going out to eat, before & after kids

I've written about eating in a restaurant with kids. But this is different. This is about when it is just us two. 

This is what going out to eat was like, before kids:

We didn't do this very often, but every once in a while we'd go crazy and splurge. 

And this is what going out to eat is like now, after having kids:

If the kids fall asleep in the car, we'll buy fast food, eat it and dispose of the evidence before they wake up.

We don't do this very often, but sometimes we go crazy and splurge.




Anyone else never eat fast food before they had kids but now find themselves doing it because of sleeping kids in the car?

Still waiting for an organic, healthy drive-thru place to open near me. Organic salads and smoothies with a drive-thru window? How hard can this be? I know these exist in exotic far away lands, like Florida and Oregon. But it would take me a few days to drive there and I'm pretty sure the kids would be awake by the time we arrived.

So I'll wait. And keep eating fries without guilt. 

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197 Responses to going out to eat, before & after kids

  1. Brittney says:

    I too am waiting for an organic healthy drive through. What is taking everyone so long? ITS NOT THAT HARD! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Melissa says:

      We have Burgerville in my area, that’s pretty close to organic and healthy….and they have a drive through to boot ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Morgan says:

        I love Burgerville! Sustainable, lots of organic, seasonal options, yummy! Not much healthy though. Veggie Grill should have a drive thru

  2. sarah says:

    I eat tv dinners a lot now and didn’t before I had my baby. I actually ate very healthy before I got pregnant, now I’m a mess. And tv dinners are quick.

  3. Rebecca says:

    I find that eating out now consists of stuffing my meal down my throat as quickly as possibly whilst bribing my nine month old to keep the noise down with various foods which are bad for him. Usually chips (which you American folk call ‘fries’ I believe). All this whilst my husband sits next to me enjoying his meal at a leisurely pace and sipping a cold beer.

  4. Marissa says:

    In-n-out is a less guilty pleasure, as far as fast-food places go. It’s a good company and they use better ingredients than the other ones. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Farrah says:

    Sadly I will hit a drive thru because it’s the only time I can eat sitting down. My new mantra is ‘my minivan is my sanctuary’. Also they’re still young enough that they don’t realize kid food exists in drive thrus as well.

  6. Lizzie says:

    It’s true, do eat fast food now (and A LOT when I was pregnant….) also I dont have any excuses because my son is 6 month old and doesnt know what he is “missing” yet ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜‰ Organic and healthy fast food in Florida ? long drive from Scotland but I’m game !!!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Rae says:

    I’ve asked the same question myself–not just for ME, but for the kids. It’d be so cool to do a drive through and get something kid friendly and yummy and healthy and something mama-ish and yummy and healthy. There clearly is a huge demand!

  8. Sarah says:

    Here is the thing…before kids, we ate at nice places, took our time and enjoyed ourselves.

    Now- if we are ever lucky enough to have a sitter (rare) and we go to a nice restaurant, we scarf down our food (due to the habit of eating quickly to avoid kid meltdowns) and we have nothing interesting to talk about. We are also so tired that we yawn through the entire meal. VERY romantic…ha!

    And yes, we eat fast food once the kids are sleeping, but it is a treat because we never let the kids eat junk, so we love it once in awhile!

  9. Peta says:

    Ah, yes, in a way I’m glad because my husband would previously never have gone for fast food and I always have a secret hankering!

  10. Peta says:

    Amazingly I have wangled it so Dad is in charge of feeding dinner, since I have day time meals. Every day I get a little bit of ‘payback’ ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Heather says:

    You know the new McDonald salads are pretty tasty and now they have lattes!!

  12. jennywhite686@hotmail.com says:

    I also am guilty of this because it is the only time I get to eat food sitting down, whilst not trying to do 12 things at once, and even maybe still delightfully HOT. Miracle!!

  13. L.R.Knost says:

    I live in “exotic and far away Florida” so what’s my excuse? And now the baby’s eating chalk. Gotta go!

  14. Deborah says:

    When both of my babes would nap (usually around 1pm) and we were in the car coming back from some outing, if I was hungry I would most definitely go to Rudy’s, a local drive-in, where they attend you on roller skates as they serve up local buffalo burgers and free-range chicken fingers. Most definitely a treat for under $5–and even more so as it would be enjoyed in the quiet of the car w/two sleeping babes!

  15. Stacy says:

    I feel like I haven’t had a warm meal since my son was born 2 1/2 years ago. He can get the exact same food, but he still wants what’s on my plate. I eat while he’s down for his afternoon nap, but since that’s also when I clean… it’s a sandwich over the sink most days.

  16. Thea says:

    Worse than yawning through our “date night” dinner is we spend half the time talking about the kids!

  17. Georgianna says:

    I love the comment about Dad leisurely eating and drinking a beer. So true. When my second was young and needed to eat on the run, we found for like $5 at Starbucks they had what they called a protein plate. A wheat mini bagel, a couple of pieces of cheese, a little ketchup packet thingy with peanut butter, grapes, and a hard boiled egg with a packet of salt and pepper. It was perfect kid friendly finger food and Starbucks has drive thru’s in many places now. I wish I had the energy to pack something so perfect and carry it around in a lunch bag for those times…but she more worldly now, and these simple foods don’t hold the same draw they did in her youth.

