Whining and dining with kids

Is it me or are there very few nice places in Antwerp where you can take your kids for a drink or a bite to eat? And even fewer places where they actually serve decent food? I think it’s safe to say this rules out indoor playgrounds on both accounts as they are not nice places (don’t get me wrong, the kids love them) and they don’t serve decent food (unless there’s some hidden gem I don’t know about in which case I’d love to hear it). I’m thinking about all those hip and trendy coffee bars that seem to be popping up on every street corner or all those nice little eateries I love to go whenever I have the chance (read: whenever the kids are with a babysitter or another poor soul I found to watch them). One could wonder though if these places are nice just because they’re not childproof and hence usually free from little children. How nice would my favourite coffee bar or restaurant be if it had a children’s corner and was a popular hangout for families with children? Still, I believe my neighbourhood would benefit from such a place, or at least I would 🙂 Especially now the weather’s changing I struggle to find places to go with the kids and staying home gets old quickly, for me that is, not necessarily for the kids.

I’m just trying to do what people without kids do all the time, but then with kids… A challenge! Having dinner at home is difficult enough, so going out for dinner seems impossible. Only we don’t have to set the table or make and serve the food. Plus we try to come prepared with colouring books and crayons… Who am I kidding? We just give them an iPad and eat as quickly as we can (Fun, we should do this more often!). Thinking about it, eating out with the kids has never been very relaxing or particularly fun, so why do we even bother? I think I like the idea of eating out with the kids, especially with other people and their kids. It makes me feel normal and sociable, even if we don’t get much of a chance to talk to the people we’re with. At least we’re trying to have a social life…

This may be what I miss the most since I became a parent: what used to be my social life. Not that I was such a party girl, just having coffee or lunch with the girls, going out for dinner (or dancing) with friends, citytripping or travelling. Most social activities seem to involve food and/or drinks and I just so happen to like eating and drinking, but don’t we all! I’ve always hated to miss out on things but with three little ones I’m bound to miss out on some or even most social events…good thing this became clear only gradually. With one baby everything’s still possible, you can take him anywhere you want to go. It’s only after a few months you realize you no longer have the freedom to do the things you used to do, at least not as freely. It now requires meticulous upfront planning. But I’d rather miss out on social activities than miss out on my kids. Oh, I’m sorry, did I make you throw up your breakfast? 😉 It’s true though. I guess it’s a matter of finding the right balance so you can have the best of both worlds.

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