So now Janet Street Porter wants to ban children from restaurants

Janet Street Porter



I am beginning to wonder if the sight of the Coke truck on TV triggers something in Janet Street Porter’s mind that means she has to suddenly become The Grinch.  Or maybe it is the thought of having to spend money on presents that means she needs to write another click bait newspaper article.

Four years ago JSP declared that working from home made you mad.   I posted my response here:  Working from home does not make my bonkers.   Now here we are four years later and apparently JSP now wants children banned from restaurants

Give me strength.

But how many dining experiences are ruined because you are forced to conduct your conversation over a cacophony generated by something small, cross and wearing a nappy?

Honestly?  I can’t think of any.   I can think of many dining experiences I have had that have been ruined by loud and obnoxious bores on the next table barking on about their latest multi million pound deal loud enough for us all to hear.  Under some kind of misguided impression that the rest of us give a damn.    Or where pissed groups of adults have just been loud and embarrassing, increasingly so as the night goes on.

Children?  Not so much Janet.

I’ve got a theory that mums have different hearing to the rest of us

Yep, you got that right Kiddo.  We can hear a snuffle from 40 ft away at 2am when we were in a deep sleep.   We can also hear the sound of silence when breathing changes in our newborns and then instantly be on full alert for fear they have stopped breathing.   We can hear whispers of plotting between siblings in a bedroom upstairs.    We can hear the toaster being turned on at 5am when our gorgeous offspring have decided to surprise us with breakfast in bed on Mother’s Day. 

If you think that this means we can’t hear our children in a restaurant, you are sadly deluded.   We can hear our children in restaurants.  It is called “having fun”.   Is that a concept with which you are familiar Janet?

Children being children.   Being outside, having fun, with their peers.  Experiencing life in the big wide world.

And whilst I am on this topic.

Most mums are impervious to smells, too

Please.  Do you seriously think that any mother in a restaurant would allow her child to sit in a dirty nappy?  Of course she wouldn’t.

Many mums seem to think they have a divine right to monopolise any cafe they can jam their buggies inside.

No they don’t.    Restaurants these days typically dont have anywhere to leave buggies.  What are parents supposed to do, leave them on the pavement?  And what sort of restaurants are you in where this happening?   I can’t remember ever being in what you might call “a posh restaurant” and seeing a stack of buggies.

Why do you assume mums feel they have a divine right to anything?  From my experience most mothers actually feel teh exact opposite.   That society feels that because they hvae had children they no longer have the same rights they once did.   That they are now “just a mother” and viewed with pity by people such as you, who may well at point have been a peer.

Sometimes, a few minutes for a quiet coffee and a sandwich are the only time we have to ourselves all day

Consider this Janet.   You are a mum with a baby, and maybe an older child.  Your day revolves around them and their needs.   Your partner is out of the house for maybe 12 hours a day.   Your baby doesn’t sleep at night so you are exhausted.  Whilst still trying to hold it all together.  Running a house, being a dutiful partner, fulfilling the needs of your toddler, maybe breast feeding your baby.   You see nobody for an adult conversation day in day out.   You only know it is Friday because Eamonn and Ruth are on This Morning and not Phil and Holly.    Your one light at the end of the tunnel is your weekly catch up with the girls you met at your NCT class.

Your hour with a cup of tea you get to drink whilst it is still hot, and the panini you get to eat, rather than your usual lunch of four left over chicken nuggets and half a packet of Hob Nobs.

What you don’t want whilst sitting in Costa is somebody like you who thinks that they are somehow better than the rest of us.  More entitled to peace and quiet.   More entitled than anyone else.

Articles such as yours today are pathetic and say far more about you as a person.  A person who judges other women without taking a moment to actually think about what might really be going on.

Photo of Janet Street Porter courtesy of Shutterstock

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  • Amen Mummy Barrow. Amen!!! So much research shows that new mums benefit from being out of the house with their baby – whether it’s meeting up in a group, or sitting solo in Costa: it really doesn’t matter – moving and being out of the house is A Good Thing.

    • It so is. I was lucky when my two younger ones were born that I lived in Saudi, in a gated community of expats with lots of friends around me. All our partners worked for the same company so we were all in the same boat, it was like a big hippy commune where we all helped and looked out for each other. BUt I am acutely aware having had number 3 here that this is not the norm. And for many it is isolating and lonely. A cup of coffee with friends can literally be the only thing that keeps you sane all week.

