ShareThis Page
Husband insists on going out to dinner with a post-bedtime toddler |
More Lifestyles

Husband insists on going out to dinner with a post-bedtime toddler

Carolyn Hax
| Friday, May 18, 2018 8:57 p.m

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

My son is 20 months old. He is an absolute joy, but not in a great phase for going to restaurants — which is totally normal. We pick family-friendly places; tip 30 percent; and I try to be really cognizant of not ruining the meals of other patrons.

My husband doesn’t really care — to the level I think is appropriate — about our son’s behavior in public. I hate dining out because I don’t get to enjoy it at all.

This week, he arranged with his best friend for our families to have dinner at a restaurant at 7:30 despite my plea for casual carryout at our house. They have a baby. Our son goes to bed around 6:30, because he is a complete terror after that.

My husband thinks “it’s fine if he stays up late one night.” I think this is going to result in me having a miserable night chasing my son around a crowded restaurant. I had a terrible week at work, an already exhausting week at home, and a funeral viewing. I suggested he just go without me and our son, but he said that completely defeated the point of socializing with our friends as two couples.

I would LOVE to socialize with our friends, but this is not going to happen with a toddler an hour-plus past bedtime.

I don’t want to be a jerk and put my foot down and stay home. I don’t want to be a shrew and pester my husband to participate in shrieking-child-wrangling at dinner. I don’t want to let my kid run wild and unfettered as a manipulative “I told you so.” Any suggestions? It’s not really about my kid, but how to deal with my husband.

— Impending Tantrum

Baby! Sitter! Please!

“I told you so” unfettering can get somebody hurt.

I realize the baseline problem is that your husband is being obtuse, but it is really really OK to tackle that problem later, when you aren’t already drained.

A useful response to remarks like, “It’s fine if he stays up,” is to agree with the fact he’s fixed on and then make your point: “Of course he’ll manage one late night, I agree — I, however, will be miserable wrangling a tired kid when I’m already tired.”

He likely won’t budge — people want what they want and he wants a “normal” evening, it seems — but you’ll establish he’s getting this at your expense.

Re: Tantrum:

What?!?! Expecting your husband to parent his child does not make you a “shrew.”

— Anonymous

To: Tantrum:

It sounds like you’re putting a lot of pressure on yourself to manage what other people think — your husband, folks in the restaurant, even Carolyn. I hope you can let yourself off the hook for that a bit.

— Concerned

Hear, hear.


If I had warning, I could have gotten a sitter. My husband is great and does more than an equal share of parenting, but he just has a higher tolerance level than I do for rowdy behavior. Thanks for the suggestion to deal with the bigger issue another time. Maybe kiddo will surprise me, maybe I leave early. Who’s to say … tomorrow will come either way.

— Tantrum again

There you go. It always does.

Email Carolyn at, follow her on Facebook at or chat with her online at noon Eastern time each Friday at

Carolyn Hax is a Tribune-Review freelancer. You can contact Carolyn at

Categories: More Lifestyles
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.