  18. DawnMichele says:

    More places should have drive thru windows! I have twins right now and I’m pregnant, again, so it’s a HUGE convenience, especially when I don’t want to cook or need to eat, ASAP.

  19. mom123@gmail.com says:

    it is so much easier to run through a drive thru than take the kiddos out of the car and lug them in, waking them up, etc. We are busy moms, we don’t have time to do much else!

  20. Rowan says:

    We get cappuccinos and muffins and open the noisy paper back like we’re handling an unexplored mine…

  21. Nicole says:

    I live in Oregon . . . I’m still waiting for the organic healthy food drive-up, though.

    My kiddo won’t sleep if the car is stopped. He falls asleep when the car is moving, but immediately wakes up if it has been stopped for more than 30 seconds (like at any stop light! grrrr) . . . so I don’t do this due to sleeping baby. I do drive through when I’m too tired to make anything at home and I don’t want to have to get the munchkin out of his carseat to walk IN for restaurant take-out.

  22. Rowan says:

    Paper BAG. Not paper back. Although often that too if I’m alone in the car with sleeping kids!

  23. Rowan says:

    Oh my GOD my predictive text is annoying. Let me try that again:

    We get cappuccinos and muffins and open the paper bags like we’re handling unexploded mines.

    There. I’m tired. I have two boys. I apologise. My comment isn’t even amusing or interesting after all that. Dear me.

  24. Sarah says:

    I could go for drive through pasties…Westcountry forever <3

  25. Jenny says:

    I live in Florida.. Where are these healthy drive thru places you speak of???

  26. t h says:

    its not cost effective…and it must be harder than you think, otherwise someone would be making money off of that idea…

  27. Fast food is pretty much the only way I was guaranteed a meal during the day when I was breastfeeding, and it’s pretty much the only way I’m guaranteed lunch on the weekend now, thanks to the . . . er . . . delicacy of Baguette’s naps.

  28. Angela Maria says:

    I literally NEVER ate fast food before kids. But when you have a tiny baby who just got his shots, and he also has a cough, and swine flu is going around (my son was born in 2008), and you are hungry…well you do what you have to do.

    And I wish with every bone in my body Jamba Juice had a drive through but I get why they don’t.

    And I never understood why Starbucks had a drive through, and NOW I get why they do.

    I once saw a Panera with a drive through and wanted to cry from pure joy lol.

  29. Wendy says:

    Where are these organic drive through restaurants? I’ve lived on both coasts and have never seen one.

    But damn it’d be a cash cow

    • alison says:

      they’re on the third and forgotten coast – check out Evos the next time you are in Tampa or St Pete

  30. Veronica says:

    Wish this would work for us but my daughter will wake up from a dead sleep once we drive up to the menue bored!

  31. Stephanie says:

    Seriously how hard would it be to make a banging hummus sandwich on whole grain bread with avocado, some spinach, and bean sprouts! just sayin..

  32. kim says:

    We just had an organic healthy drive thru open by us!! Haven’t tried it yet, but I’ve heard it’s pretty good. It even has a walk-up window & a playground! Too bad my kid is a teen now. We may still have to try it out.

  33. Rebekah says:

    We still go to restaurants but I pack with me a veritable duffel bag of tricks. I have coloring books, crayons, markers, a stamp pads, toy trains and toy cars, baby dolls, board books, and a supermarket isle of snacks and juice boxes. I have sippy cups, and plastic spoons and straws that bend, and stickers a change of clothes, and we always end up tipping 20%, all that and we still only ever get to have two courses and one refill of drinks. Between the age of two and five it’s hardly even worth it.

  34. Kelly says:

    I am waiting for a sit down restaurant that has a playland like the mall play area or McDonalds. I would love a restaurant to meet up with friends or go to eat with my husband that has a place for the kids to play, where we can see them, while we wait for our food to come.

  35. Natalie says:

    We are temporarily located in Mexico for my husband’s work, and I have to hand it to the Mexicans as they know how to cater to families in restaurants. They either have a playground area so our 1.5 yr old daughter can play while mum and dad can leisurely enjoy an early dinner, or they have a nursery/daycare where there are ladies who play with the children while mum and dad eat. Its absolutely brilliant and our daughter loves going. Now why doesn’t this exist in Canada!!!!

  36. Alex says:

    Your comment is funny (unexploded mines is a nice image) and it’s the first thing I thought about when I read the post: how do you open the paper bag they put the food in without waking up the kids. I couldn’t go to the drive-through in secret because DS (age 4) would definitely wake up when I opened the window to talk to the attendant or opened the bag to get to the food. ๐Ÿ™

  37. Megan Coates says:

    Hahahahaha! Usually this occurs when we haven’t been to the grocery store and there’s next to nothing to eat in the house. We can scrape together something for the kids to eat around the house and then, once they’re in bed, one of us sneaks off to a fast food joint. If my 18-month-old’s bedtime wasn’t 7:30 and we didn’t have to extract her contact lenses at bedtime, then we might be able to attempt the “drive-thru while kids sleep” maneuver. But alas!

