days ago.
“It’s been another excellent day at the TYME Coffee Lounge, however, we would like to make a comment about the behaviour of some small children today.
“We appreciate that mums come along and bring their children, we do ask that the mothers respect the other clients in the coffee lounge and when their children are screeching and screaming and having tantrums, we would ask the mothers of these children to take them outside till they can behave.
“There are other clients who come for a peaceful relaxing time over tea/coffee and probably a light snack. They do not want to listen to unruly screaming children whose parents cannot keep them under control.
“We send our apologies to those customers who came to Tyme Lounge this morning and had to put up with the screeching and screaming of the children.”
The post has since been deleted from the shop’s Facebook page, but not before it was shared on other pages, and attracted a ton of comments – and came to the attention of mum Kate Raine, who realised it was about her and her 2-year-old son.
Outraged – and not to mention upset – Kate posted this stinging response:
“I don’t know whether I am more angry, upset or embarrassed but what I do know is I am in floods of tears. I decided to try out your establishment with some friends that I hadn’t seen for while. I am very sorry you were annoyed by my son behaving like a typical two-year-old, but I am afraid he is a typical two-year-old.
“If it was really such a problem a polite word would have been appreciated, instead of making not so subtle comments to your staff about how terrible screeching children are, some horrible looks and then posting this. Out of the group of us my child was probably the most unruly and recognising your deeply unwelcoming feeling, I left your establishment and my friends behind.
“I would like to say your food was delicious and the women serving behind the till were polite, friendly and welcoming. However, you have left me feeling deeply upset, embarrassed and like a terrible mother.
“Don’t worry about me coming back, as I will never be setting foot in your establishment again.”
Oh dear – it seems a quiet word with her at the time would have been the most sensible option, right?
Speaking to the Manchester Evening News, Kate said that since the whole unfortunate episode unfolded, she has been ‘overwhelmed’ with support from other parents.
“I have to say I was a little shocked and very upset when I saw their post,” she told the paper. “The reaction without me even saying a word was amazing and it was this that finally prompted me to respond. My reply has been on their site for nearly 10 hours now and I have not yet received a personal response.”
However, it would seem that quite a few people did agree with the cafe’s stance though:
“I’m a mum of 3 too and when mine were playing up anywhere we would leave and go home!! Much to my annoyance most of the time but it taught them well, play up = home time!!” wrote one.
“Totally agree. Only selfish parents would have a problem with this. I’m a mum of 3 and would never let them scream in a cafe disrupting others. Madness that this isn’t normal behaviour for parents,” said another.
But then, as Kate said, a lot of people came to her defence, too – particularly as they felt that sharing details of the scenario on social media was just not on:
One commenter wrote: “Think this may effect this business in a huge way, I agree nobody likes a tantrum but nobody also don’t like a place children are made unwelcome and unfortunately this is exactly how its come across that children are not welcome,” whilst another chipped in with: “Absolutely disgusting. Genuinely hope their business sinks without the custom of mothers and children!”
The cafe owner speaks out…
Even the cafe’s owner, Shaun Donohoe, said that the comment should not have been posted on Facebook – although he did agree with the sentiment behind it.
“The screaming and screeching was so bad that we had three people walk out saying they weren’t putting up with that racket,” he told the Manchester Evening News.
“The parents we had in just seemed to let the children do what they want, they were screaming and screeching and the parents just sat there. They should be able to control them and be considerate to other people. If it was my children I would take them outside and explain how they need to behave.
“One of them was on the floor rolling and screaming and when we’ve got people walking around with hot drinks, it’s dangerous.”
Shaun, who says the Facebook post was penned by his business partner who is now no longer allowed to post on the page, added that the company ‘love children and want families to come in’ but said that they ‘have to be controlled’.
“I’m totally shocked by the comments from some of the mums and it’s all gone a bit overboard. Many of those commenting weren’t there to witness what happened,” he continued.
“They have taken our message totally wrong. It was not our intention to upset anybody. We welcome families and we want children here but people must be considerate of their surroundings and who else is there. Now if that’s wrong then shoot me.”
What do you think?
Have you ever felt unwelcome in cafes when your kids have made a bit of noise? What would you have done if you were the mum (or the owners) in this situation?
Do tell us in the comments or on our Facebook page.