      Judgemental twunts like JSP would be best placed staying at home. Or better still going off to live on a desert island somewhere.

  • In France they let kids run riot in restaurants apparantly.I didn’t socialise much with my first but I had no idea what I was missing until my second.By the time I had my third I had built up a good social circle of mums who would meet up with new mums coming to the breastfeeding group I attended, the meeting would always end with us having lunch together as it was a necessity to be out together.I really couldn’t have survived without having that every week when they were little.As they grew up eating out as a family was a break from the monotony of cooking every day and having time to enjoy a meal and not wash up afterwards.

    • Exactly Aly. And as a result your three are well adjusted, sociable and gorgeous children. We have to expose our children to these environments in order for them to grow up and know how to behave.

  • I would actually like to ban people who eat noisily, are rude, impatient and insensitive. Reminds me of a journey back from Kuala Lumpur when Mook was just 2, the woman in front said I do hope your children will behave – they did but we had an upgrade to first class so we didn’t.

  • What a ridiculous woman she is!!! We eat out with our daughter regularly – she knows how to behave, she is polite, but she is a child, she laughs at silly things, talks a little too loudly. So what? If that is all it takes to ‘ruin’ a meal out, then poor you!!!

    We’ve also eaten out as a couple, and even living close to a small city, which is certainly behind when it comes to restaurants, we can always find somewhere child free if we so wish! These are the sort of places I don’t take my daughter.

    And like you, I have had meals ruined by drunken idiots on the next table who are much more intrusive than any child!!!

    • And I have met your daughter! She is polite, well behaved and gorgeous. I would far rather be next to you three in a restaurant than JSP and her cronies

  • I must confess that there are many things about JSP that I admire but the utterance that you draw our attention to has set her cause back two or three notches. We’ve all been in circumstances where kids can be a nuisance but it’s usually because they need feeding or cleaning or maybe they are teething. With families being spread across the landscape these days the on-call baby-sitter grandparents aren’t always available so kids have to go out with their parents. If left to their own devices at home while Ma and Pa have a meal out I can imagine that JSP would be the chorus master for a quite justifiable and concerted outcry if the news got out.
    Moderation and tolerance should be our watchwords.
    The UK is going to be more overcrowded in the future so we should all get used to the sort of problems this WILL bring.
    [ Think this is one time when I haven’t found myself challenging MB’s message! ]

    • JSP is a voice, someone paid to express an opinion for a fee. She’s just like a politician or a lawyer.
      Ergo, she has just as little credibility-her stance is so obviously……bonkers… slightly disappointing. I always thought she was a bit mad, but. Pffft

    • I like those watchwords. Good ones to live by. And possibly acceptance. If there was more acceptance in the world there might be less fighting. Actually there might be a blog post in that

  • I recently went out for a planned, attempt at celebrating an anniversary of an event (when we met) meal with my husband. We booked a babysitter, dressed nicely, went to a place we love, to enjoy a meal and it was not a nice experience. Why? Because the people at the next table, all grown adults, spent their meal discussing their sex lives and the state of their reproductive organs, very loudly and in far more detail that this non prudish nurse who has heard it all before but didn’t need to hear it from less than three feet away over dinner on a very rare night out alone with her husband. We ate and left pretty fast. We laugh about it now but at the time it annoyed me more than I’ve ever been annoyed by a mum in a cafe with her toddler or baby. I’ve been that mum too, needing to just be out, to meet a friend, catch up and have a coffee, with our wee ones in tow. Does JSP have kids by the way, I can’t remember?

    • Funnily enough Karen she doesn’t. And you have nailed it exactly. I would far rather listen to a child enjoying life than a bunch of arrogant idiots thinking we are in the slightest bit interested in their sex lives.

    This woman should sod herself off to some remote island where she can be miserable without pissing people off! Slap an oestrogen patch on her ffs!

  • She’s just another of the Loose Women crew though isn’t she? Stupid, self-centred, opinionated women who think that because millions watch their nonsense in the background whilst cooking, cleaning, working and breastfeeding, their opinions are gospel. They’ve become so full of their own self-importance that they think no-one else matters. Let’s just be thankful we’re the ones with happy, well-adjusted familes, who know how to behave socially, and have a good time. Po-faced mare.