  38. jamie says:

    Drive-throughs are actually ILLEGAL in my town. So I’ll drive to the NEXT town in order to get something to eat. And do banking. Sigh. Who voted for that stupid law?

  39. Larissa says:

    There was the most wonderful healthful drive-through in Salt Lake. They’d combined their business with a catering business and I thought they’d do well, but even though they’d won awards, they closed down after about two years. I was SO disappointed, because their sweet potato fries were GOOD!

  40. Tasha says:

    Whoa, whoa, WHOA! Back it up! You’re wearing a RED dress in the BC (before children) picture!

  41. Alex says:

    I got tired of restaurant dates for the same reasons: nothing to talk about (except the kid), eating too fast, too tired. Now we go on dates to the appliance store. We will most likely have to replace all of our appliances in the next 5 years because they are all so old and decrepit. So we go together and so some pre-shopping, talk about our home decorating dreams, our goals for our family, etc. I know most men don’t like window shopping. This is different because it’s “research” for a future purchase.

    Amber, maybe you should have a shopping for big purchases before and after kids post. I can’t imagine trying to make an important purchase decision with kids present.

  42. Alex says:

    and make-up! did you notice the mascara?

  43. leila says:

    haha there was one of those a few blocks from me in FL! now in VA, it’s chick fil a all the way, baby!!

  44. Jessica says:

    I can see it in my mind… Like Applebee’s, with the tables in a square around the edge, but take out the bar area in the middle and add a Gymboree style playground. With a glass wall around it. That way you could still keep an eye on your kiddos but they wouldn’t be running wild annoying the other diners. And when you come in, they give you & the kid matching coded armbands so there’s no shenanigans of someone taking home someone else’s kid. Oh it would be so wonderful…

  45. Amber Dusick says:

    Animal style. ๐Ÿ™‚

  46. Amber Dusick says:

    No idea, someone told me once. Maybe it is a myth.

  47. Wendy says:

    Do you live in Mill Valley CA?

  48. Amber Dusick says:

    Yeah, I’d happily spend ten times as much money for it. Kinda like shopping at Whole Foods.

  49. Erica says:

    Ha, I admired that too. And the shoes!

  50. Amber Dusick says:

    Please go there. Make it a smashing success so other follow suit!

  51. Amber Dusick says:

    I think you should open this place. In all your free time.

  52. Amber Dusick says:

    Plus you get to eat Mexican food. Jealous.

  53. Amber Dusick says:

    Illegal? Why? Because they are unhealthy or was there some other reason? Interesting!

  54. JR says:

    It’s a pollution thing from idling cars. San Luis Obispo,CA also has the law that makes drive thrus illegal. Damn hippies.

  55. Andrea says:

    The funny thing is looks like the husband is in the same clothes- of course no changes to the guys! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  56. Jenny says:

    and now in the phase of kid sports every single evening of the week, dinner on the go seems to be the only possibility a few times/week. Sigh. If only I were more organized and could throw stuff in the crock pot for our 4:30 pm dinner before the chaos begins….

  57. jorie says:

    Never done it…because my kids don’t sleep well in the car. The second they heard “welcome to mcdonalds…” the verbal one would be screaming MILKSHAKE and the other would just scream. That is if I ever had them both asleep in the car at the same time, which I don’t think has ever happened. Long car rides are a special circle of hell for our family…

  58. Izzy says:

    This happened just last week – No way am I going to wake my 15 mo. old once he’s asleep. It makes me almost nostalgic for the time when I could just take him out in his infant bucket seat and haul him around sleeping and all…
    And then I remember the bruises on my forearms from lugging around a 20lb baby plus car seat and think to myself that maybe going through the drive-thru isn’t all that bad after all.

  59. Stein says:

    I live in an area without a lot of drive throughs, but many offer curbside delivery (even my pharmacy – which is a sigh of relief after dragging three kids to the doctor’s). It might be worth it to call your favorite places and request curbside.

  60. Marnie says:


    Dinosaur shaped nuggets and sweet potato fries are a big staple here, also. ๐Ÿ™‚

  61. Rebecca says:

    Hey there, I live in Florida and we don’t have any cool organic drive thrus in Sarasota! They must be in Orlando and Miami….

  62. Amanda says:

    That is amazing, my husband feels that since I’m home all day I should cook dinner. However he always feeds the baby so I can eat in peace, since I feed the kids breakfast and lunch.

  63. rachel says:

    are you kidding??? organic salads? i’m still waiting for the drive thru POST OFFICE to open! and i hope mine comes first. i can make a salad at home. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  64. MaryO says:

    I find myself unreasonably angry when I see people in the drive thru line (mostly at Starbucks) with no carseats in view. Get out of the car, people! It’s SO EASY FOR YOU to go in. Us, not so much!

  65. Gay Lynn says:

    I constantly think to myself that it would be nice if Chevy’s had a drive thru……

  66. Dana Lee says:

    The organic drive through in Florida is located right next door to you’re fountain of youth that Ponce De Leon (sp?) was looking for. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    We totally sneak foods we don’t want our kids to have. Especially chocolate!

