Cafe’s have been my soul food for many years. Not only do they sell my favourite beverage they make me feel human. Each cafe brings back memories of time well spent with friends, favourite dishes, or cold mornings waiting for a hot caffeine hit,
Recently my favourite drive thru cafe closed and it really got me thinking about just how important it was for to have a place like this when I was in the early newborn days.I couldn’t tell you how many times I loaded my eldest in the car and drove around the suburbs just to get him to sleep. That cafe was my sanctuary. I was so regular I could hand over my keep cup without having to speak my order. They’d let me know when my favourite mini carrot cakes were in stock and made the best breakfast toasties complete with gooey cheese . I could rely on them to make me nutritious food when I was sleep deprived and could have easily be lined up in the machos drive-thru instead. Now with my second son I regularly think of that cafe, there is no where close to home to get a good drive thru coffee and the thought of having to get two kids out of the car to meet my caffeine needs is exhausting. The only thing that could have made that place better is if they did drive thru milk and bread as well because I would be there daily.
Drive thru cafes are also amazing because they don’t make us mummas feel like unwanted and burdensome. So often when I do get to a cafe they have failed to consider young mums in their design. The staff want to hide you up the back, or outside if they can.
When my first son was a year old I stopped at a shopping mall cafe trolly loaded with groceries it had been a long morning and I just wanted a coffee and some morning tea. My son got hold of a spoon and started tapping it on his highchair, the lady on the phone at the table next to us shoosed me and rudely indicated to me to make my son be quiet. I know it must have been frustrating for her as she was on the phone but we were at a public place in a mall. She wasn’t entitled to make me feel small. I had every right to be there with my 1 year old. We need to support young mums. Getting out of the house can be hard and we should be supported when we actually do it. Forcing us to stay inside is not good for our mental health.
I recently went to a cafe with my two kids where I could barely get inside because of my pram. Once inside I felt in the way as they really wasn’t anyway to have the pram and highchair set up without blocking a walkway or someone else’s table. Later that week I went to another cafe to meet a friend again with the two kids in the pram. The waitress watched me struggling to find the highchairs and get the boys organised. When I asked her where they were she explained they were out the back of the restaurant making it pretty clear she want going to get it for me. I’m not sure how she expected me to get the highchair and carry it back whilst pushing the pram, or maybe she thought I’d leave my two boys unattended to go and self serve the highchair. I don’t know but both options made me feel uncomfortable and unwelcome. Instead I had to wait for my friend to arrive, then I went and got the highchair. The whole thing was awkward. Later on when ordering our coffees I also ordered my son eggs and toast from the kids menu. When his food arrived it came with adult cutlery..he’s 2. When I asked if they had kids cutlery I was told again it was self service at the back of the restaurant, once more making it pretty clear I was expected to go and get it. . Look I get it some places don’t want to be family friendly and I pay that for bars and fancy restaurants but cafes come on. My son wasn’t eating for free and it really made me feel like I was being treated as lesser because I had little kids. Sometimes us mum’s just need to be cut some slack. Most of the day these cafes their empty, and us mums are good business. We not only order coffees and food, but babyccinos and snacks! We’re desperate to get out of the house and it’s highly likely we will go for the second coffee in house and maybe even a takeaway too. Try to consider us in your cafe layouts and make us feel welcome when we enter your establishments. It means so much to us and makes our lives a hell of a lot easier!
To the cafes that are already family friendly and provide those kids corners, or colouring books and pencils THANKYOU! You will never know how much you do to make me feel human again and allow me to steal 10 minutes of peace to drink my coffee.
Mumma Z xxx