  67. Hell Yes, Animal Style! Then you wolf it down like an animal! I wish we had In-n-Out in Michigan. I’d eat it every day. Haha. ๐Ÿ™‚

  68. Dana Lee says:

    Stupid swype user (me). That was supposed to be “the f.o.y.” not “you’re”…

  69. Kara says:

    Don’t McDonald’s do healthy meals in the states? In Australia they have a healthy choice menu even for the kids. :0) Hungry Jacks (Burger King equivalent) has finally joined the game too. :0) that said, I love chips!

  70. Annie says:

    I’ve always thought there should be natural food Truck Stops, as a one time driver before kids. Imagine, alert healthy people behind the wheel of a 80,000# moving object!

  71. Jen Procter says:

    Someone take the lead and open one up!
    Burgerville (and others) make a killing here in Portland! Real RBST free milk shakes made with local hazelnuts…yum! Organic salads, local organic beef, Tillamook cheese…

  72. teagansmomma says:

    same here. it irritates me. i’ve fixed EVERY single dinner we’ve had at home since we brought DD home…she’s almost 11 months…him feeding the baby during dinner so I can get some peace? Yeah, right. I’m lucky if I get to my dinner before it’s cold, or have to share with DD…

  73. Zoek says:

    Animal style protein style (grilled onions, pickles, wrapped in lettuce instead of a bun). And a light lemonade ๐Ÿ™‚

  74. Lou Evans says:

    There is a pub here in Brisbane, Australia with a rad kids playground. Moving rides too! It’s a beloved haven by us brissy mums and dads!!! Drinks and a feed at a reasonable price whilst the kiddies are kept amused for hours ๐Ÿ™‚

  75. Elisabeth says:

    Not to brag, but Ann Arbor, Michigan has an awesome drive-thru with organic offerings, many locally grown. Even though we moved across town I will always drive the extra 20 minutes…oh, and they do coffee too! There has to be some reward for never getting to see the sun!

  76. kristine says:

    LOL! Unfortunately I’m the annoying parent that inappropriately brings my child to fancy restaurants filled with adults-only. Well I did, when she was a sweet little baby. I did give up going to Sushi with her when I realised I was paying just too much for a stressful meal, and then cleaning a 20-foot radius of the place thanks to M tossing rice around like it’s confetti at a wedding.

  77. Mellie says:

    Yeah, those salads are great, but it’s awfully hard to eat them in a car. ๐Ÿ™‚ At least that’s my excuse.

  78. Dana Lee says:

    We are always ourselves why THAT doesn’t exist where we live! A playground in the center of an actual restuarant= genius.

  79. Nikki says:

    LOL… ours wake up the minute they smell fries…..jerks… lol.

  80. Ha, whenever we tried this, if the kid was asleep, he would wake up as soon as we pulled up to the drive through. Now…we just don’t eat out just the 2 of us.

  81. jade says:

    I’m Australian an we have many restaurants like this. Big jungle gyms hidden behind thick glass- you know so you can still see your kids, but you don’t have to HEAR them! Some mums abuse this privilege (their kids enter the play area and cease to exist or need parental supervision), but I enjoyed catching up with a girlfriend and eating a steak while her kids played. Mine is still only 10 months so I see the magic that is the jungle gym behind thick glass, bit am denied access ๐Ÿ™ we don’t colour code the families though… We mostly just assume if your coming there withhold kids you probably don’t want to take home any extras….

  82. Heather says:

    Oh wow, this is my life

  83. Heather says:

    Kids sleeping in the car?? This happens? I think my daughter missed the memo. Its usually fast food when I just don’t feel like preparing another meal and trying to get her to eat. Probably once a month or so. Then its nothing remotely healthy-Sonic or Chick-fil-A

  84. Wendy says:

    I’m in Florida, and I’m still waiting on the organic, healthy, drive-thru too…maybe in exotic, far away places like Miami………

  85. I don’t have any kids of my own, but when we visit my in-laws, we’re inundated…we go to a local restaurant with all the kids. This is not an experience for the faint-of-heart, I find. Here’s my blog post about it, also illustrated. Maybe you’ll enjoy.

  86. kimmie says:

    Haha, same here! Except we bring out the cell phones and look at all the cute pictures we have of our kid.

  87. Janette says:

    Before kids I didn’t need ‘drugs’, like caffeine or chocolate. McD’s is my dealer, providing me with a variety of drugs like Dr. Pepper, or flavored coffee, or if that ‘special’ time of the month, a milkshake. Sure I eat the food too. But I HAVE to take something with my drugs. ;-D But I do feel appropriately guilty when I feed my son ‘chicken’ nuggets just so he can play in the playarea while I talk to another mom.

    I too vote for a drivethru with GOOD food. Come on, there must be enough people to warrant it?!

  88. Jen says:

    It’s really expensive to set up one of those healthy fast food businesses, and as a result, the prices are high. Now, would I pay for it? Abso-freaking-lutely. But I think the market share isn’t high enough in most places for it to work.

    I did see one in a mall in Tampa, Florida. I think it was about $4 for a basic meal with no sides or drink or anything. I think that’s great – I’d pay. But it’s hard to beat the 99 cent burger for the majority of fast food goers.

    And yes, count me in as a new fast food eater. I have a 9 month old and am pregnant, and if I’m driving home from something and she happens to be asleep, it’s Wendy’s or McDonald’s for me. DH didn’t know until recently, and he was SHOCKED given the fact I hate fast food (not a hippie/normative statement – I just don’t like the taste of greasy burgers, and would absolutely prefer humus on whole grain pita bread!) But I don’t think he understands how hard it is to get a meal in between errands, doctor’s appointments, etc. And I just have one kid so far, and a baby at that! (A baby that FREAKS OUT if I try to eat in front of her, and like a previous poster said, has to eat from MY plate, even if I give her a version of my food on the high chair. Nope, it’s not EXACTLY the same therefore it’s not what mommy is eating).

  89. allison says:

    Now I’m imagining a grassy plain with happy-looking chicken fingers running around. ๐Ÿ™‚

  90. Alicia says:

    Yes, and I have also found myself pulling off the interstate to pee in the bushes because there was NO WAY I was going to wake a sleeping one and three year old to trek into a gas station at midnight. I’m sorry, but it just wasn’t worth it.

  91. deneen says:

    darlin’, my youngest is 9 and i still havent have a hot meal (or one at a table for that matter…sigh…) …things don’t ever really go back to normal they just keep changing … (sorry was that your bubble i just burst? i KNOW! i am sorry! xoxod)

  92. Dee says:

    If my little one can see food, he must have it. Using our spoon, not his of course. and drink from our cups. In fact food hardly makes it to me. Fast food would only work if we were out of the car and he were in it.

    By the way the closest thing I’ve seen to organic fast food is Chipotle. Yum.

  93. Jodi Aman says:

    Lattes are my vice!

  94. Amber Dusick says:

    Darn Portland. You guys have everything.

  95. Amber Dusick says:

    You’re the billionth person who has mentioned Chick-Fil-A and until recently we didn’t have those here. Saw one in Hollywood last week, guess I’ll have to try it!

  96. Amber Dusick says:

    I love Chipotle, I wish they had a drive-thru!

  97. Amber Dusick says:

    That is awesome. I think I need to move to Australia.

  98. Amber Dusick says:

    Yeah, I thought about this when I was writing this post! I could order yummy delivery and just have them deliver it to the parking lot when the kids are asleep. Totally going to do this.

  99. Tara says:

    It is funny you say this because it was like that with me and my DH. Now they are all grown up and out of the house we have the money to buy but we don’t need the big one anymore. Surprisingly it takes no time at all because we go in tell them what we want and say write it up. No shopping around! I knew the kids were expensive but it is a real shocker now that we get it all to ourselves (LOL) just how much they were costing. We are enjoying while we can because I think grandchildren will be expensive too.

  100. Kris says:

    Every time we get in the car my older girl announces she’s hungry and needs a hamburger and french fries. You’d think that was all I ever fed them! The reality is that we get it once every couple months, maybe. If I have a lot of errands and forget snacks. When I was in Las Vegas there was an organic fast food place called Evos. It was soooo good, and very reasonably priced. And they had recycling bins! It was pretty awesome.

  101. Sharee says:

    Our Panera in town just got a drive thru and I’m SO happy! It’s so great to not have to unload the kids, and just keep them locked down in the seats ๐Ÿ˜‰ and still get ok food (Panera’s kids meals stuff is made with organic bread, cheese, milk, etc).

  102. DL says:

    I love the mascara. As for Chik-fil-A, it’s true, the fried chicken nuggets/strips are yummy (even though fried food is less than idea) AND real white chicken, not processed bits like at the other chains. But you can also order them grilled, by special request, if you’re worried about that.

  103. justine says:

    I’m in Australia – where are these restaurants??? And am also desperately jealous of Starbucks drive thru, & even McDonald’s won’t do their cafe coffees for the drive thru. Sigh! Long for the day I can get a drive thru chai latte

  104. Diane says:

    Deneen… Amen, sista!! Then they get to Jr high school and, suddenly, not only are the meals cold, they’re eat and run (We DO still make a point of sitting down together as a family. It’s important!) Oh, the bubbles we create for ourselves. But I’m learning to enjoy the changes each of these crazy stages brings…

  105. Carmel says:

    Drive thru milk and bread would be nice. In fact, a drive thru grocery store would be ideal. Why hasn’t anyone done that?

  106. Natalie says:

    Great post, so true!

  107. Amanda says:

    We just usually feed the kids at home and have something else for us ๐Ÿ™‚

  108. Rach says:

    So true….this is how my husband and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary a few years ago soon after our third child was born….

  109. Tessa says:

    Been there. Our newest thing is now that my oldest two can stay home alone for a couple of hours I/we say we have errands to do and will go to eat first then errands second. They think we just took a long time to do the errands. Well….at least until the toddler gets old enough to tell on us. :/

  110. Kate says:

    Our kids are now teens and nearly out of the nest, so we have re-claimed Date Night. However, it is still lower on the quality scale than it used to be… kids are just so expensive there is little left to spend on splurge dinners.

    We have recently rediscovered the joys of double dating! We go out with another couple (with similarly aged kids) and suddenly the conversation is lively and fun! A dinner that would have taken 30 minutes between DH and I (having run out of conversation after 10 minutes) now lasts and lasts as we linger over our take-home leftovers.

    There is light at the end of the tunnel!

  111. Kristen says:

    I used to give up all together. It’s become better, but it is happiness in box for them. BTW you’re the only person I know that can draw a sexy stick mama with class. ๐Ÿ™‚

  112. LeahM says:

    It never occurred to me that I could go to a drive thru when the kids fall asleep in the car. I’m pretty thrilled with this new plan.

  113. Mayor Gia says:

    Hahhaah, that is great. I don’t have kids, but I’d totally do that if I did. Or maybe just cuz.

  114. madeline says:

    I’m Sarasota, too, and was wondering where they were…. Chick-fil-A is great, though!

  115. StayAtHomeMomsRock says:

    APPLEBEES offers curbside delivery. I did this once with a sleeping child in the car….(;

  116. StayAtHomeMomsRock says:

    Yes, and I have also found myself pulling off the interstate to pee in the bushes because there was NO WAY I was going to wake a sleeping one and three year old to trek into a gas station at midnight. I’m sorry, but it just wasn’t worth it.
    my reply…
    Ummmm…I thought thats what the little potties were for that I keep in the car….lol! NOT just for the kids! WORK great for a preggy mommy when children are sleeping on a long drive..lol…(;

  117. Susie says:

    I’ve seen this at a Joe’s Crab Shack in Salt Lake City I think. Huge success.

  118. Belinda says:

    I live in New Zealand and we have loads of awesome cafes that cater for families with a box of toys for the kids to play with or a specific area for kids plus kid friendly stuff on the menu. During the week in particular I think many cafes rely on the mum crowd to keep them going with their desperation to be out of the house with some other adults. The main problem is that I spend FAR too much on eating at cafes and my husband thinks my life is one long round of drinking coffee with my friends (it is but don’t tell…)

  119. Rebecca says:

    OMG I thought I was the only one who did this. My husband and I had a date last week in the car with fast food and two kids asleep in the back. When one would start to stir we would start driving and find a new place to park. I feel so much less guilty now.

  120. Windy says:

    Good grief! Damn hippies is right! Didn’t they outlaw toys in happy meals there too?

  121. Windy says:

    A true organic drive-thru would cost a FORTUNE! We would ALL be crazy to splurge!

  122. Anthea says:

    I totally had to stifle my laughter as to not wake up baby when I imagined you and your husband carefully opening the bags.

  123. Rebekah says:

    They have these all over Buenos Aires, and they even come with a staff member to babysit. In costa rica they had a place called Go bananas situated in the middle of a fancy shmancy food court with sushi and steak and real italian food…4 bucks an hour and you don’t even have to watch them, you leave them to play, eat, paint…come back when dinner is over. But the best so far for me is Divercity here in Colombia…4.5 hours for 15 bucks and they even feed them while you shop, eat, or just sit on a bench and read. Latin America is so kind to parents.

  124. Bek says:

    Hi Rebecca, any chance you are in Australia because your story sounds a little too familiar! Obviously I am in Australia. Too funny.

  125. QldDeb says:

    I’m from Australia and I’ve lived up & down the east coast from Canberra to Cairns. The pubs and clubs here are very kid friendly and most have playgrounds to the same standard as MacDonalds, my daughter’s 18 yrs old (life does get better!) and I would not have had a social life if it wasn’t for the local pubs and clubs.

    They have to be out at a certain time at some of them, licencing laws etc, but still, a lunch out is just lovely! And the pubs have separate bars so the hardened drinkers don’t play in the same area as the families. Kids not allowed in the public bar, which also works well, ’cause who wants to hang around kids when we manage to offload them? I get a bit smug now, I get to choose where I want to sit. After 18 years of single mumhood, it’s allowed.

  126. Larry's Girl says:

    We don’t have kids yet but we do this with our animals … eeeeeek … *blush*

  127. Larry's Girl says:

    Aaaaah! I miss Tillamook cheese!!!!

  128. Hehe yes! especially when the boy was a newborn and didnt sleep and therefore i didnt get much time to eat! I probably shouldnt have been operating a vehicle at the time!

  129. Bec says:

    Our town is so small it doesn’t even have a drive through! In fact you can drive across it in such a short time they don’t even fall asleep (really). But we do have not one but two restaurants (well pub bistro’s actually) with children’s playground/computer terminals and tv channels playing behind the lovely sound proof glass! I love Australia!

    But I should say that NOTHING here is ‘organic’ it is steak sandwiches or roast dinners all the way…

  130. Jennifer says:

    I haven’t gotten into the fast food yet but it’s been a year since I’ve had an ACTUAL dinner. I’m not counting Thanksgiving and Christmas because, well, they don’t count…and we ate them at 2 PM.

  131. Michelle M says:

    So happy its not just mine that does this. My four year old will argue with me until he’s blue in the face about not being hungry (even though all the signs are there that he IS hungry) – but as soon as my fork gets within an inch of my lips, I hear “can I have a bite?”

  132. Croatian.Mama.of.two says:

    We did the sneaking off to eat just last night after the kids fell asleep. I know too well what it’s like to home appliance/reno shop with kids in tow. I loath grocery shopping with my two demons (girls aged 5 and 7). I will commonly take a single girlfriend just to help me out on the weekends my husband works. On the weekends he’s off they commonly fall asleep in the car which leaves me waiting in the car while he grocery shops. I guess not a bad deal. I have some moments of peace and quiet to myself. I tend to sit on my blackberry and text or go on facebook.

  133. Library Girl says:

    OMG, this is us, too! We head to Wendy’s drive-thru for “Dave’s Hot N Juicy” burger. How sad is that. And the little is ALWAYS asleep when we go…Love your blog, Amber. We are kindred spirits.

  134. Katie says:

    I ate a In-n-Out Burger when I was in Cali…I live in Michigan…so wish we had one here!

  135. L Williamson says:

    There is LIFE AFTER KIDS–and it’s wonderful! But it’s so much fun to visit this website and re-live those “precious” memories. So, after I read this post, I stumbled on this review of a farm stand/small restaurant in Port Isaac, Cornwall Eng. that has a playground where kids can play while adults eat. (http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g186242-d2066739-Reviews-Trevathan_Farm_Shop_and_Restaurant-Port_Isaac_Cornwall_England.html) It’s the place where the Doc Martin series is filmed and has become almost too touristy. Guess none of us is going there anytime, soon. But what is there about the British and Australians who seem to have the most eating establishments where kids can play while the family eats?!?

  136. alpineflower says:

    When I had my first kid I was rudely awakened to the fact that there are not enough stores that provide drive-through services. My husband and I even thought up an app that would let you make a shopping list for Target where they’d get it all for you and let you know when it was ready, then you could drive up, pay, and load it in your minivan. We’ve got a few drive-up Paneras and Starbucks, but if we could convince Chipotle, Whole Foods and a couple delis to offer drive-up service, life wouldn’t be so…cholesterolly.

  137. Lynn says:

    Panera Bread now has drive thru– they have pretty healthy salads and organic milk, etc… I LOVE our drive thru Panera here in KY. Look at their website and see where there might be a drive thru close by you.

  138. Heather says:

    The post office is the place I most wish had a drive through!

  139. Heather says:

    Sorry not food. But when you are pregnant, with kids in tow and trying to get a box in too, drive through or curbside service would be soooo nice.

  140. Michelle says:

    Love this… so true. A local twins group in my area compiled a list of all businesses with drive throughs — from burritos to prescriptions to a drive-through dairy. I thought it was genious.

  141. Meggin D says:

    What I want is drive through Japanese! Rolls are super quick to make, and it would be a no brainer! ๐Ÿ™‚

  142. Alison says:

    I live in Paris where we don’t have cars for our kids to fall asleep in nor decent take out food. Double whammy.

  143. Hannah says:

    Florida is the opposite of any place that would have healthy and organic drive thrus. I moved here from Colorado (that’s where the good stuff is – Good Times with local beef and produce, delicious frozen custard…drool) and was sorely disappointed. Plenty of pizza, few tasty greens. I can’t do drive thru when my kids fall asleep – the scent of fried deliciousness wakes them and I inevitably have to circle back around for a happy meal. Or just eat it fast before they know what’s happening. “Mom what do you have?” “Huh? Nothing, gulp, just, um, getting directions…” By the way, love your other blog, too. The quilt was awesome.

    • alison says:

      Florida is a really diverse state. Check out St Pete, everything from organic, air-friend fast food at Evos to raw vegan cafes.

  144. Jennifer says:

    I once tried to make box mac and cheese for 4 hours. I did not get to eat until my daughter screamed herself into a coma nap. And to think I used to be one of those ‘don’t let them cry moms’!

  145. heather says:

    We made the mistake of trying Pei Wei today. Major disaster. McDonalds was looking pretty good after the second grouping of Edemame beans got barfed onto the table.

  146. Kim says:

    Hmmm… My six month old feeds herself every meal! So even if hubby is at work (or busy with a cold beer) I still get to eat my dinner while its hot!

  147. I love how you have perky boobs and pretty hair but Crappy Papa still has on the black t-shirt. Ain’t that the truth!!!

  148. Joanna says:

    I wonder if your favorite fast food chain does a Valentine’s Day special…

    Unfortunately we can’t do the eat while they sleep because big girl wakes up as soon as the car stops and baby boy screams the entire time he’s in his car seat.

  149. Erin says:

    i’d do this IF my kids would sleep in the car, ha ha…

    once they are about 18 months old and up, i will leave them home with daddy and run errands for a few hours, and that’s when i’ll sneak the fast food! and it is much worse when i’m pregnant!

  150. Jeni says:

    I used to work for the national restaurant association in Canada and municipalities have been trying to implement bans on drive-thrus here and there … I remember a co-worker of mine (a parent) talking about the value of drive-thrus for parents, seniors, those with mobility challenges, etc. and I figured parents were just lumped in there for good measure … AND THEN I HAD KIDS. That’s no fakey line from a lobbyist, that’s the God’s honest truth. I don’t spend much time in a car but when I do … drive-thru to the rescue, every. single. time.

  151. Shelly says:

    IKEA, so family friendly. Love to go there with the littles.

  152. Jules says:

    HAHAHAHA. Too funny…we haven’t gotten to this point yet but I’ve started to hide food from my almost 2 yr old.

  153. grumpypants says:

    Justine, I’m in Victoria, so don’t know what it’s like in the other States, but most clubs and big pubs have a family bistro with accompanying playground. There’s usually at least one in a nearby suburb, especially if you live outside the city. there’s also a chain of ‘restaurants’ here called Zagame’s. Just look in Yellow Pages or do a google of family restaurants… To be honest, I’ve only been in once, and I’m not keen on them (the one I went to wasn’t ideal for smaller children – ie under 5), but you take what you can.

    And, years and years ago, back in the homeland (NZ) we had a healthy drive-thru. Sadly, it bombed. The food was just tooo healthy – wholegrain buns with ostrich burgers etc. And it wasn’t as ‘fast’ as other fast food outlets, which can presumably afford to premake a fair amount of food.

  154. Liz says:


    We have a fabulous place called “Eat out the Box” here in Cape Town. They deliver. Yummo

  155. Anna says:

    It evens out some when you have your second child. My 3 year old sits next to my husband and drives him nuts by making lots of noise, refusing to eat and stealing food from his plate. My infant daughter sits next to me and honestly I find it easier to manage feeding her than dealing with my 3 year old. ๐Ÿ™‚

  156. Rebecca says:


  157. Rebecca says:

    Nope, I’m in London.

  158. Mamabloguer says:

    The taco truck has been my ‘splurge’ since my son was born. Thankfully they really are the best tacos around. However, now that my son is 3.5 and doesn’t fall asleep in the car anymore, he joins me for a little urban picnic in the hatchback of the Prius. Still way easier than going in to a restaurant or cooking at home some days.

  159. Jennifer J says:

    Stephanie, that is funny. The only ingredient I am allowed from your list is the spinach, and it has to be blanched. But that sandwich sure sounds good.

  160. Darcie says:

    I got addicted to Dairy Queen MooLattes when pregnant with #2. There are two DQs in my town: one is right by my house, but the one with the drive-thru is *way* on the other side of town. If there is a sleeping baby in the car, I can somehow justify to myself that there is a need to drive over in that direction…

  161. Amy says:

    I don’t like eating out with my husband anymore since he likes to use the opportunity to discuss budgeting, and our lack thereof. See? Here we are, wasting money on food! A friend suggested we go to a movie instead. Smart!

  162. Amy says:

    My husband always wants to use our rare nights out to discuss budgeting. A friend of mine suggested going to a movie instead. Smart!

  163. Amy says:

    Sorry about the stutter, I didn’t think the first message took.

  164. craftyashley says:

    Recently a Tropical Smoothie Cafe opened a new location with a drive thru. And I went bonkers. Hello, smoothies. Wraps. Salads. Healthy. It ranks up there with one of the best days of my life- finding this drive thru.

  165. May says:

    There is a healthy fast food chain in Florida called Evos. There is no drive through. We love Evos and yes, we’ve stopped by Evos for a take-out as the kids slept in the car! Heehee

  166. Kathy says:

    We have those in her in Oregon? Where?

  167. Danica says:

    My husband and I often whine about this very thing…that no fast food place caters to parents with sleeping children in the car because we knew this had to happen to more than just us. glad that you confirmed it, crappy momma! there’s gotta be some money to be made in it!!!

    and I love Evos! when I lived in FL, it was *the* place to go. I’m sad to say, there’s nothing like it here in AZ.

  168. amy says:

    In exotic FL and there are no healthy organic drive throughs. ๐Ÿ™

  169. Amanda says:

    I’m from Eugene Oregon and I’ve eaten at an organic drive through place a total of 2 times. They EXPENSIVE. You think buying organic groceries from the store is spendy? Try prepared, convenient, organic food. Your wallet will cry. I’ve only ever seen one such business, though. Do bigger cities like Portland and Salem have more organic drive through choices?

  170. ajira says:

    Oh my god, yes. The drive-thru. Seriously! A drive-thru healthy restaurant would have me as a regular for sure. Smoothies, salads, grilled veggies and organic, grass-fed, rainbow sprinkled lean meats plus fruit salads and goat milk yogurts? Count me in. Please. I still can’t believe they don’t have such a place in the entire Bay Area. That I’ve heard of at least. I also thought drive-thru grocery stores would be awesome. Or pick up ones. So you could make an order online (like Chipotle’s) and have them bring it out to the curb (like Applebee’s).

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